Are you thinking of changing your career? Lots of people do at some point in their lives, and it’s becoming more and more common. Sometimes, a career change can be just the thing you need to get out of the rut you are in and give yourself a chance to achieve your dream. However, most people are afraid to take the step because of the uncertainties involved. Changing your career can be risky because you can never tell for sure what the future holds.

If you are thinking about a career change, here are some tips that can help you facilitate the transition:

1. Prepare yourself psychologically

Changing your career entails a lot more than changing the place where you work. There will be a multitude of psychological issues to deal with as a result of having to adjust to a new work environment, working with new people, making new friends and even having to change your way of thinking. Therefore, once you have decided to change your career, the first step is to prepare yourself psychologically.

2. Talk to your family and friends

Your family and friends are important parts of your life and they may have some valuable insight that will help ease the transition. Sometimes, those closest to you are more aware of your strengths and weaknesses than you are, and an objective opinion may open your eyes to new opportunities that hadn’t crossed your mind. They may even be able to provide you with valuable introductions to people in prospective career options to conduct informational interviews.

3. Do a lot of research

Once you have decided to change your career, do a lot of online research into the new career possibilities you have set your sights on. If you are looking for a completely new type of job, learn what qualifications and training you need to be eligible for the job. Research the industries you’ll be participating in, the economic outlook for those sectors, and the major players in the market. Industry associations are a great source of information and networking events, and most professions will have one.

4. Check your financial health

A career change usually takes one into uncharted territory. If you are getting a new job, you may be offered a lower salary or find that it is not what you envisioned. If you are starting a business, it may take a year or two (or more!) before you see any income. You have to be ready for all possible eventualities; so before jumping the gun, check your financial health and make sure you will have enough money to support yourself and your family if things do not go according to plan.

5. Make a plan with realistic goals

It is important to have a plan when taking a step in a new direction. Make a 3-month, 6-month and 1-year plan with specific, measurable and timely goals. Make sure that your goals are realistic and achievable. Major career changes, especially entrepreneurship, is risky. Know that your plan may not succeed despite your best efforts; so be prepared to pivot to a Plan B or have an exit strategy.

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