Changing careers can be one of the biggest and best decisions you make in your professional life. While there are many outcomes and consequences to consider, it can also be one of the most exciting times you go through.
When considering a career change to a new field, depending on how you approach the situation, your efforts may or may not work out. It helps to know what career change mistakes to avoid, so we have compiled a list of the common errors made by people who don’t do their research before changing careers.
1. Changing careers without a plan
A successful career change can often take months to accomplish, so it helps to move forward with a plan. Without a well thought out strategy, you may be left in limbo, adrift for an even longer period than necessary. Coming up with a detailed action plan, including a running sheet of logistics, finances, strategies, research, education and training, is one of the essential foundations for your potential success.
Changing careers without a plan can result in a lot of things, many of which are not good. You might take the first job that comes along, or you might wait it out, spending your savings while you wait for something better to come along. Being organised and focused before you make any big decisions will help to instil rationality when emotions may come heavily into play.
2. Mistaking a hatred for your job for a hatred of your career
In many circumstances, some people change their entire career, when all they really needed was a change in job. Take the time to analyse whether your current working environment is the thing making you unhappy. Perhaps your employer, manager or co-workers are the things that you do not enjoy, rather than the actual skills and work you are undergoing. Make a pros and cons list, honing in on exactly what you don’t like about your current position. Finding work in a different organisation might be more convenient than planning a complete career shift however if it comes down to true unhappiness, it may be time to review.
If this is the case, examine your pros and cons list thoroughly. What exactly are the things you dislike about your current career? Determine what really makes you unhappy before finalising any plans.
3. Make a career change solely based on financial gain
While certain career fields are alluring based purely on salary and benefits, this should not be the sole incentive for switching industries. As overused as the saying is, money doesn’t buy happiness. No matter how much money you make, research has shown time and time again, this type of benefit does not make you content with your job. A career that challenges you and allows you to explore your passions is one that is worth all the money in the world, so ensure you are basing your professional decisions on this, rather than money.
4. Changing your career for someone else
When selecting a career, especially at a young age, there tends to be outside pressures that can influence our decisions. However, they aren’t the ones working in the field every day, you are. If you don’t love what you do and select a career for yourself, it will never last. Don’t let your parents, significant other, friends or anyone else influence your professional decisions, because you may end up resenting them in the long run.
5. Changing careers without the necessary qualifications
When you are looking to change your career, you may find that there are many transferable facets that will bridge the gap between your old career and your new one. Your level of experience, skills and education are an important factor when considering your next step, and are often necessary when attempting to gain further training and experience.
When conducting research into the industry you would like to enter, the first thing you should research is the necessary qualifications. It is often a requirement of a new industry to be equipped with additional training, education or certifications, as well as some hands-on experience in the field. Consider studying a short course or TAFE course to help familiarise yourself with what it takes to succeed in a new position.
Try volunteering or interning, gaining additional experience before you quit your current job entirely. This will help to gauge your interests, showing you what you can expect and how to stay on track for a successful career change.
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