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5 Career-Change Mistakes to Avoid

Aha Moment: The right industry for you is one that aligns with your skills and experience, and in which you can bring value.

Considering a career change after logging lots of miles in one industry?

It can be a scary time to shift gears, especially if you’ve established momentum in your field.

But if you long to feel more useful, need a challenge or want to seize the day, you can make the transition a smooth one.

Here are five mistakes to avoid if you’re facing a career change.

1.Don’t try to fit your career piece into the wrong puzzle

Don’t be tempted to jump ship to another field just because it’s “hot.” If your skillset doesn’t translate into the field, it’ll be like trying to wear size-too-small skinny jeans.

It just won’t work.

And perhaps worse, after the initial honeymoon phase is over, burnout will follow because it’s not your passion or best-fit.

The right industry for you is one that aligns with your skills and experience, and in which you can bring value.

Start building your career with actionable guidance from my free ebook. Click here to download now!

2. Widen your net

Before you dive into networking and applying to jobs in fields you know about, talk to your connections. You’ll need insights into other industries from people who have in-depth knowledge about it.

Keep in mind that what you know may not be enough to judge whether your skills are a right fit. Taking self-assessments and reading job profiles can help broaden your understanding, too.

3. Don’t follow the money

It’s a bad idea to choose a career-change path solely based on salary. Sure, the possibility of a great income is tempting, but it’s not a sustainable factor that will keep you happy and satisfied well into the future.

In fact, you may earn less than you are now if you pursue a career-change in a different field, so you’re better off securing your foundation in a job that will bring satisfaction, rather than based on immediate income potential.

4. Don’t go it alone

If you’re dissatisfied in your job, talk to someone that you can trust about it. While you won’t want to divulge your feelings to a colleague or boss, use your circle of friends and connections to get advice.

It may be that you can figure out how to make changes within your existing field, or your mentors can help you tap into a job that will satisfy your needs.

5. Be patient

Often, changing careers takes time. Realize that it probably won’t happen overnight.

The best course of action to take is to plan for the change. A six- to twelve-month career-change plan will help you carefully chart your direction and the steps it will take to get there.

Changing your career is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, steps you can take. Be prepared for the obstacles, however, and get advice along the way.

If you’d like expert help figuring out where you fit best, get in touch with Kaplan for a free career coaching consultation! Or check out our Leadership Institute’s online course, The 10 Ks of Personal Branding.