A career change is not as simple as looking for a new job. It means entering an industry that is different from the one you’re currently in. The idea of trying a different field can be exciting as it will allow you to explore new opportunities and discover your full potential. However, it can also be frightening and overwhelming—what if you get into the wrong path? What if you can’t handle the change?
Needless to say, changing careers is not a small feat. When not done carefully and thoughtfully, you may end up regretting your decision.
If you’re bent on jumping into a new career, make sure that you don’t do these 10 mistakes.
1. Letting money dictate your decision
No matter how lucrative the compensation package is, you might end up feeling unhappy after a while when you accept a job offer that doesn’t suit you. When you simply follow the money and disregard other important factors, you may find yourself longing for the satisfaction that comes from something else, such as career growth and purpose. It’s absolutely fine to wish for a higher income. However, a total career change isn’t always the solution if you’re only looking for bigger pay.
2. Choosing a different career path because you’re unhappy in your current job
Some employees who are no longer happy with their jobs falsely think that it is the very nature of their job that makes them unhappy. On the contrary, it may be the work environment that’s making them dissatisfied. Sit down and think about this: is the kind of job or industry really to blame or the environment? Who knows, you may find a new opportunity within the same industry that has what you’re looking for in an ideal job.
3. Entering a new field because your friend or someone you know seems to do well in it
Just because something works for someone you know doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you, too. You might think that if your friend can do it, so can you. Sure, you may have the determination to learn something new, but it’s not wise to assume you can do something without trying it first and by simply observing from the outside.
4. Trying a “hot” field without knowing if it’s a good fit for you
Some industries are booming nowadays and some of them might pay better than the one you’re currently in. However, entering an industry just because it’s “hot” may set you up for a burnout later on.
5. Letting external factors affect your decision
It’s fine to shift careers as long as the decision comes from within yourself. If you’re doing the career change just because someone convinced you to do so, you may find yourself longing for purpose once the hype wears down.
6. Not consulting or talking to someone about your career change plans
Shifting to a new industry is a big decision. It’s easy to decide impulsively when you’re excited about the new opportunities in front of you. Consider talking to someone close to you about your plans. It’s similar to therapy—when you talk to somebody, you might be able to dissect your thoughts better, leading to a more sound decision.
7. Not preparing for the transition emotionally, mentally, and financially
There’s no guarantee that your career change journey will be smooth and easy. It might take a while before you find an opportunity—and get hired for a position—that suits you best. You must be prepared to go through the process. More importantly, you should have a financial cushion while you’re still waiting to get hired.
8. Using placement agencies or employment search firms without researching first
Not all placement agencies are created the same. There are companies that specialize in specific industries. Some agencies work on behalf of the companies looking to hire, while some focus on really helping jobseekers. Learn as much as you can about an agency before deciding to work with one. Try to find out whether they have a history of successfully assisting career changers.
9. Expecting to experience success overnight
Let’s face it—changing careers means that from being an experienced professional, you become a newbie once more. Employers typically prefer candidates who have experience related to their industry. So, you can expect that your job hunt will take longer. If you don’t want to be disappointed, don’t expect otherwise.
10. Jumping into a new career without self-reflection
Possibly the biggest mistake you can do as you decide to change careers is to rush into it without thinking it over thoroughly. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Weigh the pros and cons of shifting careers. Search deep within yourself—why are you considering this in the first place? Why do you want to leave your current job and industry? If you skip this step, you might end up feeling unsatisfied again because you failed to address certain issues.
The Bottom Line
As long as you set your expectations straight and take your time researching and deciding, a career change can prove to be rewarding. When you evaluate your skills and goals well and ensure that they are aligned with the industry or opportunity that you’re looking to get into, you will eventually reap the benefits of your decision.