This blog post is adapted from our Guide to Navigating a Career Transition. If you’re a senior woman leader who’s re-entering the workforce, making a big career transition, or considering your strategy for change, download the full guide here.
Undertaking a career transition invites you to get in alignment with your values and your goals. What do you want your next steps to look like? What does that look like and feel like in your life? What are your deal breakers in this next phase? Knowing what you want your career and life to look like is a good litmus test for any move — it validates whether you’re on the right path.
Clarity is critical in times of transition: what are you willing to give up and what are you looking to gain? Where do you want to go? Not just your next step — but what is your vision for the next 2–5+ years? Taking a pause, reflecting, and moving with intention can help ensure you make the right choices.
A recent article in HBR notes that: “Perhaps the best protection against career-management mistakes is self-awareness. It’s a broad concept, encompassing not only an understanding of your career-relevant strengths and weaknesses but also insight into the kinds of mistakes you are prone to make. It involves knowing how to correct for those tendencies, how others perceive you, when to consult a trusted mentor or network, what elements of a job make it truly satisfying for you, and what constitutes a healthy work-life balance.”
For women leaders undergoing professional metamorphosis, here are four tips to help you navigate your career transition with ease.
- Take an intentional pause to reflect on your path forward. As a busy executive, your plate is likely already quite full — making it difficult to see a clear path forward. Taking an intentional pause is one way to create space and time in your life to contemplate what you truly want next and where you’ll be a good fit. (Members can catch the full Salon on the topic here.)
- Work with an executive coach to help you distill your values and your goals. Athena’s executive coaches are experts in career mapping, transition strategy, voice and presence, personal branding, and more. Every Athena membership includes 2 hours with a coach to start, with the option to add on more as you go (or sign up for an Accelerator to reach your goal faster with 8 hours of coaching from the start.)
- Reflect on your achievements and what you want to add next to that list. What is your unique value as a leader? How has your varied career prepared you for this next step? What goals do you have on the horizon for the next 3, 5, or 10 years? What skills do you need to develop and what industries do you need exposure to in order to succeed?
- Work with your connections/network to gather information on various companies, roles, and industries. You’ll need to activate your network in new ways to avoid getting the same results you’ve always gotten. (As we often say at Athena, what got you here won’t get you there!) Create a strategy to intentionally put yourself out there for your next opportunity and expand and activate your network when the time is right.
Not a member? Learn how Athena helps women leaders reach their biggest career goals.