LinkedIn and Citi's New Study Reveals The Less Linear Path to Success [SLIDESHOW]

November 4, 2013

Has your career turned out like you expected?

I know mine hasn't. I started my professional life as a designer in the magazine industry, planning to work my way up to Creative Director at a big-name title like Esquire or Real Simple. After a couple of years, though, I realized I wasn't doing what I loved. I needed a new career.

It's a scenario that's increasingly common across the professional world, and particularly for women. According to new research from LinkedIn and Citi’s Today’s Professional Woman Report, women are more likely than men to be doing something different than what they thought they’d do in college (45% versus 36%).

And looking to the future, women don’t expect they’ll be doing the same thing long-term, either -- 30% of women (compared to 19% of men) think they’ll be at a different company or in a completely new industry in 10 years.

The survey also found that the average woman will have eight jobs over the course of her life. We’ve heard in Connect: Professional Women’s Network, a LinkedIn group powered by Citi, that switching jobs and reinventing yourself can be hard. But that isn’t deterring women from feeling like they’ve achieved their goals. In fact, the number of women who consider themselves successful has increased 10% since March 2013.

How can you prepare for a career that’s likely to have some twists and turns?

  • Build your network on LinkedIn before you need it.
  • Join a community like Connect: Professional Women's Network to talk about the challenges and opportunities in your career.
  • Check out the advice from career coach and author Kathy Caprino, who recently answered questions from Connect members about transitioning jobs and creating careers you love.
  • Think of your strengths and expertise bigger-picture instead of tied to a specific role. As Caprino says, "Tease out 'sounds cool!' ideas versus real-life directions that are going to fit with your needs, wants, passions and talents."
  • Explore activities and interests outside of your current profession.
  • Read advice on how to know when to leave your job and make a good impression at the new one.

For more highlights from the report and insights from Connect members, check out the slideshow below: