Thinking About Changing Careers? Here Are 13 Ways to Make the Transition Run Smoothly

With the average person changing jobs 10 to 15 times during their professional life, finding a new path has become more of a norm than an exception. Shifting careers has risen, too.

Transitioning can be difficult, as you need to prove your worth in an industry in which you have little to no experience. Plus, you don’t always have the safety net of your track record to back you. That’s why we asked 13 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council what the first step should be when changing careers. Here is what they recommend:

1. Learn Your New Industry Inside Out

Many people change careers without doing enough research first. Make sure you understand everything you need to know to launch your new career. This includes any formal education you might need, as well as both hard and soft skills. Read about it and talk to people in the industry. Before you make a big change, be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into. – Shawn Porat, Scorely


2. Do What You Love

Your chances of success are substantially increased when you do something you love. Take advantage of a career change and do something you truly love. Working with passion makes work easier and the outcome better, as you are doing it because you care. Think about what you enjoy doing, what makes you happy. Then, build a business around it and it will be easier to move into something new. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors


3. Talk to the Experts

Talk to the experts. A lot of people know the job market and can see opportunities that you might not have thought of. Reach out to a recruiting agency or career coach who specializes in that subject, and you might find some clarity. – Peggy Shell, Creative Alignments


4. Figure Out What Skills You Can Use

You’ll find that the skills you learned in one industry can be practically applied to another, and may even be a strategic advantage for a company in a different industry. Sometimes your unique perspective or experience may be very beneficial to companies in a new field. Figure out what those skills or advantages are and present them as such in your resume. – Andy Karuza, FenSens


5. Look Before You Jump

Set up several informational interviews with people who are in the shoes you think you may want to step into before you dive in. Ask them not only what they love about what they do, but what the biggest drawbacks are. Before walking down a new career path, it is wise to hear both the good and the bad of the journey from those who have already been down the road you are thinking of taking. – Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC


6. Decide What You Are Passionate About

Take the time to do some research as to exactly what that career should be. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, but more importantly decide on what you are truly passionate about. There are plenty of online personality tests that can help with that. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

7. Read and Start a Blog

My advice would be to start ASAP. Don’t wait until someone hires you to embark on your new career. Watch documentaries, read a lot, start learning, and blog about what you’ve learned. Not only will this be a test to make sure that you’re truly passionate about this new career, but it will also make you stand out as you’re applying for new jobs – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

8. Don’t Try to Avoid Failure

No matter how hard you try to prepare, nothing is ever going to go according to plan. If you try to ease yourself into your new chosen career path, you will experience resistance to change. Just get your hands dirty, be happy to fail as much as you can until you learn what you need to learn on the job, and move on. Don’t try to avoid failure, just get in there! – Cody McLain, SupportNinja


9. Find a Mentor

Mentors are key, no matter what kind of career you want. If you’d like to make a change, find a mentor first so they can provide you with the perspective you need. Make sure it’s someone who can answer all of your questions and help you understand what it’s really like to be where the grass is greener. – Adam Steele, The Magistrate


10. Leverage Your Past Experience

No matter how great the departure, you can always leverage your past experience as a unique differentiator applicable to your new path. As an early-stage startup investor in an emerging market, I am often evaluating past experiences of founders and how they provide a valuable perspective for a new industry. Understand how your past makes you uniquely qualified to succeed in your new path. – Ben Larson, Gateway

11. Change Your Facebook Feed

Prior to starting a new career, research and learn as much as you can. Since information is rapidly changing, stay on top of the industry by signing up to relevant Facebook groups, follow influencers on Twitter, and sign up to industry blog newsletters. This will help make sure that your new career is always top of mind. – Jared Atchison, WPForms


12. Get Some Experience

Experience is priceless in determining if something is going to be a good fit for you long term. If you think you know what your new path is, go out there and do it or experience it in any way, shape or form that you can: read, study, launch a small project, whatever. This will help you understand if you should be all in or whether your choice needs to be tweaked to truly be something you will love doing. – Justin Faerman, Conscious Lifestyle Magazine


13. Decide What Negatives You Can Live With

No career path is without its downsides—your goal is to find a set of downsides that you’re comfortable with, not to find something that has no downsides at all—sorry, it doesn’t exist. Talk to people in the industry and ask about their least favorite parts of their jobs, both day to day and long term. Compare these downsides to what you dislike about your current career path. – Roger Lee, Captain401

The answers above are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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