Career Change: How to Discuss It with Your Employer

Editorial Team

Career Change: How to Discuss It with Your Employer

Are you unhappy in your current role? Maybe it isn’t what you expected, perhaps you’re feeling burnout, or possibly, you’re overdue for a career change. Either way, you’ll have to confront your boss about switching roles in your company or exploring a different opportunity elsewhere.

How to Explore New Career Options

Ideally, you’ll have a backup plan because you may be on the verge of quitting your job. Make sure to review job boards, understand what skills are in demand and what salary you’ll earn based on your experience and education. Explore what you’ll need to move into a new industry.

People can take advantage of employee reviews to change careers or jobs. For example, JobSage employee reviews allow you to see how potential employers in your new industry stack up based on feedback, growth, flexibility, inclusion, compensation, and purpose.

Besides looking at the current job market, you can also consider taking a class, networking in your industry, and changing your online presence so that new recruiters can find you.

If you still want to work at your company, you may wish to speak to your employer about transferring to another department or spending some time shadowing another professional.

How to Speak to Your Boss About a Career Change

Depending on your employer or circumstances, you may not have to quit your company to find the career of your dreams. Use the following examples to help you speak to your employer.

Scenario 1: You Dislike Your Employer, Your Job, and Your Career

Let’s look at the worst-case scenario first. Although disliking everything about your place of employment could be a sign of depression or the “domino effect” (you hate your boss, so you hate your job), that isn’t always the case. You could just be a poor fit for your current career.

Whether you love or hate your current job, you have to leave on a positive note, or it could affect the rest of your career. Here’s how to speak to your employer about an external career change:

  • Break the news in person. Resigning by email is disrespectful.
  • Tell your boss that you appreciated the opportunity to work with them and that you’re grateful for their mentorship, but you’ve decided to accept a new job offer.
  • Don’t suck up to your boss. Keep it professional and concise.
  • Be respectful, direct, and give them your undivided attention.
  • If they ask you why you’re leaving, explain that you need to take this next step to attain your goals. Don’t take this as an opportunity to disrespect your boss or their company.
  • Mention that working for them was invaluable in moving to the next step.

To stay in your employer’s good graces, don’t mention you’re quitting to other colleagues before you tell your boss, submit your two-week notice, and be restrained in your exit interview.

Scenario 2: You like Your Employer, but Not Your Job/Career

If you enjoy working with your employer and your co-workers, it’s worth seeing which new positions are available at your current company. Not only is your employer more likely to hire you, but your organization may have programs that facilitate internal employee transfers.

It’s respectful to research the opportunity you’re interested in. To show you’re eager to move into a new role, speak to people who are currently doing this role, go to their meetings, ask questions, and take notes.

Speak to your manager before your employer about switching departments, or they may feel you’re going above their head. Explain why a transfer will benefit the company. For example, you could say that you’ll bring more value to the company because you can fill in for two roles.

When discussing an internal career change with your boss:

  • Don’t give ultimatums, and don’t threaten to quit if you don’t get the job.
  • Keep your skillset in mind. It’s more compelling to say that you heard the marketing team is looking for a new graphic designer, which aligns with your skillset, rather than say you “want a new job in the company.”
  • Compare your new job role with your resume and/or your willingness to learn. Outline the pros of your move with your boss. Be patient if your boss needs time to decide.

Don’t be discouraged if your boss isn’t receptive to your career goals. You’ve now defined what you want from a career and can transfer this knowledge to a job application or interview.