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1. Define What a “Great Job” Is
What are your passions and interests? What activities give you a sense of purpose and satisfaction? The first step in any career transition is the opportunity to explore, experiment and discover your “great job” and what you can do to pursue it.

2. Address Fear
Financial instability, family disruption, giving up an identity, failing at something new. These are all fears that may stand in the way of a successful career transition. The biggest thing you can do to get past these fears is to meet them head-on. Bring these deepest fears to light and examine them with reason; talk about them; play each one out to its most irrational end. What is the worst thing that could happen?

3. Create an Action Plan with a Timeline and Goals
Pursuing the ideal career is less a leap than a series of incremental steps that move you closer to your goal. What is critical to reaching that goal is making sure the steps you follow are the right ones. An action plan is needed. If you make a list of all the things you need to learn and do in order to realize a great new job, you will have mapped out a plan for transition. A knowledgeable action plan provides you with the power to forge ahead.

4. Find a Mentor
Inspirational, experienced, realistic, forthcoming and optimistic. A good mentor is all of these things and eager to help someone else get started. Recruiting a mentor who is a good match for you requires asking the right questions and building a mutually satisfying relationship. Having a mentor is at the crux of a successful career transition. Whether you are a 50-something CFO or a 20-something marketing manager (and everyone in between in terms of age and career stage), you need a mentor in your desired vocation.

5. Test-Drive A New Job or Career
There’s no better way to learn than by doing. Test-driving a new job with a mentor provides a hands-on experience that has the potential to change your life. This is the opportunity to learn as much as possible about the job, how you feel about the day-to-day activities and what it takes to succeed. The mentorship experience gives you the required personal and professional due diligence you need prior to making a career transition.

6. Create Your Professional Brand
Your professional brand (including a professional biography, in addition to your resume) separates you from your competitors and colleagues. Professional branding is not about building a persona. Instead, it is a way for you to maximize your key passions, attributes, skills, strengths and values—and use them to differentiate yourself in the workplace.

7. Network, Network, Network
You need to reach out to people with similar interests and goals. Additionally, you need to do your homework and access resources ranging from the online social networking world of LinkedIn, Yahoo!Groups, Facebook, and Twitter to the good, old-fashioned one-on-one interaction with people in the field you are exploring and those you meet through business and university alumni associations.

8. Establish Thresholds
The biggest benefit to a successful career transition is increased life satisfaction. It is important to understand how much risk, challenge and uncertainty one can tolerate before the life satisfaction goal becomes blurred. The career transition process is as much about what you learn on the journey as the rewards when you reach your destination.

Courtesy of
Brian Kurth from LinkedIn
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