5 Tips for Transitioning into a New Career

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If you're transitioning into a new career, you may be faced with a number of challenges. From learning a new skill to learning new coworker's names, beginning a new career can be both rewarding and scary. This has been my experience in moving between careers and looking for upward mobility.

I've switched careers twice and because of this experience I've managed to accumulate some sound advice when it comes to the 'career transition.' In order to help make the transition a bit easier, here are five tips I've adhered to that help with the new experience:

1.) Listen and Learn

If you have prior work experience, it can be difficult to let go of your past achievements. When I begin a new career, I try not to hold onto the past too hard, as this can become a stumbling block on the road to success. In fact, I try to imagine myself as a whole new person, or a representative of my past self being reincarnated into a new life.

The reason for this is simple: no one in your new profession will care much about your past achievements. They may find your past experience interesting or compelling on a personal level, but when it comes right down to it they're more interested in what skills you presently bring to the table.

It's a 'what have you done for me lately' world.

2.) Use Experience Wisely

As mentioned, prior experience can hurt you if you let it, but it can also be helpful. When learning a new skill or new work environment, I try to contrast them with my previous work experience and then bring that experience into the present. However, I'm careful to remember that the new job is not my previous job.

There are always transferable skills that you can take from one job to the next, but that should not be used as an excuse to not learn vital new skills.

3.) Check Your Ego

If you were successful in your last job, it can be very easy to bring an ego into your new one. Unfortunately, many people who do this quickly find out that they have to work their way up in their new job just like everyone else. As mentioned, it's important to remember your previous work experiences and put them to use in your new job, but always check your ego at the door.

When I start a new job I try to endear myself to my new colleagues by asking questions and demonstrating genuine excitement for the daily duties and tasks of the job. Don't be above the fray. If people don't sense that you actually want to be there they may avoid you, which can lead to office tension.

4.) Ask Questions

Per my last point, in addition to checking your ego, never be too afraid or too proud to ask questions. Many experienced workers feel that they should already have all the answers, leading them to not ask questions when they really should. If you're unsure of a certain task or a certain method at your new company, speak up and ask questions.

For example, if you worked in a medical billing office in the past, but now you're working in retail finance, you may be unsure of how the billing process works at your new job. In this case, you should speak to a coworker or your boss for clarification.

5.) Participate in Your Own Success

Another important part of transitioning into a new career is to get involved. If your company is seeking volunteers for a task, offer to help out. This will get your name known, and it's also a great way to meet your new coworkers and learn about your new company's culture.

If I'm trying to earn my keep in a new job environment, the first thing I do is strategically plan the moves I can make that will put me in the good graces of my supervisors. Typically, this is hard work, a good attitude, and a versatile inquisitive mind.

Starting a new career can be a challenge, but you can make it easier by viewing your job as an entirely new experience. Hopefully, the advice I've imparted from my employment experience will help you to put things in context. Remember to try not to hold onto baggage from your old job, as each company deserves a chance to prove itself, just as you deserve the chance to prove yourself.

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