Have you decided to make a significant career change in 2017? If so, you should be prepared for an uphill battle. Choosing (and starting in) a new career can be frustrating and difficult.
However, when done correctly, it can also be a rewarding experience that will change the way you think, feel, and function. Eight women outlined their feelings on career change in a recent article in The Cut. After reading their stories, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect during your journey.
With that being said, you need to know what career change mistakes to avoid at all costs – ensuring a smoother transition. Here are six to consider.
Diving In – Rather Than Stepping
When we jump into a career too quickly, we fail to look before we land. You don’t want to choose a career simply because it’s popular at the moment – or because you saw one aspect that you liked. Changing careers is about research, exploration, and experience. Initial steps should include speaking with other women in the field. Get a feel for their workload, responsibilities, and job satisfaction levels. You should also think about what expertise you already have that will apply to the new career; then, update your resume accordingly. Show your savvy by creating a website for yourself. Post your resume there (if doing so won’t affect your current job), blog about matters related to your chosen career, and link to your social media accounts. These are all great ways to get your feet wet as you explore the job market and learn more about potential employers in your career of choice.
Choosing a Career With Friends
You were probably taught this lesson in high school – but you should never choose a career simply because your friends have chosen it. You might have company, but this only eliminates the important networking aspect of starting a new career. If you have a falling out with your friends, your network can disappear. If you aren’t happy with the career, you could end up staying for the wrong reasons.
This doesn’t mean you should never work with your friends. However, you need to be sure about your intentions first. Do you belong in this career path – or are you simply jumping on the bandwagon?
Refusing to Expand Your Horizons
You can’t stick solely to things you already know how to do. Consider looking into careers that have nothing to do with your experiences. You might come across something that, with a little training, could be the perfect fit.
Focusing on Income
According to Cracked, there are at least four benefits of your job that are more important than the money. Most happily employed women will tell you that focusing on income during the career choice process will only lead to frustration and further unhappiness. Don’t make the same mistakes you made the first time around. Choose a career that will make you happy and fulfilled. The money comes second.
Going Back to School First
It might seem logical to choose a career after going back to school. However, this is perhaps the most severe mistake you can make when changing careers. Paying for an education before you have experience could land you in serious (and pointless) debt. What if you don’t like the job? You could end up right back where you started. Try an internship or job shadow before you consider earning a degree. You should also speak with a career counselor about your options.
Blindly Trusting Your Career Counselor
Even though speaking with a career counselor is a wonderful idea, you should never blindly trust the advice of your career counselor. He / she is there to encourage you and help you make informed decisions. Don’t allow yourself to be pushed in one direction. If your counselor insists on the same career more than once, without giving you in-depth information or options, you should consider finding a new counselor altogether. No one knows you better than you know yourself.
Changing careers is a huge step in your life – and in your future. This isn’t a decision you should make quickly, lightly, or alone. These success stories from The Muse should help you remember what you’re fighting for.
Have fun and good luck!
About the Author: Gloria Martinez runs WomenLed.org, which celebrates women’s achievements in the workplace and beyond. She believes that while women have made many advancements toward “shattering the glass ceiling,” there is still much to be done. It is her aim to help increase the number of women-led businesses by educating others about the topic.