The 10 Worst Mistakes Career Changers MakeChanging careers is never easy. Half the world thinks you've lost your mind,
headhunters say you'll never work again and your mother-in-law steps up the old,
"I told you so" routine. But for many burned-out, bored or multitalented folks
who are sitting on skills they're not getting a chance to use, changing fields
is the only way to keep from losing their marbles.
Regardless of your
career change strategy, never make these 10 mistakes
1. Don't look for a job in another field without some intense
Nothing is worse than leaping before you look. Make
sure you're not escaping to a field that fits you just as poorly as your last.
Check out these self-assessment articles.
Get thorough information about the
fields you're considering by networking, reading and doing online research.
Having informational interviews with alumni from your college, colleagues,
friends or family is a fun way to get the scoop on different fields.
2. Don't look for "hot" fields unless they're a
good fit for you.
You wouldn't try to squeeze into your skinny
cousin's suit, so why try a field because it works for him? People who are
trying to help you will come along and do the equivalent of whispering
"plastics" in your ear. Instead of jumping at their suggestions, take time to
consider your options. Decide what you really want to do. When you enter a field
just because it's hot, burnout isn't far behind.
3. Don't go into a field because your friend is doing well in
Get thorough information about the fields you're considering by
networking, reading and doing online research. Having informational interviews
with alumni from your college, colleagues, friends or family is a fun way to get
the scoop on different fields.
4. Don't stick to
possibilities you already know about.
Stretch your perception of what
might work for you. Read some job profiles and explore career fields you learn
about from self-assessment exercises.
let money be the deciding factor.
There's not enough money in the
world to make you happy if your job doesn't suit you. Workplace dissatisfaction
and stress is the number-one health problem for working adults. This is
particularly true for career changers, who often earn less until they get their
sea legs in a different field.
6. Don't keep your
dissatisfaction to yourself or try to make the switch alone.
the time to talk to people (probably not your boss just yet). Friends, family
and colleagues need to know what's going on so they can help you tap into those
90-plus percent of jobs that aren't advertised until somebody has them all sewn
7. Don't go back to school to get retreaded
unless you've done some test drives in the new field.
You're never too
old for an internship, a volunteer experience or trying your hand at a contract
assignment in a new field. There are lots of ways to get experience that won't
cost you anything except your time. A new degree may or may not make the world
sit up and take notice. Be very sure where you want to go before you put
yourself through the pain and debt of another degree program.
8. Be careful when using placement agencies or search
Do some research to be sure to find a good match. Ask those who
work in the field you're trying to get into or other successful career changers
for suggestions. Try to find a firm that knows how to be creative when placing
career changers -- not one that solely focuses on moving people up the ladder in
the same field.
9. Don't go to a career counsellor
or a career transitions agency expecting they can tell you which field to
Career advisors are facilitators, and they'll follow your lead.
They can help ferret out your long-buried dreams and talents, but you'll have to
do the research and the decision making by yourself. Anyone who promises to tell
you what to do is dangerous.
10. Don't expect to
A thorough career change usually will take a minimum
of six months to pull off, and the time frequently stretches to a year or more.
Changing fields is one of the most invigorating things you can do. It's like
experiencing youth all over again, except with the wisdom of whatever age you