Photo credit – Clipart-library.com
Making a career change without a plan.
Probably the biggest mistake you can make is attempting to change careers without a plan. A successful career change can often take months to accomplish when you have a strategy, so without one, you could end up adrift for an even longer period. Having a detailed action plan (including items such as strategies, finances, research, and education/training) is essential to your success. Without a plan, you might take the first job offer that comes along, whether it is a good fit for you or not.
Changing careers because you hate your job.
Don’t make the mistake of confusing hating your current job with hating your current career. Take the time to analyze whether it’s just the job/employer/boss that you hate, or whether it’s the career/skills/work that you dislike. The same goes with if you are feeling bored or lost with your job; review whether it’s the job/employer or the career. Whatever you determine, it’s best not to leave your job — if possible — until you have a plan for finding a new job/career.
Making a career change solely based on money/benefits.
Certain career fields are very alluring because of the salary and other benefits they offer, but be very careful of switching careers because of all the dollar signs. Keep repeating to yourself, “money won’t buy me happiness.” Remember that you may make more money, but if you hate your new career, you’ll probably be spending that money on stress- and health-related expenses. A career that’s hot today could be gone tomorrow, so dig deeper.
Changing careers because of outside pressure.
Don’t let your parents, significant others, or anyone else influence your career choice. They don’t have to live that career every day; you do. If you love what you do and earn a reasonable living, why is it anyone’s business but yours? If you switch careers because of outside pressure to have a “better career,” and then hate your new career, you’ll end up resenting the person(s) who pressured you to make the switch.
Making a career change without refreshing your network and finding a new mentor.
Don’t ever attempt a career change alone. As soon as you have identified the career field you want to switch into, begin developing new network contacts. Conduct informational interviews. Join industry associations. People in your network can provide inside information about job-openings and can even champion you to hiring managers. Networking is essential for all job-seekers, but even more so for career-changers. And use a current or new mentor as a sounding board to help guide you in the transition. Learn more about networking and the value of a mentor .