Abandoning familiarity is frightening. Fear of the future and work-related anxiety is common, but for many, excitement is also a welcomed side effect. Envisioning the accomplishments to come and the adventure awaiting ahead can be just the motivation you need to spark your career change. Although the process of switching professions will be a challenging endeavor, there are steps you can take to ease your transition. Here are four tips to help you successfully embark on a new career path.
Naturally, doing something you’ve never done before can breed uncertainty, but in spite of your fears, you must remain confident in yourself. Your new coworkers need to trust in your capabilities and resolve. Setting the tone starts with you. Fight your instinct to feel as if you don’t belong or don’t deserve the job. Own your space. Rest assured that you are there for a reason and have something special to offer your new career field. Hold your head high, even if you have to ‘fake it until you make it’. Soon enough, your confidence will become genuine and reassured.
Find a Mentor
Having an experienced ally makes all the difference. As soon as you can, find a mentor who is willing to help you fill in the gaps. Being the newcomer is difficult. You won’t want to rely on just anybody for support and advice. The best mentors are approachable, available, wise and helpful. Be selective in your choice, then use your resource to help you find your footing. Once you’ve adjusted and mastered your new career, you can pay if forward by mentoring someone else who is new to the field.
Being surrounded by experts and longtime professionals will undoubtedly create the occasional gap in knowledge (or experience). To remedy this you will have to study harder and more often than your counterparts. If you encounter a subject that you haven’t completely mastered or don’t feel fully comfortable with yet, take it upon yourself to put in extra study time when you clock out. Putting in those additional hours of self-initiated study will show your team you are dedicated to pulling your weight despite your inexperience. Fortunately, in due time, you’ll notice the number of topics that require study steadily decreasing.
Remain Open to Feedback
Learning something new comes with making mistakes. While it’s never fun to be informed of your errors, it is a necessary evil when it comes to improving. You can’t control how feedback is given to you, but you can control how you receive it. Remain open to the possibility that you’ll receive constructive criticism, sometimes in moments that you least expect. Do your best to take it in stride. Afterward, you have the freedom to decide what to do with the information you’ve received. Remember you aren’t required to give every opinion legitimacy and you have full discretion over filtering what is worth addressing or ignoring.
Following your dreams and changing your career takes courage, hard work and patience. Enduring the highs and lows of the transition will yield a reward worth seizing. Remember these four tips along your journey and enjoy the success that follows.