Making a career move doesn’t have to mean leaving your company — changing roles or teams can open up a world of possibilities to push you forward. Perhaps your career goals have shifted or a product has sparked your interest. Maybe you want to build new skills or grow a strength you recently discovered — or you may be a lifelong learner and feel inspired to explore all the company has to offer.
Are you considering a transition but unsure where to start? We pulled together a handful of questions that will help spark reflection, steer conversations and guide you on the next step of your career journey.
1. What am I looking for in my next role? What would excite me?
Your current role may have helped you understand what you’re ready to leave behind. The next step is to understand what you’re looking for in a new role. What projects tap into your strengths and passions? What problems could you spend all day diving into? What type of team culture motivates you to do your best work? Answering these questions will help make changing roles or teams an intentional stepping stone in your career.
Harini C., a UX researcher based in Seattle, WA, remembers when she felt “the heart tug” to try something different. “Wanting to do something more consumer-facing, I moved to the horizontal research and strategy team in the metaverse, even though it was a new area to me,” she shares. “Finding the right role for you is all about identifying and leveraging your strengths, and not being afraid to try new things.”
2. Where is the greatest opportunity for growth and learning?
Lateral moves are a great way to drive continuous learning — introducing opportunities for you to gain new experiences, develop new skills and diversify your professional toolbox. Joining a new team can help you make progress with short-term goals, such as better understanding your strengths, which contributes to your long-term aspirations over time. To figure out which team will help you grow, ask: what will I learn from this experience? How can I build new skills or find new ways to apply my knowledge?
When Mario Latham, a Head of VR content review operations based in Austin, TX, joined Meta in a sales role, he took intentional steps toward his dream of working in VR. “Even in sales, I was dogfooding our VR products,” he shares. “I later became Head of product operations for Messenger, where I learned about addressing bugs. Being in that role gave me the confidence to pivot from operations to a more tech-oriented team — and one year later, I moved to Reality Labs. Changing direction is an opportunity to develop new skills and be impactful.”
3. Are there other roles or teams where I can better leverage my strengths?
Before making a move, find opportunities to learn about different teams across your organization — whether it’s collaborating on projects, building relationships or joining a team temporarily. Any experience that gives you visibility into a team’s culture or way of working will help you decide if it’s the place you want to take your career next.
Emily B., a director of research based in London, UK, encourages her team members to do some internal research to move forward with confidence. “First understand your company, the rhythm of your focus area, and your unique strengths within that particular environment,” she suggests. “Next, build relationships with cross-functional partners to learn which products you’re passionate about. Then, use your network to explore other teams to see where you can best leverage those strengths.”
4. Would I be excited to build the skills to become a manager?
When you envision your career, do you see yourself as a people manager or individual contributor (IC)? Management is a choice — and it’s not the only way to build a career or be a leader. Consider your interests and ask yourself honestly: does the idea of helping other people develop their strengths inspire me? Do I prefer to focus on dedicated project work alongside my team?
For Ben B., a software engineer based in New York City, there is nothing more rewarding than mentorship. “Being a people manager has always appealed to me — growing other people’s careers fascinates me more than focusing on my own,” he says. “I discovered this passion as an intern manager last summer. It was the first time I directly managed another person and was responsible for their performance outcomes. The intern I worked with excelled and that’s what I was most proud of — even more than the project I delivered.”
5. What skills have people recognized in me? How can I use them to shine?
If you’re trying to figure out your next move, take time to connect with your manager, mentor or teammates. As people who know your work well, they have unique insight into your strengths, ways of working and areas for growth — often observing things you may not see.
Sharmaine C., a manager in global operations research based in Menlo Park, CA, found her dream role based on feedback she received from several managers. “My manager in market research asked, ‘your technical skills would be great for product research, have you considered moving to a UX research role in a product team?’ Another manager told me, ‘you love supporting people, you should explore people management,’” she shares.
“Today, the role I have is a perfect mix of my professional goals and personal aspirations, thanks to their support.”
Your career is in your hands. Once you decide what you want in your next role and how your career can leverage your strengths, it’s time to advocate for yourself and your goals. As Chris H., an engineering director based in London, UK, encourages, start by raising your hand. “Use mobility and autonomy to your advantage,” he encourages. “Speak to a manager, try out a new team for a month or speak up about a project that sparks your passion. Managers want team members to pursue their interests, and we’re here to help.”