How to manage a senior career transition

by Mar 21, 2023

Manage a senior career transition


Changing jobs at a high level can be exciting, but it can also be challenging, so here are tips to help you manage a senior career transition


Transitioning into a new job at a senior level doesn’t mean that executives are exempt from all the challenges that more junior people experience. A high-level career transition can be exciting, but it can also be challenging because the more senior the role the greater the expectations, especially if it is a high-visibility leadership role, or executive specialist function.

If things don’t work out it’s important to protect yourself before you start, because the higher you are, the harder you fall and any period of unemployment is potentially longer.

So when you land your senior job, it’s important to clearly manage your own expectations and those of the people around you.


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Tips to help you manage a senior career transition

1. Manage onboarding expectations

Understand that transitioning at a senior level can take time and is not easy. Allow an adjustment period and expect setbacks. Make sure you have established an onboarding framework with your boss to cover the first six months at least. Be clear about the support you will get and ask for a coach, mentor, or onboarding buddy.

Worth a read: How to respond to “what are your salary expectations?”

At the contract stage try to negotiate a severance package if things don’t work out through no fault of your own (e.g. change of circumstances, merger, takeover, change of boss). At this level, it can take from four up to 12 months to get another job.

2. Set clear goals

Before starting your new position, set clear goals for what you want to achieve in the role and especially the first 12 months or probationary period. Check your agreed job description. Have a good understanding of how they will measure success and establish if you will have soft KPIs in the first six months, especially if you are in a function that impacts business growth. Write those goals down to help you stay focused and give you a sense of purpose.


Goal setting tips to boost your career – 3 Plus International


3. Onboard with your team

Be open and honest with your team about your expectations and ask for feedback on what they expect of you. Establish their communication preferences and see if they align with your own. Arrange individual meetings and get to know them as whole people not just their professional personas.


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4. Build an internal network

Make time to meet your colleagues, preferably individually, at the same level and even those a level above and below you.  Learn quickly how your role slots into the organisational structure and establish how your piece can make a more effective contribution. Ask for advice and identify who will be your best allies. The rule of averages says it won’t be everyone, so don’t be too anxious if all your relationships don’t gel immediately.

5. Stay flexible

Listen more and ask questions. Dramatic entries are for movies and Elon Musk. You are in a new situation so you must be able to adapt and and be open to learning new skills. Ask for feedback and don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something.

6. Practice self-care

Be sure to take care of yourself and your personal relationships. Many people throw themselves into a new job to the detriment of their well-being and they can even neglect their families and the people closest to them. Do whatever you need to do to stay physically and psychologically healthy. It isn’t always about having a bath with a scented candle.

Embarking on a senior career transition takes time. It is a journey, not a destination. Keep an open mind, stay focused, and be patient with yourself as you navigate this exciting and challenging phase in your career.



Do you need help negotiating your next career move? Contact 3Plus now!


3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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