REMEMBER the days when people remained in the same job for life? No? To be fair, it was a long time ago.
Dad put in a few decades of diligent service at the plant and was rewarded with a gold watch and a modest pension. Throughout his tenure, the thought of a job shift, let alone a career change, was never part of the equation. Stability was the order of the day and your family was taken care of.
But, that was a long time ago. In our current economy and job market, a career hop is often a necessary step in order to generate an increase in income. “Necessary step” is the key term to consider because for many who execute a career change, there is a dark side to contend with.
Our advice is not to throw caution to the wind and to maintain a checklist of universal blunders people make when changing careers. Memorise them in order to avoid making mistakes when you make your big move.
1- There’s no viable reason to change
This one is common among people with career ADHD and a chronic obsession with change. The best advice is to look before you leap — a mantra to serve you until death, in fact. A career change is not akin to a switch in breakfast cereal. Think of it as a monumental life step to gain the proper perspective.
2- Lack of knowledge and experience
Without the proper dose of knowledge and experience in a given field, a potential career change may spell your doom. If you are fortunate enough to have an HR Manager take a leap of faith on you, prepare to dazzle the company brass. If not, your experiment may flop. The obvious measure necessary is to educate yourself on the industry before you embark on a journey in the dark.
3- For the love of money
Is money the root of all evil? Maybe not, but it can be your downfall if it’s the sole motivation behind a career shift. Forget the green and look at the big picture. Quality of life is what will determine your ultimate job satisfaction.
4- Attraction to a “flavour of the month” industry
Dot-com crash. Need we say more? If you’re entering a hot industry, think about how it will fare when the honeymoon is over. The fact of the matter is that there is a natural cycle to the economy and as well, to every job industry. Just as you saunter in at a peak period, beware the valley below.
5- Narrow focus
Many who consider a career change fail to look at a host of jobs they may qualify for in a peripheral industry. Do your homework and expand your search. Remember it pays to have knowledge and experience but don’t dismiss a career in a lucrative market just because you don’t know anything about it. There may be a way for you to get your toe in the door. Find it and exploit it.
This mistake has become a veritable epidemic in the present job market. Plenty of people take up Masters Degrees because they assume it will lead to more money. More often than not, that is not the case. Remember; experience is far more coveted than a slew of degrees.
7- Over-reliance on others
Career counselors, placement agencies, headhunters; they all claim to have the answer to your desire to change careers. The tendency of many is to sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Big mistake. Your search can take forever with that attitude. Implicate yourself full throttle to gain control of your career destiny.
8- No clear goal
Like companies and their mission statements, you need a goal in order to prosper. Detail what you want to accomplish by your big move and again, remember to look before you leap.
9- Having a terrible resume
The resume is the gateway to a new career. Dust it off and spruce it up before you send it out to the world. So many people forget how powerful a statement a bad resume can make. A poor or incomplete resume will doom your chance of employment. In addition to a good polish, our advice before a career change is to devise a functional resume, based on skill set and experience.
10- A shortage of contacts
The occasional cold call may net a good result but for the most part, you need a solid network to expedite a drastic career change. Plan ahead and ask around before you make a move. Be shameless and bold about it. This is the nature of business and people understand your need to push for a phone number or name in order to make your career dream happen.
11- “Mouse happy”
The internet is a phenomenal tool to find a job but at the same time, it is a false comfort. Use it and exploit it, but do not rely on it. Again, like a placement agency, there is a limit to what the web can do for you. Pound the pavement and work the telephone. Old-school can be the most effective system to make that career move.
12- Project confidence
It’s tough sticking your neck out into the job market, but you need to do it with confidence. Project a powerful persona and image in order to have an impact. This is the attitude of a winner. This is the attitude of someone about to start a new career.
clear the danger ahead.