The 10 Biggest Career Change Mistakes

What they are and how to avoid them

10 biggest career change mistakes

The 10 biggest career change mistakes are made by many a hopeful career changer – mainly because they just don’t know what they are. This is not rocket science, but if you become aware of the pitfalls of career change before you begin, you can avoid falling into the holes as you go along!

So what are the 10 biggest career change mistakes?

Read on to find out…

Not doing it!

OK, this might seem like stating the obvious here, but there are many hundreds, no thousands of would-be career changers out there, dreaming their time away, thinking about career change but never actually doing anything about it. It’s simple really. If you do nothing, nothing will change. It’s your move.

Trying to do it too quickly

Changing career is a big decision and deserves to be taken seriously. Don’t rush into it on the basis of a New Year’s resolution. Make your commitment but then sit down and do some serious planning. Map out the stages you need to go through and take it in bite sized chunks.

You will need people helping you as you work through this process because there will be tough days when you feel like giving up. Recruit a small group of positive friends who you know will raise your spirits and encourage you when your motivation is flagging – and turn to them when you need them. Don’t try and go it alone.

Assuming you are too old

Whaddya mean too old? Are you really ready to give up and slide downhill into the grave? Remind yourself of the advantages of your maturity – the skills and experience you have gained. There are many examples of people who have started new ventures in their 50s, 60s and beyond – why not you?

Failing to learn from past mistakes

This is another danger of the ‘more of the same’ kind of career change. Of course it feels safer to do something similar to what you have been doing for the past 2, 5,10 years, but if it is so right for you, why are you looking for a change? Be honest with yourself, even if it means you admitting you got it wrong 20 years ago when you first chose your career (did you really choose it?). Will you persevere with something you hate just to save face? Learn from your past mistakes – better late than never.

Not thinking big enough

If you have been locked in a career for a long time, you may be stuck in the mindset of ‘what else can I do?’ and finding it hard to see yourself as anything else other than a teacher/nurse/accountant etc..  Allow yourself to do some blue sky thinking in the early stages of your career change planning. Start collecting ideas about what you would do if you had a completely free choice. OK, you will come up with some options that are truly impossible, but in each of those could be the germ of a workable idea…

Following others’ advice

Do they really know what is best for you?

Whose life is it anyway – yours or theirs?

By all means listen to ideas from others, but make sure they are the positive and supportive types, not the doubters (who may be secretly jealous that you are showing the courage they don’t have), but in the end YOU have to decide what feels right for you. After all, you are the person who has to live it.

Not taking the time to really get to know yourself

If you know your current job is a bad match for you, how can you hope to choose a new career which will be a better fit, if you do not really understand who you are. What are your core values, what skills do you really enjoy using, what kind of personality do you have and how will that influence your career decisions? Step one of any successful career change is all about getting to know yourself.

Failing to research the opportunities

This is not just about finding out what sectors are recruiting right now, it is also about getting inside information about what possible career areas really involve. Careers books, websites and company recruitment information are helpful but they can still present a superficial picture. Go and talk to people about their jobs. Most people are quite happy to talk to you about their work – you only have to ask.

Letting fear freeze you into inactivity

Of course it is scary, making a big career change. I bet you felt scared when you started your first job too. Any change is going to provoke anxiety and no amount of preparation and planning will take that fear away completely. It is a matter of accepting the fear and just getting on with it anyway. It is when you face the fears and push through them that you grow a bit further into the kind of person you could be. Or will you just stay safe and small?

So which of these 10 biggest career change mistakes are you guilty of? Go on…hands up! You are not alone. All of the 10 biggest career change mistakes are made daily around the world, so relax, you are in good company.What matters now, is that you spot where you have been going wrong and take remedial action – starting now. Click here to find out where to begin.

About the author

Amy Thomas

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