Things to Think About When Starting or Changing Careers

Nancy Anderson
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Whether you're just starting your professional life or changing careers in your 40s or 50s, you have plenty to think about as you transition from one phase of your life to another. Thanks to a highly competitive job market in 2017, switching careers is a great idea if you really want to make this move. Discover four tips on how to move forward.

1. Prepare

Preparation is the key for changing careers. You don't want to leave your old job without having a plan in mind. Research your career choice so you understand the benefits and drawbacks. Take a look at your potential job security and the type of income you can earn. Perhaps a gradual change is better than a sudden breaking away, especially if you need to attend classes, earn some certifications and get some experience. Consider moonlighting in your new career part time while keeping your old career intact until you can financially handle your new digs.

2. Cross-Train

Before you leave for new horizons, earn some new skills at your current employer. Ask your boss to cross-train you in other departments to experience what it's like on another team. This broadens your skill set before changing careers, and gives you a different perspective on jobs that require other skills.

You might have to start at a lower position in your new career. As such, you want to understand as much about the industry as possible. For example, say you already work in sales but decide you want to become a graphic designer. Ask your boss if you can spend some time in the PR or marketing department and get to know the graphic designers in the company. That way, you know what it takes to succeed at a higher level.

3. Network

Networking is very important in a contemporary job search, especially when changing careers. Think about the companies for which you would like to work, and connect with the people there. These new connections can put you in touch with hiring managers and recommend you for a position. Once you reach out to someone, also offer your help by putting your expertise to use. Networking takes time and effort, but it pays off in the end. Maintain regular contact with your growing network to keep up with any opportunities.

4. Remake Your Image

You are changing careers, so why not change your appearance? Buy a new wardrobe, get a new hairstyle, and add some new accessories to your outfits. Prepare for your new career as if you already fit into it. Research the latest fashion trends and company cultures to see what it takes to fit into your career.

When you prepare, network and earn new skills, changing careers becomes easier. The transition period also serves as a way to gauge whether you want a change of pace. Maybe you just need some minor adjustments, rather than a professional do-over, to feel happy.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


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