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Summary: Next Move, Best Move: Transitioning Into a Career You’ll Love by Kimberly Brown


Professionals often change jobs, or even industries, throughout their lifetimes. Career development coach and professor Kimberly Brown has spent more than a decade teaching people how to take control of their careers and find fulfillment at work. In this helpful guide, Brown shares her journey through different careers and offers helpful lessons in determining when it’s time for a change, negotiating the right salary for your level of expertise and other aspects of career transitions. Brown encourages you to reinvent yourself, go after your dream job and take control of building your career.


  • Recognize when it’s time for a change.
  • Repackage your strengths and experience as a set of transferable skills.
  • Consider where you are, where you want to go and who can help you get there.
  • Create a personal brand that aligns with your career goals.
  • Develop a mission statement that articulates who you are and gives you the confidence to speak up.
  • Use your strengths to negotiate your salary.

Summary: Next Move, Best Move: Transitioning Into a Career You'll Love by Kimberly Brown


Recognize when it’s time for a change.

There are seven reasons why you might want to leave your job or change careers:

  1. Your day-to-day work bores and does not challenge you, even when you exceed expectations and company goals.
  2. You realize you’ve outgrown your role and lack the power to make decisions, or changes constrain you.
  3. You haven’t received raises or compensation that reflect the time and energy you put into the company.
  4. There is a workplace conflict that negatively affects your professional abilities, and HR cannot resolve the issue.
  5. Personal life changes, such as a longer commute or starting a family, have made your job increasingly difficult.
  6. You’ve reached a glass ceiling and realize there are no more opportunities for upward mobility.
  7. Your company’s practices or policies don’t align with your values or sense of integrity.

Knowing when it’s time to leave goes beyond having a bad day at your job. Make sure you do everything you can to make your current role work, exhaust all available resources and put in adequate time to allow for change before deciding to leave.

“My hope is that the advancement of your career will be a continuous process you embark on so that you are always ready for the next move, or better yet, the next move finds you.”

Before submitting your resignation, ask:

  1. Did you receive feedback from your boss and implement his or her suggested changes?
  2. Do you understand your career path within the structure of your current company and understand all possible avenues for growth there?
  3. Have you considered the current industry climate and whether other jobs are available?
  4. Do you have a strategic network of connections to help you facilitate a career change?

If you answer yes to all four questions, you are ready for a change.

Repackage your strengths and experience as a set of transferable skills.

Defining yourself by your skills rather than by your job title gives you more opportunities for upward mobility and career satisfaction. If you’re unhappy at your current job, frustrated by your entire industry or seek more challenging roles, analyze your skills to discover what other jobs could benefit from your abilities.

After graduating from college, Kimberly Brown took a position as a marketing analyst so that she could live in New York City. Brown quickly realized her job was only a glorified data entry position that didn’t utilize her skills and made her unhappy. Speaking with former peers, she learned about a potential job in personal banking that sounded like a better fit. To apply for that job, Brown translated her skills as an analyst into assets for the personal banking role.

After a few years in the banking position, Brown realized it still wasn’t an ideal fit. She liked helping clients but hated having to meet sales quotas. Brown reevaluated her skills and decided to pursue a career path in higher education.

“It’s your job to connect the dots when having career conversations.”

Each job taught Brown something about herself – such as her core values and strengths – and helped her identify aspects of work she did, or did not enjoy – such as mastering sales techniques. Similarly, as you gain professional experience, you will learn that you must align your work with your core values and strengths to gain fulfillment in your career.

Assess the skills and values you want to bring into your next job, and those you want to leave behind. What are your greatest strengths? What type of work environment helps you perform at your best? What kind of work makes you happy? What types of roles do you want to avoid? Write down your answers.

Once you have a list of transferable skills and core values, use that list to filter job opportunities and to determine which career move will put you on the right path.

Consider where you are, where you want to go and who can help you get there.

Determine short-terms goals that will, ultimately, add up to a looser long-term career vision. Kimberley Brown didn’t develop a long-term vision until she was in her fourth career change, working as a career development counselor. In that role, she felt inspired to delve deeper into director opportunities at universities. Your long-term vision will change as experience helps you clarify what you really want.

To determine where you want to go next, break down where you are now. Ask which of these stages resonates with you:

  1. First stage – Do you have room to grow in your current role? In this stage you have yet to fully master your job’s responsibilities and haven’t cultivated a strong network to advocate on your behalf. You’ll need more time conquering the challenges of this role before moving on.
  2. Second stage – Are you in the process of growing your role? Here, you understand how your skills fit within the greater company structure, and have cultivated valuable relationships with crucial players.
  3. Third stage – Are you seeking a new challenge or to gain new skills? Now that you have mastered the necessary skills in your current role and found influential advocates to speak on your behalf, you may realize there are gaps in your knowledge and experience that you need to fill to gain your next promotion.
  4. Fourth stage – Do you want a completely new role in a new industry? With a fully mastered skill set, competent cross-functional skills and a strong network, you are ready to find better opportunities.

Every career change should be a strategic step toward your long-term vision. Address any professional skill gaps or intrapersonal gaps before moving forward. For example, Brown realized her distaste for networking was holding her back in her career. When she cultivated relationship skills and built a network of stakeholders, she opened more paths for upward mobility.

“You must conduct regular upkeep to create a long-lasting relationship.”

Treat your relationships with peers, coaches, mentors and sponsors as friendships first, connections second. You wouldn’t help someone you don’t know or trust, so don’t expect others to do so for you.

Create a personal brand that aligns with your career goals.

When heading into interviews, make yourself stand out. Everybody will say they’re a hard worker or good with teams. Package your skills and experience in a unique way.

Developing a strong personal brand that answers the question of what special qualities you bring to the table allows employers to understand how they can benefit from working with you and alleviates the need to “sell yourself.”

“Every professional has his or her own special sauce…”

Your personal brand allows you to quickly tell if a job will be a good fit because your brand should represent your values and top strengths. If your brand doesn’t reflect the career path you want, shift and refocus it to align with your goals. For example, Kimberley Brown wanted to move from her job in higher education to a job in corporate America. She altered aspects of her brand that focused on teaching into a brand that better suited fast-paced, profit-oriented companies.

Think about how people brand you and how you want that to change. Look back on performance reviews or ask your manager how you need to improve to receive a promotion. Consider where you want to be in two years and compare your present skills with those of professionals who hold your desired position.

Use your network to seek out inside information on office politics and stakeholder desires to understand how upward mobility works at any company where you want to work. Let your clear brand strategy guide you in the direction you want, so when an interview pops up, you know how to leverage yourself to get the job.

Develop a mission statement that articulates who you are and gives you the confidence to speak up.

Your personal brand tell others what they can expect from you. Expanding it beyond the company you work for helps prepare you for new opportunities. For example, Kimberly Brown began attending, organizing and speaking at conferences for educational associations. This move catapulted her career beyond the teaching sphere and into that of corporate America. At these events, Brown learned to create a mission statement that clearly articulated her brand and her goals.

“My personal mission and vision will positively impact the lives of others.”

Your mission statement clarifies your brand. It tells others about the value you create for them and what they can expect. Consider Oprah Winfrey. Her statement is “To be a teacher. To be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.” Oprah famously provides opportunities and resources for learning, thus, she lives up to her statement. Evaluate your core values and think about yourself holistically. What aspect of yourself can you guarantee to deliver to others?

Having a strong mission statement helps when you need to speak up for yourself. It gives you clarity about the values or principles you represent. When you know what you represent, you are less likely to let others push you around.

However, some situations will get the best of you. Learn to identify what triggers you before you shut down. Triggering situations might include an intimidating boss, an overly chatty co-worker who shares your ideas before you can speak or simply too many people in a room. Write down five times you didn’t speak up to identify commonalities in those situations.

Similarly, if you do speak up but not to the best of your abilities, try to fix the situation later. For example, if you leave an interview knowing you didn’t convey your ideas well, write a thank-you email later and explain your mistakes.Advocating for yourself is part of taking control of your career.

Use your strengths to negotiate your salary.

Speaking up for yourself comes in handy when negotiating your salary at a new job or asking for a raise at your current one. Begin by assessing the value you bring to your work environment. Reexamine the list you made of your values and transferable skills, and add concrete examples to it. For example, if you claim presentation skills, prove your level of expertise by listing important presentations you’ve given. Your transferable skills help you in salary or raise negotiations because they represent the reasons a company benefits from working with you.

Understand your position in terms of greater market value. Use tools such as LinkedIn to research what other companies pay people in similar roles, within your geographic region. Think of the process as akin to shopping for a house and comparing prices and amenities. You’ll notice that most jobs list a large salary range, such as $55,000 to $110,000. Factor in your skill set and years of experience to determine a smaller range for yourself. For example, if you only have foundational knowledge of a given job and minimal necessary skills, aim for the lower end of the salary spectrum.

“Sometimes you need to remind yourself that you’ve done the work, and you deserve the pay that you’re requesting.”

Finally, have a “hell no” number that you refuse to go below. Remember, you need to pay your bills and support yourself. Consider any added benefits that could reduce your cost of living, such as health insurance, student loan assistance or sign-on bonuses. Never accept the first offer. Take one to two days to go over the offer and benefits package before deciding to negotiate further or decline the position.

About the Author

Kimberley Brown is a career coach, professor and career development director.


“Next Move, Best Move: Transitioning Into a Career You’ll Love” by Kimberly Brown is a comprehensive guide that offers practical advice and strategies for individuals who are looking to make a successful career transition. The book provides a step-by-step approach to help readers navigate the process of finding a fulfilling career that aligns with their passions and goals.

The author begins by emphasizing the importance of self-reflection and understanding one’s strengths, values, and interests. Brown encourages readers to assess their current career situation and identify any areas of dissatisfaction or unfulfillment. She guides readers through exercises and tools to gain clarity about their career goals and aspirations.

Throughout the book, Brown provides insights and strategies for researching and exploring various career options. She discusses the importance of conducting informational interviews, networking, and leveraging online resources to gather information about different industries and roles. The author also guides readers on how to evaluate their transferable skills and identify potential gaps that may need to be addressed during the transition.

“Next Move, Best Move” offers practical advice on creating a compelling resume, optimizing one’s online presence, and preparing for interviews. Brown provides tips and techniques for crafting a personal brand and effectively communicating one’s value proposition to prospective employers.

The book also addresses the emotional and psychological aspects of career transition. Brown acknowledges the challenges and fears that often accompany this process and offers strategies for overcoming self-doubt, managing setbacks, and maintaining motivation throughout the journey.

Brown emphasizes the importance of ongoing learning and professional development. She encourages readers to continuously upgrade their skills, pursue relevant certifications, and seek out opportunities for growth and advancement in their chosen field.

Overall, “Next Move, Best Move” provides a comprehensive roadmap for individuals seeking to transition into a career they’ll love. The book combines practical advice, self-reflection exercises, and actionable strategies to guide readers through the process of finding fulfilling work that aligns with their passions and goals.

“Next Move, Best Move” is a valuable resource for anyone contemplating a career transition. Kimberly Brown provides a well-structured and insightful guide that addresses both the practical and emotional aspects of this journey.

One of the strengths of the book is its emphasis on self-reflection and understanding one’s own values and interests. Brown guides readers through exercises and prompts that help them gain clarity about their career goals and aspirations. This self-awareness serves as a solid foundation for making informed decisions and pursuing opportunities that align with one’s passions.

The author’s practical advice on researching and exploring different career options is particularly helpful. Brown provides actionable strategies for conducting informational interviews, networking effectively, and leveraging online resources. This guidance empowers readers to gather the information they need to make informed decisions about their next career move.

“Next Move, Best Move” also stands out for its attention to the emotional aspects of career transition. Brown acknowledges the fears and challenges that individuals may face during this process and provides strategies for managing self-doubt, setbacks, and maintaining motivation. This aspect of the book is valuable in helping readers navigate the ups and downs of their career transition journey.

While the book covers a wide range of topics, some readers may find that certain sections resonate more with their specific needs or circumstances. However, the overall framework and guidance provided by Brown offer a solid roadmap for making a successful career transition.

In conclusion, “Next Move, Best Move” is a recommended read for individuals seeking to transition into a career they’ll love. Kimberly Brown’s insights, practical strategies, and emphasis on self-reflection make this book a valuable resource for anyone looking to find fulfillment and success in their professional life.

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