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by Vault Careers | May 06, 2010


Even before the recession turned the employment market on its head, the average worker in the U.S. was switching careers at a breakneck pace: some studies estimate as average of between five and eight career changes over the course of working life. With the financial crisis decimating demand for certain professions, that number can only have increased.

Despite the fact that we may be getting used to the idea of having many different types of professional experience over the course of a career, the concept of leaving a job behind and going onto something completely new is still a daunting one. As such, it can also be an incredibly stressful experience, unless you handle it properly.

John Khoury, CEO and Founder of, an online health and wellness resource, offers some advice to help prepare for the leap, what steps to take, and mistakes to avoid.

Think Big

Switching careers will be hard, if you don't have a compelling future your sub-conscious brain will not support your endeavors. You have to sell it to yourself first, if it doesn't excite you it probably won't work out.

Consider Yourself a Product

What do you have to offer potential employers? If the value of you is so clear then great, if not you may have to offer a free sample to show them what you can do. Interview employers like companies interview customers, see what their needs are, which are not being met, AND which they would pay money to have met.

Gut Check

Fear comes in different flavors. If you're afraid that you won't like your new career, stop right away and reassess. If you're afraid you can't do it, then sit that fear down like a little child and have a talk with it. You can do it; you just have to convince yourself you can. Put your confidence through a daily workout to make the fear smaller and smaller.

Education Check

Who do you need to be to get the new job and what skills do you need. Find out up front and make a plan to be that person and get those skills. Look for an education overlap that would relate to your new career. Perhaps you only need a few more credit hours to receive a new certification or degree. Also research your current employer education programs; going back to school is even better when someone else is footing the bill.

Network Check

Often times you will find your current professional network is related to your current career, not helpful when looking to switch careers. Tap into alumni resources, state career programs, or professional organizations – expanding beyond your current network is key when switching careers.

Skills Check

Take some time to reflect on your natural skills and abilities. Ask your friends and family to help, you never know what skills others value in you.

Finances Check

You will most probably take a financial hit when switching careers, don’t be discouraged. Consider what areas you can cut back on and save money during the transition, switching careers is stressful enough no need for added financial pressure.