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Top Career Change Mistakes. The 5 Minute Career Coach May 2011
May 01, 2011

Helping Career Changers Around The World

May 2011


Welcome to the May 2011 edition of The 5 Minute Career Coach.

What's in this Issue

Union JackYes, I watched The Wedding on Friday – did you watch it too? I didn’t spend all day glued to the telly, but I did dip in and out to catch the key moments. And you know what? I really enjoyed seeing something unashamedly positive.

It saddens me that there are people who will take every opportunity to knock something instead of just being able to share in and enjoy a communal celebration. OK, Prince Willliam and Kate Middleton – or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as they have become - are a very privileged couple, but being resentful of that serves no useful purpose.

That is the key underlying issue at stake here. What purpose are your everyday thoughts serving? If you allow too many negative thoughts to occupy your mind, does it benefit you or harm you? I would suggest the latter.

So I challenge you to just choose to see the positive in everything and everyone for the next few days. I guarantee you will feel better for it.

With best wishes

Top Three Career Change Mistakes

I was listening to a webinar recently given by Nicola Cairncross and she was talking about the key mistakes that small business owners make. Well, there are many mistakes of course, but in her experience of working with 100s of small business owners, she reckons it can be narrowed down to three things:

  1. Mental attitude

  2. Marketing strategies

  3. Focus

It struck me that for career changers, these same three issues are the most likely things to get in the way and they can lead to a failed attempt to break out of a boring and frustrating job.

So why is that?

Let's take a look at each one in turn.

Mental attitude
I expect you have all heard the Henry Ford quote "Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you are probably right." There is a lot of truth in it.

This is why I always suggest that career changers start by taking stock of their attitude to change and their beliefs about their own ability to succeed. This can be the make or break of a successful career change, so it is important to face up to it right at the outset.

What is your attitude to change? Do you welcome it and see it as an exciting challenge and an opportunity to grow? Or do you do your utmost to avoid it because you prefer to stick with what is comfortable and familiar?

And what do you think about your own ability to take on a challenge and win through? Have you overcome challenges in the past? Or do you tend to avoid them because you don't believe you have the capacity to win through?

What are your expectations regarding the success of your career change venture? If you build your career change/business on a foundation of doubt you will be creating problems from the outset.

This might seem to be more of a business issue than a matter for career changers, but there are some very direct parallels.

If you are trying to break into a new field of work, you will need to market what you have to offer to potential employers. And the underlying secret to successful marketing is having an in depth knowledge of both the product and the audience you are pitching to.

So this is where you must focus your attention. How well do you know yourself? What are the key skills, qualities and attributes you have to offer? Any career change journey starts by going inwards. You need to be crystal clear about who you are and what aspects of your skills and experience you want to promote to a future employer.

Then you need to research the new field you want to enter so you can be sure you know what they want and you can present yourself in a way that will make sure you look like a good prospect.

So plenty of homework needed before you get the marketing step right.

When you are setting up a new business there are many different issues to attend to. What will you call your business, who will your core market be, have you got a website, how will you advertise, what financial records do you need to keep, what will the tax man need to know etc.. It is very easy to get into overwhelm.

It is the same for career changers. You too have many balls to juggle. Finding the time to review your experience to date and to explore what new direction you wish to take; researching the many opportunities available; weighing up the pros and cons of each idea; facing up to the challenges a change of direction will present; dealing with your own fears and uncertainties.

This scattering of focus is why many attempts to escape the corporate cage grind to a halt.

To get focused, just look at one issue at a time and the best place to start is with the journey inwards to ask the 'Who Am I?' question. You'll find lots of help with that on the How To Change Careers website.

So make sure you keep these three words as your career change motto - Attitude, Marketing and Focus. If you get these right, the rest will follow.

Something To Think About

'Ordinary things consistently done produce extraordinary results'
~ Keith Cunningham ~

Cherry Recommends

Be Happy
Robert Holden

If you are looking for a new career, the chances are that the underlying reason for wanting a change is simply that you want to be happy. And yet seeking happiness doesn't always get good reviews. It is seen as superficial and self serving.

Well, this great book by Robert Holden will change your mind on that once and for all. Based on his 8 week Happiness Course, Robert takes you through 50 principles and exercises to radically change a negative thought patterns to a positive mindset. You will create a happiness contract to undo mental and emotional blocks to happiness, accept the past cannot be changed and focus on being happy now.

I have heard Robert speak with great insight, compassion and humour on this topic - he really knows his stuff!

Just click here to pop over to Amazon and get the book now.

More recommendations
If you would like to see more recommendations for books and similar resources, follow the link to the Career Change Books page of the How To Change Careers website. Do keep popping back to it as I am adding to it all the time.

And if there are books, websites and other resources that have inspired you and that you would like to recommend, there is a place for you to do so on that page.

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