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by Vault Careers | October 17, 2011


For workers who have recently been displaced or are unhappy with their current position, now may be a good time to start thinking about heading down a different career path. With the job market beginning to show signs of an economic rebound, there are opportunities out there for professionals who can parlay their skills into a new field.

1. Evaluate

The first step for people to take in figuring out a career change is to analyze their skill set against what they are passionate about doing. Professionals will need to know how their experience stacks up against the competition in their new career in order to decide if they need to further their training. Those looking to make a transition should also begin looking at different companies to see which ones they are would eventually like to work at, according to marketing consultant Heather Huhuman.

2. Know the limits

Career changes don't typically happen overnight, so people need to be realistic about some of the roadblocks they may face along the way. It may be unrealistic for some people to try to dedicate the time needed to start a new job search or learn new skills. Working professionals who can not afford to be without a job should consider asking their current supervisors for additional duties that may help them further develop their skills.

A good way for professionals to know the limits of their new field is by preparing a personal SWOT plan. According to Dr. Randall Hanson, people need to look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats before starting any significant transition.

3. Begin the sell

Once a person has decided that they are truly dedicated to making a career transition, they need to begin the networking process to let people in the industry know they are looking for a change. Social media is one of the best ways to begin the networking process. Online sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can help newcomers access working professionals they might not have had connections with otherwise. The internet is also a great resource for finding out about industry organizations and volunteer opportunities in any chosen field.

4. Do it for the right reasons

Jumping into a new professional role can be a major life altering experience. People shouldn't confuse not loving their job with not loving their career. For those contemplating a change, make sure you go into it with eyes wide open to land a job that will give you long-term happiness.

--Published Courtesy of Brafton