Changing career may be the best thing you ever do – or it could turn out to be a big disappointment. Here, four careers experts reveal the biggest mistakes people make when overhauling their working lives, and give their top tips for getting it right.
Is it really your career you need to change?
“If you are really desperately unhappy in your job, people sometimes throw the baby out with the bathwater,” says Ros Toynbee, director of The Career Coach. Analyse exactly why you’re so keen on revamping your career before you press ahead – is it really just your current position that’s dragging you down?
“It might be that you’ve got a horrible manager who has undermined your confidence in your ability to do your job,” suggests Corinne Mills, managing director of Personal Career Management. “In which case, don’t embark on a career change as a knee-jerk reaction.”
Start from the right place
Career changers often come up with answers before asking themselves the most important questions, says Jo Orgill, The Clarity Coach.
“They start with solutions, like ‘I’d love to be a graphic designer’, rather than going back a stage and considering what that career would really give them,” she says.
“Many people begin by looking at their CV and education,” adds Richard Alderson, founder or Careershifters. “They think, ‘This is what I’ve done in the past, therefore this is what I can do in future’ – but their past is what’s got them to where they are now, and that’s what they want to change.”
“Ask yourself: ‘what really makes me tick?'” he says. Begin by looking at yourself as an individual, instead of basing your decisions on how you come across on paper.
Face your fears
It takes determination to retrain and launch yourself into a new profession. According to Alderson, wannabe career changers often hold themselves back by getting caught up on the “four F-words”. These are finances, failure, friends and family.
“If you’re going to make a change, you need to overcome your fears,” he says. “But just being aware of them is a really good starting point.”
Toynbee suggests talking your plans through with somebody neutral such as a coach or trusted mentor. “While friends and family might support you, they are not impartial,” she says.
Orgill says: “People can talk about changing careers for years and never do it. When you commit to somebody else, you are more likely to move forwards.”
Know the job market
If you know what you’re up against and you’re still raring to retrain, ensure you choose a good course, says Toynbee.
“Don’t just think that you can go off and do a qualification and it will get you a job. Not all courses are equal and many don’t lead to jobs. Find out about the course’s employability rate before you apply.”
“You’ve got to be sensible, otherwise you could be setting yourself up for failure.”
Read more at The Guardian.