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Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 7.03.22 PMJob search is a challenge for everyone, but experienced job seekers, especially those who realize they want to change  careers, may face special challenges. Marc Miller, Career Design specialist with Career Pivot and author of Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers, suggests these five key steps to follow when making a career change.

Career change: how to find a career you love?

1. Decide what you want.  Avoid moving from one job or career to another before you narrow down how you want to spend your working hours. For example, ask yourself if autonomy is crucial, or if using your creativity is most important.

2. Once you narrow down what you want to do next, Miller suggests you craft an elevator pitch to highlight what you offer your target employer. The best pitches clearly explain how and why you are a good fit for your ideal job.

3. Build your team. Miller calls this your “tribe.” These people are willing to help and support you during your career transition.

4. Act on facts, not assumptions. We all get caught up in the popular myth that “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” Miller reminds career changers: “Remember, sometimes, that greener grass turns out to be Astroturf!”

5. Network strategically. When you meet new contacts, make sure they understand why you are a good fit for the type of job you want. Use social media tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter to find and target individuals who can be your allies and develop relationships with them.

6. Learn to ask for help. Miller reminds career changers that it’s tough (maybe impossible) to head into new territory and to succeed without help. He suggests you “Set aside your pride in order to reach for something new. Career change is hard at first; but it gets easier.”

Read the entire post on my U.S. News & World Report column.

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