You may have come to realise that the “traditional” career path – choosing one field and staying with it from graduation until retirement – is not for you. And that’s okay. A career journey is an extremely personal experience which can take many different forms depending on what’s best for you.

That means that sometimes, a change is what’s needed. However, being in the position of wanting or needing to make a career change can be quite scary at first. That’s why, before you make the change, follow these six simple steps to ensure a smooth, successful transition. 

Get in the Right Mindset

First things first, mentally re-frame your decision. Instead of thinking of this as a “big change” or an “upheaval,” consider it simply the next step on your career journey. You aren’t “stuck” or a “failure” because you need something different. You’re on your personal path, and it may just happen to be that that path looks more like a set of stepping-stones than one smooth, unbroken road.

Getting yourself in a positive, learning- and growth-centered mindset may seem like a small step, but it can have massive positive results. You’ll be more confident, less fearful, and more willing to make the changes and decisions that you need as you move forward.

Ask a Business Coach

A big step such as a career change should not be made alone. Seek out a business coach who can serve as your professional mentor. This coach will be a professional entrepreneur who can assist you in many ways as you make needed changes.

For example, a business coach can suggest courses to study or skills to train in order to succeed in your new field. They can also connect you with other professionals in order to help you build a support network.

Research, Research, Research!

Your business coach can show you where to get started – and then, it’s time to research. When changing fields, it’s important to understand both exactly what you’re getting into and what you need to get there.

Read articles and blogs written by professionals in your new field. Seek out seminars, courses, and how-to videos to brush up your skills. Join job-related forums and social media groups in order to get a clearer idea of the requirements to succeed in your new career.

Revisit Your CV

Depending on your situation, you may not have looked at your CV in several years. However, if you want to make a successful career change, it’s time to brush the dust off that old CV and give it some “sprucing up”.

When re-structuring your CV to apply for your desired job, focus on transferable skills. Even though your previous field may have been completely unrelated to the one you hope to enter, you have likely accrued many universally useful skills. Common examples include leadership, communication, public speaking, organization, and project management. These skills will make you a desirable job candidate in any field.

Embrace Learning Opportunities

However, you may find that your desired new career requires some skills, qualifications or certifications you do not yet possess. At first, this can seem discouraging and even make you feel as though you wish to give up on your goals.

Instead of being disheartened, “flip the script” by seeing your career change as a chance for self-improvement. You get to learn new skills, improve yourself as a person and as a potential employee, and experience professional growth.

Once again, this mindset is centered around seeing your career as one long journey, rather than several smaller steps. Each change and new experience will help you learn and grow as you progress towards your future.

Rebranding: An Image Makeover

Finally, consider how you present yourself online. It is very likely that your professional social media image is extremely focused on your current career. Changing this shows your flexibility and willingness to adapt to your desired new job.

Work to “rebrand” yourself as you move through the steps of your career change. Make forum or LinkedIn connections with industry professionals. Join groups related to your desired field. You could even create a new “brand logo” to represent yourself on sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, which can include imagery related to your new career.

Changing careers can seem frightening at first – perhaps even impossible. However, you can prepare by putting yourself into the right mindset, researching requirements and qualifications, and developing a professional support network centered around a career coach.

After following these helpful tips, you will be able to present yourself as a desirable hire to any potential employer, regardless of industry or position. You will navigate even the most daunting of career changes with poise and finesse as you continue to walk down your life’s path with your head held high!

Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.