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Preparing to take on a new job is one thing, but to prepare for a new career in which you have little direct experience is something very different. When you decide that it is time to transition to a new career, there are things you will need to do to make the transition easier. Before you get your new career underway, you should create a solid foundation that will pave your way to success.

Don’t forget your past

Even if you are making a drastic change to a new career, there are still elements of your old career that you need to keep strong if you want to be successful. For example, the strong customer service skills you built up as a medical sales professional will still serve you well in your new career as a nurse. Analyse your existing skill set and utilise the skills you have already developed to help you in your new career.

Take a deliberate approach to your new education

If you think back to your first job, you will remember how long it took you to develop an educational foundation that gave you the confidence you needed to be successful. Changing careers can be an anxious time, and you may put pressure on yourself to learn as much as you can, as fast as you can. The best approach is to be very deliberate in your new educational background. Take the same care in developing skills for your new career as you did in learning your previous career.

Make professional contacts

When you’re ready to prepare for a new career, your professional network of contacts is critical to your success. You will need your professional contacts to make inroads for your first job and you will call on your contacts to help you succeed at that job as well. The moment you make the decision to change careers should also be the moment that you start establishing a professional network of contacts for your new career.

Leverage social media

Social media offers a unique advantage to people changing careers that had not existed in the past. Learning to speak the language of your new career is usually something that you acquire over time. But you can use social media to start learning how to talk to people in your new industry immediately and establish a level of comfort in talking about issues in your new field before you even get started at your first job.

Shadow professionals in your new field

It may not be easy, but to prepare for a new career, you need to find someone who is currently working in your new field and see if you can shadow them at work for a day or two. This sort of direct experience can be invaluable in helping you to understand what will be expected of you and understanding what you need to know to do your job. To prepare for a new career, take stock of what you’ve learned in the past, and consider how you can apply your skills to your ideal industry. Determine what education is required to achieve your new goals, and ensure your professional network and social media are in good shape for your leap to these new opportunities. With these resources at your fingertips, you’ll know how to change your careers successfully, and you’re sure to achieve your goals in your new field.

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