Navigating a Career Transition: 5 Tips for Senior Professionals Shifting to Mid-Level Roles

Over the past few years, senior-level professionals have started to recalibrate their priorities and seek out positions that align more closely with their personal needs and values. Whether they feel tapped out and need a change of pace or they entered a new season of life with more responsibilities outside of the office, the outcome tends to look the same.

This group is stepping back from climbing the corporate ladder and pursuing positions at a lower level where they can make a positive contribution to a team without the exhausting demands of executive-level leadership.  

As a leading marketing recruitment agency, we understand how challenging it can be to make this professional shift. Having successfully placed various marketing, communications and creative professionals at similar trajectories in their careers, here’s our team’s best advice for making the transition from a senior-level position to a mid-level job. 

Articulate the Value You Bring 

When making a major career move, potential employers want to understand why you’re seeking a change and what unique perspective you’ll provide to their team.  

Before beginning your search, take time to consider how your expertise can offer additional value to a mid-level role in a new company. Here are a few examples to consider:  

+ You can offer great wisdom/coaching/development opportunities to direct reports.
+ You’re there to build strong relationships and stay in the position/company over a longer period of time.
+ You have experience growing similar businesses and can help anticipate and work through the difficulties along the way.
+ You are deeply passionate about an organization’s cause/impact/values and want to participate in advancing its work. 

After figuring out how your expertise can offer additional benefits to the team and company, make sure to include it in cover letters and on your resume.  

Inventory and Update Your Skills  

Emphasizing the experiences from your current role that are directly transferable to the position you’re applying for is important. Hiring managers also want to know whether your skills are fresh and up to date.  

If it’s been a while since you’ve done any hands-on work, start freshening up your qualifications. Demonstrate your willingness to learn by taking a few courses or reading up on current best practices. Include recent accomplishments on your resume and share findings with the hiring managers and team members interviewing you. Offering to complete an assignment or assessment during the interview process may also help push your name to the top of the list.  

Address Overqualification Concerns 

Perhaps you’re too qualified for the role. And that could be a concern for hiring managers. 

It’s best if you’re the first one to bring up the elephant in the room. Craft your resume and cover letter in a way that addresses potential questions about overqualification, clearly expressing your genuine interest in the role and its alignment with your values and goals. In interviews, acknowledge any uncertainties that pop up and remind them of the unique value you can bring to their team.  

Prepare to reinforce this message during each interview step. Having an executive transition into a lower-level role is still an out-of-the-ordinary career path that may result in lots of questions.  

Demonstrate Humility, Adaptability and Teachability  

Hiring managers are trying to figure out if you’ll be a good team player. One who can adapt to challenges on the fly, is willing to learn new things and can admit when they make mistakes.  

Providing examples from your past where you successfully adapted to new jobs or challenges is helpful. Are there instances where you worked hands-on with a team or took on tasks outside of your typical executive responsibilities? Is there a scenario where you took direction from someone with less experience? Did they offer suggestions on a strategy you built, and you adapted accordingly? 

Make it clear that you’re ready to jump in and work alongside the team, rather than direct them. 

Connect with a Recruiter 

Engaging with a recruiter or specialized recruitment agency can help you identify the right opportunities to pursue where your expertise and value are highly sought after. A talented recruiter can be your best advocate to employers, positioning your experience in a way that aligns with the needs and expectations of the job.  

Connecting with a recruitment agency is a great way to streamline your search and connect with organizations ready for your talent.  

Making a major career move is a significant decision that can lead to a more fulfilling professional life. By implementing these five suggestions, you can navigate this shift with confidence and secure a role where you can make a meaningful impact while enjoying a more balanced and satisfying professional life.  


Ready to Make a Move?

Smart, Savvy + Associates is a boutique recruitment agency that specializes in helping companies find and hire the marketing, communications, and creative professionals they need. From coordinators to C-suite, Smart Savvy is here to simplify the recruitment process and provide best-in-class candidates for their clients in (and around) Vancouver, B.C.. Looking for something new? Visit our job board to see what roles we’re hiring for or join our ever-growing talent network today.