1. Start with why
The single most powerful thing you can have when making a career transition is willpower. There are likely to be times when the transition process gets you down, and those without a deep motivation to succeed may simply give up.
That is why you should start your process with a simple question: why are you doing this? Even if you are certain this is the right move, and have always wanted to work in your target industry, it is still extremely valuable to clarify and remind yourself what all this effort is for.
2. Be open to working your way up
In a competitive industry, transitioning into a high-powered position may be unrealistic. Changing industries may involve a step backwards in terms of career trajectory or status, and those willing to cope with this will be able to make the move faster.
Many successful professionals struggle with the idea of losing their career standing. But the reality is, if you achieved senior status before, you can do it again - and this time, in an industry you are more excited to be a part of.
3. Build your personal brand
Chances are, the industry you are hoping to enter will be highly competitive. If you are willing to leave a high-powered role in pursuit of this new arena, plenty of others will be too. And that means you need to stand out.
From professional social networks like LinkedIn to how you communicate at networking events and in interviews, you need to find a way to differentiate yourself and leave a lasting impression on prospective employers.
4. Perfect your CV
Presenting your experience is an art, and those that can master it will have a huge advantage. From properly framing your skillset to demonstrating how your previous experience is relevant and useful, a properly constructed CV will be a huge point of differentiation.
Many professionals will not have altered their CV much in recent years, and may need help ensuring it is both written perfectly and looks incredible. But there are plenty of great resources online that will help you understand what recruiters are looking for - and deliver it.
5. Set deadlines for yourself
Without a clear deadline or plan of action, many professionals fall back into their existing habits and their career transition becomes little more than a dream. That is why it is vital to set a clear, realistic timeline for each part of your transition - and hold yourself accountable to it.
While you should remain flexible, and adapt your deadlines depending on changing circumstances, it is important to make the deadlines feel as real as possible. If you are struggling with this, consider talking through your plans with a friend or partner - and asking them to challenge you if you become complacent or fall behind.
Making a career transition can be transformative, allowing professionals to take control of their lives and find greater meaning and pleasure in their work. But too many are discouraged by a sense that they are too old, or underskilled - and therefore can’t make it happen.
We hope this article has shown that not only is a successful career transition possible - there has never been a better moment to take the leap. Because as the Ancient Chinese proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. But the second best time is today.”