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The ABCs of Changing Careers

How many of us have spent years preparing for a particular career only to end up working in another because of shifting workplace economics? What about those of us who lost interest in our chosen careers and became intrigued by other possibilities? And then, there are those of us who have been forced into new careers as a result of downsizing or relocation. Such changes are bound to raise our level of anxiety but, often, we have no choice but to forge ahead.

Transitioning from one career to another is not a particularly easy thing to do. It is a process that takes time and effort. Here are some helpful hints to get you through the process:

Decide What Type of Work You Would Like To Do

It’s easier if you have already determined the direction in which you are headed. However, if you want to (or need to) change careers but are not sure what type of work you want to do, then career counseling may help. Mental health professionals and career counselors are equipped to assist in these efforts. You may be asked to complete a career assessment test battery to determine your interests and talents. During this process, you may discover talents and interests you never realized you had. It’s an exciting part of the process!

Decide Whether You Need Further Training or Education

Once you have pinpointed the direction in which you are heading, you may need to decide whether you require further training to change careers successfully. For some career changers, going back to college and getting an additional degree is an option. Another way to change careers is to enroll in a certificate program. Many colleges and universities now offer certificates in various careers. These programs have been specifically designed to assist career changers.

Identify Transferable Skills

If you can identify transferable skills, you are already ahead of the game. Even though you may be making a 180-degree turn professionally, certain skills you have already developed may well be skills you will need in your new career. A good starting point is to sit down and make a list of all of the skills you already have. You may be surprised about the extent of your abilities. Skills that are particularly important include:

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The ABCs of Changing Careers

Cynthia Mascott, LMHC

APA Reference
Mascott, C. (2020). The ABCs of Changing Careers. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Jan 2020 (Originally: 17 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Jan 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.