What Not To Do When Making A Career Change
Are you one of the 13% of people who consider that they are in the right job? Or, more likely, are you one of the 87% who know that their work isn’t ideal for them but put up with it? Sometimes people unhappily endure a career that isn’t right for them for the whole of their working life, and tolerate the consequences of unhappiness and frustration.
Others decide to make a career change which can be a difficult, stressful experience for anyone.
You need a clear career direction
Often the reason a person is unhappy because they are in the wrong career altogether. Basically the job they are supposed to be doing isn’t the right sort of work for them. When this is the situation, no amount of changing jobs – doing the same work somewhere else – is going to make them happy. It’s a career change that is needed.
It’s a big mistake to try and make a career change without first determining what career direction is going to be right for you. Consulting a professional career practitioner can be a great help to you at this time. Then, with the help of your career coach, you can strategise the best way to move towards the career change you want and take action.
Of course, many major career changes require further study or training before you can make it happen. In this article we are talking about the sort of career change where you use your transferable skills to show that you have the skills and potential to follow the new career path you have chosen.
You can be very lucky and successfully make your career change with little effort, but that doesn’t happen for everyone. Successful people make their own opportunities. A related job hunting mistake is to rely on friends, family and other contacts to find you a job. While you absolutely should use your personal network of contacts in any job search, relying on someone else to do all of the work for you will lead you nowhere. Be proactive and do your own job hunting.
Just telling someone that you want to make a career change is not going to make it happen. Your resume needs to show why you could be successful in the career direction you have chosen. Consider all your transferable skills and ensure that they are highlighted and made relevant in the resume you tailor for each job application.
Be very clear about the career direction you want to take and why you are suitable for that type of work. Understand how your demonstrated skills relate to the new work. Be prepared to tell people in your network who are in any way related to the sort of work you want. This is how people make career changes, despite not having had the exact experience in another position.
Applying for too few jobs.
Understand that most applications will not lead to an interview, and most interviews will not result in a successful hiring. As the old saying goes, do not put all of your eggs in one basket. People who apply for just a few jobs find themselves crushed when those few applications do not result in offers. Having plenty of possible opportunities increases the odds that one will work out and takes away much of the sting of rejection.
Using a scattergun approach.
Whilst you shouldn’t make the job search mistake of only applying for a few jobs, nor should you apply generally for everything that is vaguely related to work you could do. Every job application should be tailored to that specific job, and you just can’t do that if you applying for many jobs every week.
Aiming too low or too high.
Many people approach career change with a pessimistic mindset. These people apply for jobs that are far below their abilities and qualifications, feeling that they need to gain experience in the new chosen career. On the other hand, some people approach job hunting with an overly optimistic outlook. These people apply for jobs that are out of reach, and wind up feeling the sting of rejection. Maintain a realistic outlook with regard to your needs and qualifications, particularly when you don’t yet have a lot of experience in that particular career.
Approaching interviews the wrong way.
Preparation and attitude are the keys to a successful interview. People who do not rehearse their answers to difficult questions lose out to people who do. In particular, most interviews include an open-ended question such as “tell me about yourself.” Not having a prepared answer for such a question dooms many interviewees. Likewise, many interviewees approach an interview with a negative attitude, especially if they are still angry at a former employer. No matter their qualifications, people with negative attitudes spend a long time looking for their next job.
Taking the first offer, no matter what.
A job is more than just a source of income; it is one of the focal points of a person’s life. Accepting an offer is a major decision and should not be taken lightly. Take some time to think about the offer and decide whether the job is really a good fit and whether it leads you closer to the career path you have chosen.
Job search mistakes are unnecessary.
There is so much information available online to help you engage in a successful job search that there really is no excuse to make the most common job hunting mistakes. If you are not currently successful, evaluate your own job search tactics and learn what you can do to improve your situation.
[Updated 11 April 2019]