Securing the next stop on your career journey takes clarity to outline the expectations of the experience you are looking for. Only you know what is in your thoughts and what that may ideally look like.

Translating thoughts into a succinct written summary will provide clarity for you and the stakeholders involved in your transition.

Recruiters that represent you and prospective hiring managers are not mindreaders. Make it easy for them to understand your aspirations and quickly assess if there is a fit. People will respect you and be in awe of your clarity of purpose when it’s written.

Transition statements can include a mix of the following elements.

“What” is your target experience?

  • Title/Role – if you are set on a specific job discipline and the taxonomy is well understood within your industry, then identifying a specific discipline and level (e.g., product manager) can be helpful. Job titles and their responsibilities can vary so consider this. It is ultimately the responsibilities you will perform to gain specific experiences and skills.
  • Experiences – any situations you want to put in or specific experiences you need to deepen or broaden the range of your competencies.
  • Responsibilities – a summary of the high-level activities you will ideally perform to set expectations on where and how you will allocate your time. This ultimately will translate into the competencies you will develop or master. Be selective when you are in a position to do so otherwise there could be a mismatch that leads to dissatisfaction.

“Why” is this your next step?

The “why” behind this transition may be for synthesizing your thought process, although it’s likely that recruiters and hiring managers will inquire. The driver may be for family reasons to relocate, incompatibility in your current environment, higher compensation, etc.

“Where” is the optimal environment for you to gain this experience?

  • Named organizations – prospective organizations that you see as a fit given your research.
  • Industry markets – specific vertical industries (e.g., healthcare) where your value proposition is relevant.
  • Organization size – the number of total employees or team size may be a factor given the expectations of the responsibilities and experiences you are seeking.
  • Organization stage – where the organization is in its lifecycle may be a factor for you such as desiring to be in a startup for rapid experience building or a well-established company that may provide stability and process.
  • Culture – organizational norms that form the basis for how people collaborate, how they are rewarded and how they are valued.
  • Geography – specific cities or regions of a country
  • Lifestyle – expectations you have of the role and/or organization to help support your uniqueness or areas of your life including flexibility to work remote, time of day work hours, etc.

Sample Content

These are a few leading sentences that can be used to outline your transition statement. I recommend that the transition statement be limited to a single page.

“My next transition is to a <type of role/level> where I can <the responsibilities I can perform> ….”

“My target role enables me to …..”

“I will thrive in a culture that ….”

How You Can Use a Transition Statement

  1. Arm recruiters that represent you with specifications that simplify and accelerate their search for opportunities that have a high likelihood of fit.
  2. If your plan is to progress within your current company, position your next role in the mind of your current manager so that he or she can support your career plan. This may also include on-the-job experiences that reduce the friction to the transitional role. Great managers will support you. Those who aren’t will feel threatened and inadequate.
  3. Set expectations, explore fit and negotiate a role with a prospective hiring manager. The transition statement will help you drive the discussion.