The average person will change careers at least ten times throughout their life. The days of working in one job until retirement are pretty much over. Nowadays, people are more willing to branch out and try different jobs. This allows for more growth and more fulfillment. But, there are some mistakes to be aware of when you decide to change careers.
Making a significant job shift can be scary. If you’re completely changing careers, it can even feel overwhelming. For the most part, though, it’s an exciting experience and can open you up to a lot of potential growth. Because career changes have become so common, there is less to worry about when you take the plunge into something new.
If you find yourself always thinking about doing something else, it might be time to make a change. People decide to change careers for a variety of reasons. Your reasons could be different from someone else’s. But, some of the most common reasons for wanting to change include unhappiness with the job itself, low pay, and not feeling as though your skills are being used.
The underlying reason you want to change careers doesn’t matter as much as how you make the transition to something new. Some common mistakes have to do with why you want to leave your current job. Others are mistakes you should avoid when looking for a different career path. Whether you feel stuck at your current job or your new job isn’t working out, it’s important to know the right steps to take toward something different.
How Do I Move into a New Career Without Problems?
Few people consider their careers to be perfect. While you could be hunting for that ‘perfect fit’ forever, there is no shame in switching jobs throughout your life. Unfortunately, career changes aren’t always as easy as we’d like them to be.
The difficulties can come when mistakes are made. How you handle a career change will reflect on how easy it is to go through. There are pitfalls to be aware of. If you can avoid them, switching careers will be a lot easier and a lot more rewarding.
This guide will focus on some of those common pitfalls that people face when deciding they’re unhappy at a new job or want to switch their line of work. Do your best to avoid these mistakes, and your career transition can be a smoother one.
Why Should I Change Careers?
You should never be too quick to change careers without knowing when and why you’re doing it. If you’re not making enough money or you have a problem with someone in the office, it’s not always a good enough reason to leave and look for something new. You may have to adjust what you do, but leaving isn’t always the best option.
There are certain times when it’s appropriate to consider a change. So, when should you consider it?
- If you fell into your current career and it wasn’t your choice (help from a friend/family member, etc.).
- You had a life change that has created new interests.
- Your job has a poor outlook for the future.
- Your career doesn’t line up with your personal values.
If any of these reasons line up with your thinking, you could be right in wanting to make a career change. But, it’s still important to avoid making mistakes throughout the process. Let’s look at some of these common mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them.
Leaving Because You Plateaued
If you think you want to change your current career because you’re ‘stuck,’ take the time to think again. Many people seek out different careers because they feel like there is no more room for growth where they are. This can lead to complacency and boredom. It also can lead to feelings of inadequacy. If you don’t see a way to keep growing, you can quickly start to feel like you’re not doing anything worthwhile.
But, it’s important to recognize whether those feelings are limited to your job. Maybe you feel as though you’ve plateaued in different areas of life. Whether it’s just the job, or in other situations, making a switch isn’t always the answer.
Instead, think about things you could do to better yourself and progress within your current line of work. Start a new project, lead a new committee. Or, consider making a change within the company you work for. Maybe a different department would be better suited for you. One of the biggest mistakes people make is getting out of a career too quickly for the wrong reasons. Give yourself time to make and achieve new goals before giving up entirely on your career.
Leaving for More Money
If you know you can find a job, you’ll love with a higher paycheck, that’s one thing. But, it’s easy to leave your current career for a bigger paycheck in a job you may not enjoy. It’s easy to look at dollar signs and get drawn toward them. But, if you join an industry just for the money, it won’t last.
You must have at least some passion for what you do. If money is your only drive into a new career, you’ll quickly burn out on it. Better pay is always nice, but without more substance to the job, you may regret your decision before too long.
This is one of the biggest reasons you need to determine why you want to leave your current career in the first place. We can get frustrated with our jobs because we feel like we don’t make enough money. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean going to the first place that pays the most money will make us happier.
If money is the only issue with your current career, consider asking for a raise before leaving altogether. Many times, your place of employment will be willing to work with you to meet your needs. If not, here are some of the best paid medical jobs.
Missing Networking Opportunities
It’s never a good idea to just quit your current job and jump into a new industry head-first. You can send out a thousand applications and may never hear back from someone in your new career field. Why? More often than not, it’s not necessarily what you know, and it’s who you know. Meeting the right people can get your foot in the door to a new industry in a way that sending out applications just can’t.
Don’t cut yourself off from new networking opportunities in your new industry. Look into open events in your industry of interest that you can attend. You never know who you’ll be able to meet.
While you shouldn’t go around asking people for jobs in person, you may be able to make a connection that could lead to getting hired. If not, people within the industry are usually willing to give you helpful tips and pointers on how to get started.
If you’re new to the industry and don’t feel comfortable going to events by yourself, bring along someone you know. If you already know someone who is in the career you’re interested in, that’s even better. Or, go ahead and contact someone who will be at the event ahead of time. Forming these relationships will make it easier to meet the right people.
Not Using Social Media
We live in a world where social media is everywhere. If you don’t have time to go to a ton of networking events in person, use social media to your advantage. Through Twitter chats, Facebook groups, and LinkedIn, you can meet a lot of great industry professionals.
Some people are better at social media than actual in-person events. But, remember the platform you’re using. People don’t want to be harassed or annoyed any more online than they do in person. Using a platform like Facebook, for example, is a great way to keep things light and casual while still being professional. If you want to develop a professional relationship with someone in the industry, social media can create a solid foundation.
Again, you don’t have to ask people for jobs or even how to get ahead. Use social media to network like you would in person, and listen to sound advice from people who are willing to give it. If you don’t use social media in the midst of your career change, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of opportunity. It’s often easier than going to actual events, and you can interact with people all over the world within that industry.
Not Working with an Expert
An easy mistake to make as you transition to a new career is doing it on your own. Chances are, you didn’t get into your first job on your own. You probably had to have some schooling or training, right? Maybe you won’t need as much training for a new career, but you shouldn’t go into it without some guidance.
Getting a mentor or working with an expert in the industry can be a big help. They can answer any questions you might have and tell you what to expect. Beyond that, they might have connections within the industry that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to meet.
Finding a mentor might be awkward at first, but if you can create a professional relationship with someone in the industry, it can be beneficial for you. Connect with someone online or at a networking event, and tactfully pick their brains about how they can guide you into a new career.
Thinking Your Skills Are Enough
Sometimes, a mentor or expert in the field won’t make up for the training you need to get through. If you want to get into a new industry, you may need to learn new skills. It’s not always enough to decide to try something new and jump into it without any experience.
Maybe you’ve been working on new skills all along, and you can update your resume to reflect that. But, if this new career path requires specific training or schooling, you’re going to have to get on board and make it happen. Updating your skills to fit your new career path is not only important, but it’s also usually necessary.
You may be able to train and work on your new skills while working at a new job. Some employers also offer on-the-job training. But, you shouldn’t expect your new career to train you as you go. If you want to make a change, it’s your responsibility to hone in on the right skills. Seek out your options on how to update your talents and your resume.
Making a Change Without a Plan
If you’re genuinely frustrated with your current career, it can be tempting to jump ship quickly. You might think you’d be happier in a different industry. That could be true, but it’s never a good idea to head into a new career without a plan in mind.
Don’t set up a plan after you’ve already quit your job. That will cause you to scramble for something, you’ll be frustrated, and all the while, you won’t have a paycheck coming in. Even if you’re unhappy with your current job, stick it out long enough to put a solid, detailed plan in place. Once you have a strategy worked out, you can start taking the steps to a career change.
A plan also helps you in deciding the perfect job. Without a solid strategy in place, you could take the first job offer that comes along. Then, another offer might come later that is even better, but you’re already stuck. This strategy should be as detailed as possible before you start to put anything in motion. It might take some patience, but it will pay off in the end.
Listening to Everyone Else
Believe it or not, you can be pressured into switching careers. In fact, it happens more often than you might think. Outside forces and influences can affect your life. We listen to people like family members and friends because we trust them. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but it doesn’t always mean they know what’s best for us. You should never change careers based on the opinion of someone else.
If you’re content with what you do, and it is working for you, don’t care about what others might have to say. They might be looking out for you, but it’s more likely they just have an opinion they want to share. You can listen, but it doesn’t mean you have to take that advice. Unless someone you trust sees a major red flag with your current job, you probably don’t want to change based on their advice alone.
Switching your job because of someone else can make it easy to resent that job. Not only that, but it can also make it easy to resent that person. You could be putting a stable career and a healthy relationship in jeopardy. So, don’t be afraid to shut down offers from outside forces. It’s okay to appreciate people’s opinions, but leave them at that. Your career and your relationships will enjoy it in the long run.
Not Considering Every Possibility
It’s hard to over-plan when it comes to making a career change. Part of your plan should include taking every possibility into account. You might be leaving because you’re unhappy with your job. Or, you might have a specific career in mind you think is a better fit for you.
But, unless you’re looking at other scenarios, you’re limiting yourself. There could be an industry you haven’t even considered that could be perfect for you. Don’t hold yourself back to a specific career path. You could eventually end up resenting that one just as much. This can take some time to do, which isn’t always easy for someone who is eager to make a move to a new career. But, patience is key to looking at every possible path.
It might seem like overkill, but taking every possibility into account before changing your careers will make the whole process easier. Beyond that, you’ll feel more confident in your final decision. The more information you collect about different career paths and the choices you might have to make, the better.
Changing Careers Without Self-Reflection
There may be something more to your sudden desire for a new job than you realize. Self-reflection is incredibly important to do before switching careers. This type of reflection should include both career-based themes and personal themes.
For example, make a list of skills you enjoy. You should include skills that pertain to your job and skills that you consider hobbies. Then, make a list of skills you might have, but you don’t like. You can take a personality test or a test to determine your strengths and weaknesses, etc. As many things as you can do to get a better understanding of yourself, the better.
You might think changing careers will make you happier. But, that’s only true if you’re the right fit for the new job you’re choosing. If you don’t take the time to learn more about yourself, your new job might not work out the way you planned. Self-assessment gives you the chance to find the best possible career for yourself. When you’re able to do that, you’ll enjoy it so much more. Plus, you’re likely to be more successful at the job you choose.
Will I Regret Quitting My Job?
The grass might always seem greener on the other side. It’s easy to feel like you’re stuck in a rut when it comes to your job. But, if you don’t take the right steps toward a new career path, you could regret quitting it.
One tip not listed in this article, but one that’s important to keep in mind is not to let the successes of others affect your way of thinking. Just because a specific career path worked for one person, it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have the same success. If that successful person is close to you, it can make it harder to ignore. We always want what others seem to have. But, that’s no reason to change your career completely.
There are many good reasons to leave your job behind and start something new, such as a career in phlebotomy. But, there are also a lot of mistakes to be aware of. Even the ten listed here aren’t all the things you should consider before making a change. You don’t have to regret quitting your job, but you need to do it the right way.
The good news about wanting to switch careers is that there are countless resources available to do so seamlessly. Thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to meet people in whatever industry you’re into. If you’re unhappy with your current job and want something new, there is always someone you can talk to who will have information about whatever you’re interested in.
By avoiding the mistakes listed here, you can make your transition to a new career smooth and easy. It may still be a bit stressful and scary. Any significant life change can be. But, when you avoid certain pitfalls, you’re one step ahead.
If you’re ready to change industries to something that will make you more fulfilled, don’t hold back. Use the advice listed in this article to avoid mistakes and make the right decisions. It may take more time than you initially thought. But, by planning ahead and exhausting your resources, you’re more likely to have a positive experience.
Success and fulfillment can be just around the corner, no matter what industry you’re looking toward. Because of all the resources, there is no reason to run into mistakes like these. You should be in complete control of the career you choose. By changing the right way, you can make it happen.
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