Considering your next professional step? You’re not alone. In 2018, 40% of employees surveyed by CareerBuilder said they planned on changing jobs within the year. Professionals leave jobs and explore new possibilities for many reasons. Whether you’re on the hunt for a new challenge, feeling stuck in your current role or anticipating a layoff, career transitions can feel a bit like a roller coaster. There’s joy and excitement about what’s on the horizon — and also anxiety and uncertainty about how you’ll get there. But there are some proactive steps you can take now to plan. Considering leaving your job? Here’s what to do now.

1. Get self-investment on the calendar.

In a season of transition, invest in yourself. Professional and personal development, plus the right inspiration and insight, can make all the difference. This can be as simple as borrowing a book from the library on leadership, or participating in a webinar to learn a new skill in your field.

Strategically register for events where you can learn and grow, like Central Exchange’s annual Leadership Lyceum. On April 23, 2019, we’re holding a day-long conference with inspiring sessions for women at any point in their careers, including Work/Life Blend, Finding Significance, The Millennial Leader, and so much more.

2. Begin a “rainy day fund.”

If you’re considering a career transition soon, set money aside now. In case you encounter a period of time between paychecks or dependable income, your rainy day fund can be an anchor. The more you save, the more freedom you’ll have to find a role that suits you best.

With a rainy day fund, you have the bandwidth to take time for personal and professional self-care. Using the opportunity to define yourself, develop new connections with like-minded women and figure out what you want for your career can be invaluable to your future.

3. Uplevel your digital resume and presence

As technology changes, the job search changes with it. In fact, 68% of employers search for candidates on Facebook. To ensure that you’re prepared for whatever’s ahead, review your digital presence, including your social media profiles and online portfolios. Simple LinkedIn tweaks, like customizing your LinkedIn URL ( and writing profile headlines that speak to your unique value, can tremendously increase your chances of landing that dream job.

Need to do a full overhaul of your profiles, or need to refresh an out-of-date portfolio? Consider making your accounts private for a time while you edit, so you can avoid a less-than-stellar digital first impression. An online presence that clearly illustrates who you are and what value you bring can be a launching pad for any venture.

4. Connect with friends — old and new

When you’re figuring out your next career move, connecting with interesting people is one of the best things to do. Challenge yourself to plan one visit a week and explore all the possibilities. Start with your current network. Invite your old work BFF who took a new job last year for coffee and catching up. Or meet for lunch with a friend from your college alumni chapter.

Having built up your confidence with old friends, expand to make new connections. Considering starting a business? Talk to entrepreneurs! Want to leverage your skills in a new industry? Find an area expert. Even if someone’s career doesn’t exactly mirror your own, you may find inspiration from their own journey.

5. Give yourself career closure

What you may not realize about your career transition is that lack of closure can keep you from moving forward. This is especially challenging if your transition was not your choice, due to layoffs or other unexpected circumstances. A recent study revealed that these types of transitions may lead to regret, negativity and difficulty making changes if closure isn’t achieved.

So how do you achieve career closure? Start by reviewing your experience. Brainstorm all the highlights and low points of your time in that position. Now, what are you holding onto that you need to release? And what would it look like if you were willing to let it go? It’s okay to grieve your previous job before you jump on fresh opportunities. Reflecting on your previous career will help you grow. You’ll discover what you require in another job — and, equally important, what you want to avoid.

Regardless of how you departed your job, remember: you get to write your own narrative. So find empowerment in taking back the pen. Your career is a story and the job you left is just one of many chapters. Take this opportunity to expand your self-identity beyond your job. And remember, life’s biggest challenges are opportunities to build resilience. You’ve got this!

6. Build your support system and broaden your network

If the only connections you have are at your organization, it’s time to branch out. Developing multiple avenues for networking can greatly change your results. At Central Exchange, you’ll find women at all career stages who are committed to supporting each other in the job search and beyond. Many of our members have gone through career transitions themselves, whether it be from lay-offs or a simple desire to do something more. You’ll discover a network of women who have been in your shoes before, and today are stronger than ever. Central Exchange is where you’ll find a Kansas City network with heart and drive.

Central Exchange membership gives you access to meet like-minded women and unlimited inspiration. Make your career transition one of the best changes of your life, and take the first step with Central Exchange. Be our guest today