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The 5 Biggest Mistakes Career Changers Make

The wrong “form” of work

In deciding to make career change, you must first identify the “essence” of what you want. Questions you need to answer are:

  • What skills and talents do I want to utilize?
  • What business outcomes do I want to support?
  • What type of people, environments and cultures do I thrive best with/in?
  • What types of challenges do I want to face in my work?
  • What financial compensation and benefits are non-negotiable for me?

You have to find the right “form” of work that fits you, your lifestyle and your needs.  

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The 5 Biggest Mistakes Career Changers Make

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Career Changers Make

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2012/04/14/the-5-biggest-mistakes-career-changers-make/

forbes.com

6

Key Ideas

To switch careers effectively

... and achieve a positive outcome, you need 4 things: clarity, courage, confidence, and competence.

Without these, you’ll most likely struggle hard and fail.  

“The Pendulum Effect”

Don't run from your career because you've broken down in it. Running away will not solve your problems – they’ll just be repeated in the next career.

Make your situation better by repairing broken relationships, finding your voice, growing out skills, and becoming more competent. Then, when you do leave, you’ll be able to achieve the next level of success.

Develop a financial plan

... that will support your transition.

Do solid research and explore your desired change with your accountant and financial consultant and experts in that career, to understand clearly, without emotion, the financial requirements necessary to support you through what can be years of transition. If there’s no money available, wait until you can access some.

The wrong “form” of work

In deciding to make career change, you must first identify the “essence” of what you want. Questions you need to answer are:

  • What skills and talents do I want to utilize?
  • What business outcomes do I want to support?
  • What type of people, environments and cultures do I thrive best with/in?
  • What types of challenges do I want to face in my work?
  • What financial compensation and benefits are non-negotiable for me?

You have to find the right “form” of work that fits you, your lifestyle and your needs.  

Dig deep enough

Do as much research and exploration as you can to determine what you want from this career change. 

Perhaps you don’t want a different career at all, but long to bring forward new aspects of yourself, your talents and skills. The question is: What professional identity will make you the happiest?

Giving up too quickly

Failed career changes often involve throwing in the towel too quickly.

You can’t make life or career change without significant effort, time, commitment, and usually some substantial money.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Starting with you

Focus on you first as the foundation. Your beliefs, attitude, and energy will determine your success. Spend time building up your confidence. 

  • Jot down your compet...
Thinking like a historian

Your resume is a marketing document, not an autobiography that details every past role and responsibility. Your objective it trying to prompt a purchase decision, which is to invite you in for an interview.

Delve into job boards and companies' careers pages. Pull a few postings, and find what theme or criteria keep coming up. For instance, if you continually find that they need someone who can solve complex problems and navigate ambiguity, and you can do that, then put it in your resume.

Looking at the big picture

Remember all of the skills you bring to the table. If you're applying for a project management role, consider highlighting the complementary skills you bring to the table. However, it should be a value add, not a random sidebar of your career.

Showing how your specific background allows you to bring a new perspective to your work will help you to stand out above other candidates.

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Traditional career paths

They are now fading, giving way to portfolio careers, hybrid roles, gigs, and virtual arrangements.

This is causing frustration for job seekers who are pursuing unconventional job changes, wh...

Start before you’re ready

In this ever-changing marketplace, chances are you’ll never feel 100% prepared. 

If your next step is unclear, the best way to find clarity is to move forward. Your view of the situation and potential solutions will be clearer when you're in the middle of it rather than when you’re on the outside looking in.

Follow your fear

Pay attention to those activities that feel scary - they're usually your next stretch goal waiting to be tackled.

You might make mistakes, but your other option is to do nothing and remain stagnant.

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Self-Assessment

Carefully evaluate your individual strengths, lifestyle preferences, passions, work style, and financial needs.

Know both who you are as a person and who you desire to b...

Research
  • Brainstorm possible job options and investigate them thoroughly. 
  • Learn about the descriptions and qualifications for various positions, typical entry points and advancement opportunities, satisfactions, frustrations, and other important facts.
  • Speak with as many people as possible that are involved in work that is of interest to you to get an insider’s perspective.
Experimentation

Internships and part-time jobs are an excellent way to sample a field of interest. 

They provide the opportunity to perform some of the job functions, observe others work, and evaluate the “real world” workplace environment.

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Learning Drives Adaptability

A learning mindset makes it less likely you’ll be thrown off or immobilized when a project changes the scope or a job function undergoes a transformation, especially if you have soft skills. Whi...

Companies Want Avid Lifelong Learners

The skills gap is often defined as the difference between the skills future workers have and the skills employers seek in new hires. But the skills gap also exists for the already employed workers and can keep growing unless they keep their skills up to date.

Curiosity Is Career Fuel

Understanding how your efforts fit into the bigger picture will give your work more meaning and give you new ideas to apply, so you don’t burn out or stagnate. Learning about something you’re curious about, even if it’s not useful to your job, expands your thinking, and impacts everything you do.

Evaluate your current job satisfaction

Keep a journal of your daily reactions to your job situation and look for recurring themes

Which aspects of your current job do you like and dislike? Are your dissatisfaction...

Assess your interests, values, and skills

Review past successful roles, volunteer work, projects and jobs to identify preferred activities and skills. 

Determine whether your core values and skills are addressed through your current career. 

Consider alternative careers

Brainstorm ideas for career alternatives by researching career options, and discussing your core values and skills with friends, family, and networking contacts. 

If you’re having difficulty coming up with ideas, consider meeting with a career counselor for professional advice.

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Leverage Your Competitive Advantage

Career plans should leverage your assets, set you in direction of your aspirations, and account for the market realities.

  • Articulate educated hypotheses about each...
Prioritize Learning

A person with a foundation of knowledge and skills will make more money and most likely live a more meaningful life.
There’s a similar belief in start-ups: technology companies focus on learning over profitability in the early years to maximize revenue in the later years.

Prioritize plans that offer the best chance at learning about yourself and the world. Ask yourself, “Which plan offers the most learning potential?”

Learn by Doing

Any entrepreneur (and any expert on cognition / learning) will tell you that practical knowledge is best developed by doing, not just thinking or planning.

For careers, too, you don’t know what the best plan is until you try. 

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Your Future Career Remuneration

Look at the bottom end of the average salaries of the career you are interested in and ask yourself whether you'd be able to survive on that if you got one of those jobs.

Similarly, lo...

Brush Up Your Skills
  • Research What's In Demand. Your first stop should be the boards and company websites that post the jobs you're interested in.
  • Beef Up Your Resume. Don't neglect the experience you already bring to the table. Soft skills you may have learned (management skills, organizational skills, etc) may be a huge benefit, so don't write them off completely. 
  • Go Back to School to pick up those new languages, skills, and techniques required to be competitive in your chosen field. 
  • Build Your Network. Get acquainted not just with the people you want to emulate, but other people who are doing what you do now.
Get Some Experience
  • Use Your Skills for Personal or Pet Projects.
  • Intern or Volunteer.
  • Freelance or Start a Side Gig.

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The Real Career Landscape
The Real Career Landscape
If you can figure out how to get a reasonably accurate picture of the real career landscape out there, you have a massive edge over everyone else, most of whom will be using outdated convention...
The career pitfall
Careers used to be kind of like a 40-year tunnel. You picked your tunnel, and once you were in, that was that. You worked in that profession for 40 years or so before the tunnel spit you out on the other side into your retirement.

Today’s career landscape isn’t a lineup of tunnels, it’s a massive, impossibly complex, rapidly changing science laboratory. 

Why Career-path-carving is important.

Time. A typical career will take up somewhere between 20% and 60% of your meaningful adult time.

Quality of Life. Your career has a major effect on all your non-career hours.

Impact. Whatever shape your career path ends up taking, the world will be altered by it.

Identity. We tell people about our careers by telling them what we are.

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Common decision-making mistakes
  1. Making impromptu decisions. Take the time to think about the pros and cons of your decision and weigh out the consequences.
  2. Lacking peace.  Take deep breaths in a qu...
Changing careers
You and you alone are responsible for creating your own future. 

Time to give serious thought to this life-shaping question: What exactly are you going to do with the rest of your li...

Start with honest self-assessment
  • Analyze your current skill set, training level, and accomplishments to date. 
  • Write down the aspects of the work you liked and what tasks or things you disliked
  • Explore different career options. Investigate new fields, industries and potential careers. 
  • Interview individuals who work at those types of jobs, or in fields of interest to you. 
  • Look at growth opportunities, salaries, benefits, education level and then determine the job title to target.
Change from careers
  • Use your transferable skills. You have acquired abilities from previous positions.
  • Use your strengths. Incorporate your talents into any position you choose to go after.
  • Get new skills. Study the industry you want to enter. Take some courses so you can more quickly enter the field.
  • Many people prevent their own success. They find excuses, or blame others, for their own failures or mistakes instead of learning and improving from them.

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