More are more people are considering a career change nowadays. Sometimes because they don’t like their jobs, they are tired of doing the same thing or perhaps they find out that their purpose is to do something else.
If you are in the middle of a career change, avoid making the following mistakes. They are very common!
1. Lack of direction.
Before taking any actions, you need to be clear about where you want to go. It is essential that you spend some time getting to know yourself and understanding what you really want.
What do you dislike about what you’re doing right now? What do you like? What is not working? What is missing? Describe your ideal job/career: What do you on a day-to-day basis? Where do you work? What type of company do you work for? What are their values? What type of team do you work with? Do you work for a big company, a start-up or for yourself?
The more specific the goals you set, the easier it will be to define your action plan.
For example: “I want a different job with a higher salary” is not a specific goal. “I want to work in the marketing department of a tech start-up with the option to travel to other cities and where my salary is X” is.
There are other factors you will need to consider when setting your goals. They will need to be realistic and measurable (Google SMART objectives for more details).
So I strongly recommend that you spend some time on this stage, it is one of the most important ones! Without a clear goal, it will be impossible to define an effective strategy and action plan.
2. Wanting overnight results.
Take your time. Be patient. If someone wants to change to a completely different industry with no experience, it would be very rare if they got a new job with the same conditions in a few weeks. Is it possible? Yes. Is it common? Definitely not.
A career change is a process that can take months or even years until you achieve your goal.
You might need to spend time training, networking, going to interviews or even take a pay-cut at the beginning until you gain experience.
Don’t despair, make sure your goals are properly defined and spend time planning your transition.
This takes me to the next big mistake.
3. Not having a plan for your career transition.
Whatever your starting point and goals are, it will be very difficult to achieve them without a good plan.
What do you need to do to achieve your goals? Training? Experience? Are you going to do it in parallel with your current job? Are you going to take a break? If so, how is this going to impact your finances and how will you manage it? There are many different options. Some people decide to quit their jobs and use their savings. Others go part-time or just keep their jobs until they find something they like.
There is no right or wrong, but it is important that you analyse your situation and define a realistic plan of how you will undertake the change.
4. Thinking that a career change means starting from scratch.
There is a very common belief when considering a career change which is, “all these years of experience are useless now, I’ll have to start from scratch”.
There are always transferable skills and strengths. Maybe your areas of expertise are different to the ones you need for your future role, but you might already have some valuable skills and experience.
Make a list of all your skills, strengths and areas of expertise that you have acquired ever since you started working. Include the skills you learnt in sports or other activities.
Review all your jobs, studies and extracurricular activities IN DETAIL. You will be surprised by how many things you can add to your list and I’m sure that this will give you a boost of confidence.
5. Not working on your limiting beliefs.
“That’s not possible”, “that’s very difficult”, “it’s too late for that”… It is very common to have that type of thought when we are about to undertake an important change.
Before setting any goals, spend time reviewing your beliefs system: where they come from, if they are still valid and if they are helping or limiting you. Get rid of the ones you no longer need. If you are interested in this step, check out this article on how to identify and remove your limiting beliefs.
6. Making decisions according to someone else’s expectations.
The purpose of a career change shouldn’t be to please someone else or to prove that someone was wrong.
Don’t make any decisions based on what others might think. Firstly because we tend to think that others have high expectations about ourselves, and secondly because whatever they are expecting from us… well, it’s not your responsibility.
Surround yourself with people with extensive experience and knowledge, whom you can learn from. Stay far away from non-constructive criticism and fear-based opinions.
Asking for help is always a good idea. If you’re struggling with your career change, have you considered Career Coaching?
If you liked this article, you might also enjoy this one: 5 Steps to start a career change.
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