10 Career Change Mistakes & How to Avoid Them
Changing careers isn’t easy – your friends and family may think you’re crazy, you might not have a clue which direction to go in, and it can seem like a very long road ahead. However,
if you’re bored, burnt-out, or simply unfulfilled, it really is worth the effort and the wait. Life’s too short to be stuck in a career that is making you unhappy – it’s as simple as that.
To help your career change journey be as successful and smooth as possible, I’ve pulled together some of the 10 most common mistakes career changers make, and how you can avoid them. Here we go…..
1. Change careers because you hate your job.
Don't confuse hating your job with hating your career. Take the time to identify the reasons why you are unhappy in your current job, and then work out whether it’s your job/employer/boss you despise, or whether it’s the nature of the work you do and the skills you are using that you dislike or leave you feeling dissatisfied. Only when you are clear what the problem is can you find the right solution.
2. Jump at the first career option that comes your way.
If you’re really unhappy in your career and you know you want out, it’s tempting to take the first opportunity or idea that comes along and roll with it. However, if you’re going to go through the upheaval of changing career, you don’t want to end up jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Take your time. Identify who you are, what your ideal job would look like, and then research all your options to identify those that match – your dream job may be one you haven’t even heard of yet.
3. Choose a new career based on the fact that………
a. Others are doing well in it.
Just because someone you know is successful in a certain career does not mean that you will be, or, more importantly, that you will be happy doing it. Changing career is all about finding a new role that is a good fit for you.
b. The money’s great.
You can’t buy happiness, so never base a career decision on money alone. If you hate your new high-paying career, you’ll probably end up spending the money on keeping yourself sane through stress management and retail therapy. Plus, what
good is having loads of money if you haven’t got any time to enjoy it? Consider the impact of career options on your quality of life.
4. Choose a new career without introspection
This is the most important point of all, because developing your self-awareness is the key to finding a new career you’ll love (and ensuring you don’t end up in a new career that fits as poorly as your last). By identifying your interests, natural strengths, skills, life goals, and most importantly, your values, you’ll be able to find a career to match – a career that will make you happy and fulfilled.
5. Let others’ opinions get in the way.
Don't let your parents, significant others, or anyone else influence your career decision. If they object to your career change, then they do. Remember, it’s your happiness (and health) at stake. You only have one life, do what is right for you.
6. Make a career change without a plan.
Putting together a detailed plan and strategy is an essential part of a successful career change. It helps you to stay focused and motivated, which is very important given that career changes take months to complete. Make sure you include all the steps required for your career change, including developing self-awareness,
researching options, enhancing your skills, undertaking training / educational courses, and obtaining the financial resources you require.
7. Invest in further education unless you’re sure of your choice.
It’s important to make sure you have the right skills and qualifications for your new career, but before investing in further education, be as sure as you can that you’ve found the right career. The best way to do this is to test drive your career option; do some voluntary work, get a part-time role for experience, or ask to shadow someone working in the field. At the very least, talk to people who are in the job you want and pick their brains regarding the ins and outs of the job.
8. Change careers without updating your job-search skills/techniques
If it's been a while since you were last on the job market, take the time to update your job-search and interview skills. This is particularly important today with so much emphasis on social media, such as the use of LinkedIn for job hunting. Use
your new level of self-awareness to develop your personal brand – what you stand for, what makes you different. This is an absolute must in the current job market.
9. Expect to switch overnight
A career change usually takes a minimum of six months to pull off, so you’ll need to be patient. Take the time to get it right, and it’ll be well worth the wait.
10. Give up
Changing careers can be tough – your family and friends may be against your ideas, you may have to adjust to a lower income, and you will have to face your fears; fear of failure and fear of not being able to pay the mortgage are common among career
changers. When times get tough, think about what your life will be like in 5 years time if you continue on your current path…..what would be the consequences for your health and happiness?
You deserve a fulfilling, happy, and healthy work life; one that reflects who you are, that you are passionate about, and that makes you want to get out of bed on a Monday morning. So, hang on to your dream and never give up.