How to Smoothly Transition Into a New Career

This article was originally published on CareerBuilder on 10/25/2016:


Even if you’ve landed your dream job, making a career change can be stressful. While you’ll undoubtedly face some challenges along the way, you can take a few steps to make the job switch easier. Follow these six tips to transition smoothly into your new career.

Stick to a Routine

When you start a new job, you can expect your employer to have expectations regarding work schedules. Some demand a 9-to-5 schedule, while others offer relative flexibility. Remember that just because you prefer to telework a few days a week or you want to work late when it suits your schedule doesn’t mean your employer will see things your way. Make sure you understand your employer’s expectations, and stick to the routine your company has established.

Know the Culture

Be sure that you’re aware of the corporate culture that you’re entering. Though you’ll undoubtedly add your own personality to your workplace, it’s rarely a good idea to try to change company practices and standards altogether. Ask pointed questions about the company’s culture during your interview so you don’t risk a bad fit once you’ve already committed to the job.

Take Plenty of Notes

Starting a new job is hard enough, but making a career change could cause you to doubt your own capabilities in the workplace. Ensure that you don’t fall behind or miss an important piece of information by taking notes at every possible opportunity. Jot things down during meetings and conversations, and also make mental notes as you get to know coworkers, superiors, and your company’s culture.

Build Strong Relationships

Working independently, taking charge of responsibilities, and exuding a sense of confidence will help your superiors develop a positive image of you, but you can’t do everything alone. Many workplaces increasingly value collaborative efforts, so be sure to find a way to work well with your coworkers. By building strong relationships right away, you’ll be able to develop a network of contacts that extends across departments.

Find a Mentor

You’ll have a much better chance of making your career change successful if you get advice from someone who has been in your shoes before. Seek out a mentor in your industry who can help you get your footing and advise you about career growth. Find out if your company has a mentorship program, or just approach a potential mentor independently.

Don’t Stop Networking

When you start a new career and leave your old job behind, you might worry that you’ll lose all your old colleagues in the process. You can maintain contacts with periodic check-ins and meetings, but you should also start networking in your new industry. The sooner you join professional groups or ask colleagues about networking events, the more quickly you’ll truly feel like you fit in with your new industry.

Making a much-needed career change and starting a great new job should be a positive time in your life. Lower your stress levels and set yourself up for success by following these steps for a smooth career transition.

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