Sooner or later everyone considers a career change. And while changing careers may be best move you ever make it isn’t normally an easy transition – especially if its your first time. Consider the common career change mistakes outlined below so that you can avoid them.
- Not having a plan
By far the most common mistake most people make when changing careers it to go at it without a plan. While the grass may seem greening on the other site, changing careers is not as simple as jumping a fence. It requires a well thought out plan. Most people who attempt a career change without a well thought out plan usually have a very poor career change experience. Putting together a detail plan (which includes backup plans, strategies, finances, research, etc.) is one of the keys to successful career change.
- Changing careers because you hat your job
Many people think because they hate their job they need to find a new career. Don’t confuse hating your current job with hating your career – you may simply have a problem with your employer, company or you may just be bored. If you determine that a career change is in order just make sure that you don’t quit your job until you have a well though out plan for finding a new career position. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is quit your current job without a plan.
- Chasing the dollar signs
Changing careers simply to make more money usually isn’t a good enough reason. There are number of careers that attract professionals because of salary potential or other benefits. Ever heard the phrase, “money won’t buy happiness”. We’ll when it comes to careers this saying is often very true. Most people to make a career change with the sole purpose of making more money typically find they are not happier with their new career than they were with their previous career.
- Changing careers because of outside influences.
Remember that whatever you choose for career is what you’ll be doing day in and day out for many years. Making a career change due pressure from a spouse, parent or significant other is a very bad idea. How long can you be happy in a career that you don’t like and that you chose because someone pressured you into it? Not very long at all. You’ll end up resenting the person that pressured you into making a career change and you not likely to be very happy in your new career.
- Going at it alone
Once you’ve made the decision to make a career change start networking with individuals and professionals in your new career field. You may also considering finding a mentor — someone who can show you the ropes and introduce you to other industry professionals. Networking is an essential skill for anyone seeking a job but it is a particularly important skill for career-changers. One of the best ways to find a mentor or to start networking is by joining industry associations.
- Changing careers without exploring all career possibilities
You should never jump into a new career without first considering all career possibilities. You may thing you know exactly what career field will you want to be involved in but without first conducting a thorough research of all careers you may be making a mistake. Talk to people in a variety of different professions, read a variety of job and career profiles, and considering meeting with a career counselor before your make a career change. The more you learn about the different careers out there the more satisfied you’ll be with your final career choice.
- Changing careers without ample self-assessment
One of the most critical components of career-change success is to assess your likes, dislikes, skills, values and interests. Making a career change without adequate self assessment and a lot of self-reflection could wined you up in a career that is not more satisfying than your current career. Understanding who you are, what makes you tick and what your really enjoy doing will help you make a sound and fulfilling career change decision.
- Making a career change without the necessary experience and skills
Making a serious career change without the necessary skills, education and experience can be a serious mistake. In order to have a successful career change you must find a way to transfer the skills you’ve developed in your current career to your new career. While transferable skills (leadership, communication, etc.) are important assets it is often necessary to gain additional training and experience in order to transition into a new career field if your current skill set is not readily transferable. Once you’ve identified your new career — but before you leave your current career — find out what skills are required to succeed. Research additional education, training, or certifications that will help you become more qualified. We also recommend trying to find time to temp, intern, volunteer or consult in your new career before quiting your current job.
You have so many resources available to you today there is no reason to make any of the career change mistakes listed above. But if you do make a mistake, don’t get discouraged … pick yourself and try again. If you put together a good career change plan, apply yourself, avoid the mistakes above and never give up you’re sure to succeed.