There have been a number of articles that speak to the psychological barriers of changing careers – how easy it is to become defined by a job title and ignore feelings of discontent with your work rather than rather opening yourself up to new possibilities.

And the truth is, the path to a more fulfilling career is rarely straightforward, unless you are lucky enough to be tapped on the shoulder by someone who hands you your ideal job on a platter. For most of those changing careers the real challenge is to figure out what they want to do instead. How does one create a future career vision that reflects who they are, what they want, what they’re good at and passionate about? As important, how does one vet their choice to ensure that it is realistic and practical in today’s market? These are important questions. Small wonder that so many career changers seek expert guidance from a career coach to ensure that they are getting the answers they need to make an informed decision .

If the new career involves job search, the next challenge is to make a credible case for their qualifications to enter the new field. This begins with repositioning their resume and LinkedIn profile to highlight their transferrable skills.

Then comes the need to immerse themselves in this new world, often while continuing to work in their current role. This means having conversations with people in the know, seeking training or certifications if required, joining professional associations, and gaining project or volunteer experience to acquire relevant experience and connections. Through these and other means career changers gradually build their network in the new field, and this network is almost certain to be the source of that all-important first position.

But job search isn’t the only path to changing careers.

Following the initial discovery, some may decide to return to school full time to retrain for the new field. Others may take the leap to self-employment, having satisfied themselves that their business idea is sound, and a fit for who they are.

The whole process takes time –a year at the very least – and a strategic and focused approach to acquire the information, skills and connections that will enable a successful transition. Most of all it requires emotional strength to persevere through periods of self-doubt and discouragement and keep striving toward their goal.

If all this sounds challenging, it is. But the rewards are great, in the prospect of new learning and connections and a fresh start in a career that you love and are uniquely suited for.

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