5 Biggest Mistakes Career Changers Make

Read any recent headline and it would seem career change tips are at a premium. Americans are not only dissatisfied with their jobs but are quitting in droves to find better paying and more meaningful jobs. Though many pundits point to the pandemic as the main reason for this shift, they couldn’t be more off the mark. 

Embracing purpose-driven careers has been gaining traction among working professionals for some time. More accurately, people have been frustrated with their jobs for years for a number of reasons—not being paid enough, no room for advancement, poor company culture, boring daily routine, a poor work-life balance and a combination thereof. It is no wonder that more and more people are striving to achieve a more purpose-driven career. 

A quick sampling of pre-pandemic headlines conveys the sense of frustration that professionals have with their current jobs, with an “alarming 70%” of employees surveyed are either completely disengaged on the job or hating what they’re doing. One Gallup poll found that only 15% of people are actually engaged in their work while consulting firm Gartner, Inc., found that only 13% of workers are “largely satisfied” with what they do.  

Importance of a Purpose-Driven Career

The key to improved engagement, performance, and job satisfaction among professionals is a purpose-driven career. When people were asked if they would be willing to earn less money to work for a company that shared their values and goals the overwhelming response was, “Yes.” These were the findings of research published in the Harvard Business Review in November of 2018. In fact, 9 out of 10 employees surveyed replied that they would be “willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work.” This response was uniform no matter the salary groupings of respondents or their age.

Today, more people have discovered the importance of purpose-driven careers, and the sense of fulfillment it brings to their lives and the positive impact it has on the lives of others. Many people want their professional life to add up to more than simply a way to make a living or pass their time—they want their work to be meaningful. Beyond fulfillment of basic financial needs, people are seeking careers that give them a sense of purpose and identity. They want to serve a valuable need, promote the greater good and further society. 

The process of career change can be challenging and intimidating. The career change path that professionals follow can be a different experience for everyone. Developing strategies is important to avoid mistakes too common amongst career changers. 

5 Common Mistakes Career Changers Make

1. Do not mistake changing your job with changing your career. If you are unhappy with your work, changing the location where you do it will not bring fulfillment. If you don’t like the company you’re working for or the people you work with, then a career shift to a different organization may be all you need.

2. Not doing the research before making a career change.

Research of a new career is imperative. The change you’re considering must be viable. Identify what you want to do, the industry that you want to do it in, the actual market for a career in that field, what it takes to make the transition, and the salary you can expect. 

3. Quitting a current job before having another job lined up.

Research has shown that it’s in your best interest to hang in there until the opportunity for career change happens. Gaps in the resume without a valid reason—going back to school, for one—may give pause to a hiring manager.

4. Prematurely going back to school for another degree or training.

This is a common mistake. Many colleges, particularly those that market online classes and long-distance learning, promote the notion that having that advanced degree first will open career change paths for you. It’s only true for a limited number of circumstances, such as nursing. Without researching whether or not you will actually need another degree or certificate before embarking on a new career path is a waste of time and money if that degree or certificate is not necessary for your career change.

5. Underestimating the advantages of networking.

Talking to people who work in the field you are interested in entering will give you insight and let you know what to expect. Begin to reach out to your circle of professional contacts to seek out those people for feedback, chat sessions, or informal interviews to get a feel for the career and the possibility that it may open a door for you.

Benefit of Career Change Counseling

One proven strategy to move forward and avoid these common mistakes is through career change counseling. Professional career change counselors help professionals transition to a new career and achieve their career goals. They help to develop strategies and provide guidance for individuals essential to assure the most ideal outcome. From exploring the history of client work and identifying individual aptitudes, attributes, and interests, to assessing career values and skills, career counseling assists clients to identify and envision a purpose-driven career path. Core Themes has the expertise and experience to guide you to your most rewarding and meaningful career. Contact us today for a free consultation!