Changing careers is an exciting step to take in your working life. But it can also be a stressful period, especially since the state of many job markets is less than stellar. When the field you’re in seems to be stagnating, or when it no longer provides career satisfaction, some decide to leave behind a career they’ve become experienced in and move onto something completely new.
Here are 8 mistakes to avoid in the process:
Taking a blind leap of faith<br />
Quitting your job suddenly and hoping something new and exciting will fall into your lap is risky and could prove disastrous. Think carefully about where your career stands and which direction you are certain you want it to continue in.
2. Changing careers for the wrong reason
Are you changing careers because of money? Are you changing careers because others think you should? If you move onto something you're not truly interested in, you'll find yourself coming full circle sooner or later.
3. Doing inadequate research or no research at all
How stable is the new field? Are the companies in the industry thriving, and are they hiring at the moment? Are there opportunities for career growth? Consider the skills you’ll need, the responsibilities you'll have and the financial benefits. Do all of these fall in line with your wants/expectations?
4. Failing to update skills
Know which skills you need to gain, and tweak existing skills. Developing a solid skills set that relates to jobs in the new field requires thorough research. Look into which qualifications, licences and certificates are necessary.
5. Being inflexible with salary requirements
Are you prepared to take a salary cut if it means working in an area you are passionate about? Hirers use a lack of experience as leverage during salary negotiations. If you’re adamant about maintaining your current salary, you may lose out on job opportunities.
6. Failing to network
As part of a social media drive, look to networking sites to make connections with experienced professionals in the field. Use your connections to learn about essential skills. Find out which companies are hiring and how to make a solid impression. Become an active member of online communities, such as LinkedIn, Twitter and internet forums.
7. Quitting too soon
Are you sure you need to make a change? Perhaps it’s not the field, but your current job that isn't providing you with career fulfilment. If you do change careers, there are a lot of challenges. Instead of quitting when the going gets tough, be prepared to stick out the rough patches until your new career feels secure, and it begins to grow.
8. Taking too long to commit
Once you’ve decided to change your career, you may sit on the fence for a while. It’s inadvisable to jump in head-first without doing proper research and preparation, but you’ll eventually need to take the plunge. If you procrastinate too much, your new career ambitions may begin to fade and you may give up on them altogether.
Just like getting any job, making a career switch requires plenty of research, thorough preparation and deep thought. If not, career development may stall, and opportunities may dissipate. So set realistic expectations and goals and achieve them through good planning, skills development and a strong drive to succeed in your new career.
Kapil Daya, Outsquare staff writer