Why do you want to change your career path?
This is an important interview question —and it’s one that can make or break your interview depending on your answer, so buckle up.
Welcome back to our ongoing series, ” How to Answer Anything ,” where we are tackling the most common interview questions along with the best ways to answer them.
Whether you’re simply switching up organizations, job functions, or enacting a total career revamp , you will encounter some version of this question. Here’s how to answer.
How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Change Your Career Path?”
Making a big change in your career can be an equally exciting and nerve-wracking time.
Whether you’ve been feeling the gravitational pull to a new career for quite some time or you’re making a pretty quick move, our advice is this: stay positive in your answer.
Here’s our three-step process for answering “Why do you want to change your career path?”
1. Know What Not to Say When Answering “Why Do You Want to Change Your Career Path?”
Sometimes what not to say is as important—or even more important—as what you should say. Here’s a few things not to say, even if they’re true:
Notice the theme here? Steer clear of negativity at all costs. We’re not telling you to lie or stretch the truth. Rather, we are encouraging you to find the bright spot in why you are making the move.
Think of everything as an opportunity—even getting laid off. What does that opportunity look like to you in relation to your career?
What to Say:
Instead of saying, “I hated my last boss,” consider diving into what you admire about the leadership at the organization you are interviewing for. Perhaps the CEO is involved in initiatives or activism that is close to your heart.
2. Give Your (Inspiring) Reason for Changing Your Career Path
Now that we’ve ruled out the negative, let’s explore how to focus on the positive
Emphasize the positive reasons that have led you to this job interview. Perhaps you’re inspired by the work they’re doing, by their company culture, or by the opportunity the job offers.
Perhaps the skills and experience line up perfectly with your skills and experience—don’t you love when that happens?
As with all of our interview question advice, we implore you to refer to the job description and recent company history when constructing your answer to this question.
What to Say:
I have been thinking of moving on to a larger organization for a while so that I can bring my skills to a large-scale audience. When I saw this opportunity at [ORGANIZATION] open up, I knew I had to apply. My background in [EXPERTISE FROM JOB POST] and [EXPERTISE FROM JOB POST] seems to line up perfectly with the position, which is so exciting to me.
3. Tell Your Interviewer Your Career Plans
Did your interviewer already ask you where you see yourself in five years ? If the answer is no, that’s great. Using this third step, you can answer that infamous question too.
After explaining why you’re making your career transition, go a step further by telling the interviewer where you envision your career going—especially as it pertains to this particular organization.
This shows the hiring manager that you have taken the time to seriously consider your future as part of the team at their organization.
What to Say:
As a part of [COMPANY’S] team, I can see my future as a [JOB TITLE] open up before me. I believe I can bring my [SKILLSET] to [PROJECT] as well as gain new experience to grow my career within [COMPANY.] I am so excited for this opportunity to propel my career at an organization like [COMPANY.]