Five Ways To Start A New Career

Sometimes the path you follow in your career leads you down a dead end. But that doesn't mean you're forced to spend the rest your working days in a dull, lackluster career. If you feel condemned to robotically repeat your same duties, only at different companies, then it may be time to make a change and start in a new professional direction.

So what can you do? Here are five things to put you on track to a more fulfilling career:

1. Start With a Long, Hard Look in the Mirror

Do some soul-searching and examine what it is you really want to be doing. Then, be honest in determining if you have what it takes to get there. An objective assessment of your strengths and weaknesses is essential in helping you chart your new professional course. For example, if you've always wanted your own business but you're more creative than practical, maybe you should find a colleague to partner with to take care of the day-to-day aspects of running a business.

2. Make a List of Long-Term Goals You Want to Achieve

It's necessary to determine where you want to go so you can plan how to get there. Peyton, a marketing and public relations professional, quit her job when she had children because she could no longer handle the long hours. By networking with vendors and colleagues, Peyton was able to set up a freelance business from home, achieving her goal of continuing to do the work she loved -- without having to put in the marathon hours.

3. Don't Underestimate Your Experience

Experience is very resilient. It heartily crosses geographical boundaries and industry sectors, and it never goes out of style. Steve was a chief financial officer at an East Coast hospital who, years before, had worked his way through college and grad school as an electrician. When the maintenance staff at the hospital threatened to strike, Steve's membership in the electrician's union (which he maintained all those years) eased negotiations allowing him to work out a settlement and avoid a costly strike. This was a key accomplishment he was able to take with him to future administration positions. Take a good look at your own experience. Something in your background may translate well into an entirely new career for you.

4. Turn Your Hobby Into a Job

Today there are so many opportunities for niche businesses. JoAnn had a knack for home decorating -- even before the do-it-yourself craze was hot. She began helping friends and neighbors decorate their homes. Before long she launched a decorating company that specializes in painting faux finishes. She's so busy now she's turning business away.

5. Go Back to School
You may need to take a few college courses or obtain a professional certification to help you on the way to your new career. Ted entered medical school in college, but for financial reasons had to drop out of his studies. So instead he went into health care consulting. After a decade in the business, he decided he couldn't ignore his dream any longer. He reentered medical school at age 35, making him the oldest in his graduating class. He now is happily practicing pediatric medicine.

Next: Top 10 Companies Hiring This Week >>

Copyright 2006

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