As many of you know, in addition this little blog, I have a corporate career--in human resources, to be specific. I have shared a few work-related tips and tricks on the blog over the years like these 5 corporate health hacks and my work week essentials for going from day to night and am broaching a new topic today: changing companies (or careers, departments, etc.). In addition to requests from you all for more career content, I frequently get asked HR and career-related questions from friends...and friends of friends. 🙂
So today, I'm pulling from my latest role change at work experience as a Career Advisor during grad school to put together what I hope will be helpful information. This post outlines three tips to help you successfully transition jobs + a printable worksheet to help you make an apples-to-apples comparison of the tangible aspects (like compensation and benefits) of each role. Let's get into it, sis!
Three Tips to Successfully Transition Jobs
Do Your Research
Ask lots of questions of your interviewers, recruiters, and anyone you encounter at the prospective company or department. Additionally, be sure to answer questions honestly, even if the answer is "I don't feel comfortable sharing that information." Don't lie or fudge numbers when it comes to your current salary or benefits because that information can (and usually will) be verified. You don't want to start off at a new employer with a bad impression or, worse, have a job offer rescinded for dishonesty. Just make the case for your desired compensation. If an employer is willing to pay it then it doesn't matter what you were making elsewhere.
Doing your research includes assessing not only what you'll gain with a prospective company/role/department but also what you'll be leaving behind at your current one. Populate the worksheet below with information about your current compensation and benefits so that, when you receive a detailed offer from a prospective company, you can make an apples-to-apples comparison. Include whatever intangible items might be of consequence to you, like dress code or workday start time, in the blank spaces. For example, schedule and commute are important items for me to consider because they impact my morning routine and other obligations. It's usually easy to get the information you need when bidding on an internal job at your current company so this tip is more for those applying externally.
*Defined benefit = a retirement plan such as a pension or cash balance that pays a defined amount upon retirement and defined contribution = a retirement plan such as a 401K or 403b with an defined about contributed by the employee and potentially matched by the employer.
Tie Up Any Loose Ends
Though it's best to always wrap up and hand off your current workload in a way that minimizes disruption for those left behind, this is especially important when you're staying with the same company. In order to truly have a fresh start and be able to fully focus on learning your new job, try to tie up any loose ends from your old one. This tip doesn't only apply to transitioning your workload but also your financial and contact information. Most companies provide all the information you need in order to take care of things like rolling over your 401k and updating your address to receive your final paycheck and future W-2. Don't rely on that, though. Take stock of all the accounts you may have (FSA, pension, etc.) and ensure you have the information you need regarding them.
Even when transitioning to a new role within your existing company or team, it is probably not the best idea to immediately change your LinkedIn headline. There are behind-the-scenes processes associated with any job change, whether it be an intra-department promotion or onboarding a brand new employee. Anything from a slow employment verification to an HR point person taking vacation can slow down these processes. I good rule of thumb is to follow the lead of your boss and let them make an organizational announcement or otherwise welcome you to the company before sounding the alarm. Anything could happen and you don't want to give your boss a card like this only to have your new gig fall through.
(Bonus) Give Yourself a Break
I understand that it isn't possible for everyone to take a breather in between ending one job and starting another one. Rent is still due on the 1st! If you've got it like that, though, consider taking a few days or more to refresh and get right for your next venture. The process of finding a new job, even while employed, can be taxing. I hope this information is helpful to you and feel free to share this post with anyone that may need it. If y'all are interested seeing more content like this, let me know. Thanks for reading!
P.S. More corporate how-tos:
Such great tips! Transitioning between jobs can sometimes be so overwhelming, this is great advice!
Leigh Suznovich says
Oh this is so helpful, I love that worksheet to compare the jobs. Fantastic tips!!
Heather Gilbert says
These tips are great and I need to keep them in mind this summer!
Very clear (as always) . I really appreciate the comparison PFD. That is so helpful.
Thanks, Leslie! I'm glad you find it helpful.
Beth Newcomb says
This is solid advise! I especially like exercising discretion. You just never know what will happen and you want a job one way or another. Haha
Gifts SG says
Yes, the process of finding a new job will you are employed is really taxing. For me, I would plan to quit my job first before finding another job.