Career changing is the new norm in the workforce, and many people will change careers at least once during their lives. Whatever the reason for your change, you need to plan for success.
Career changers can make mistakes that hold back their dreams of a better career. Here are five mistakes to avoid when you’re planning a career change.
1. Changing Careers Because You Don’t Like Your Job
Do you hate your career, or do you just dislike your current job? It’s important to make the distinction before you plan a career change. Some people think a career and a job are the same thing, but they’re not. Your career refers to your long-term progress through a certain field. Your job is your current position at work.
Determine whether it’s your career or your job that you don’t like. If you hate your boss or coworkers, but like performing your job duties, you may just need to find a new job. On the other hand, if you hate your job duties and type of work, a career change may be in order.
2. Not Assessing Your Fit for New Careers
If you’ve come to hate your current career, you don’t want the same thing to happen in your new career. Career changers who jump into new fields without assessing fit can end up in this situation. Before you make a change, think carefully about what types of careers would be a good fit for your personality, skills, and interests.
Career aptitude tests can help you find a new career. These tests help you learn more about your preferences and can suggest careers you hadn’t thought about. Remember, these tests are just a starting point to give you ideas of careers that might fit you.
3. Not Having a Career Plan
A new career is a big decision, and career changers need to plan for success. If you don’t set goals and plan your career path, you might not get where you want to go. Before you move into a new career, create a career plan to serve as your roadmap.
A career plan should lay out both your short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals refer to the things you want to accomplish in the next year or so and could include going back to school for your new career. Long-term goals are further in the future, such as where you want to be five or ten years down the road.
4. Not Thinking about the Job Market
Following your career passion doesn’t always pay the bills. When you have a family to support, you can’t risk working in a field with low salaries or high unemployment. Before you switch careers, research the job market in your new field. Career changers can use the Government of Canada’s Job Bank website to research the employment outlook for their chosen careers.
If salaries are very low, or if the employment outlook is poor, you might want to consider other options. Ideally, you’ll be able to find a career that interests you but also has good employment prospects.
5. Changing Careers without Updating Your Skills
Some of your current skills might be relevant for your future career. For example, soft skills like time management, leadership, or communication can serve you well in any field. However, they probably won’t be enough to get you a job in a brand-new field. Some careers require specific skills and experience that you won’t have from your current career.
To update your skills, you might need to go back to school. To see if this is the case, look at job postings in your new career field. See what education requirements employers in your new field have. If employers require a post-graduate diploma or other training, you’ll need to enroll in school before you can change careers.