Changing your career could potentially be the best thing for your professional life — or the worst! So often, people get carried away by an impressive salary hike or a fancy job title only to discover it entails crazy work hours, an overly demanding boss or a toxic work culture.
Because not everybody gets multiple chances or glorious new opportunities, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully. If you’re at a major career crossroad, here are a few mistakes you should avoid when embarking on a new journey.
Getting burnt with ‘hot industries’
Remember the dot-com crash? At the time everyone wanted a piece of the tech bubble, until stocks sunk, companies shut down and people lost their jobs.
Sure, the internet went on to transform the world we know, but sometimes the hype can be exaggerated.
Switching your career to jump on the ‘new industry’ bandwagon may seem like the opportunity of a lifetime at first glance, but may also just be hot air. Although we all take risks when we change our jobs, you need to ensure you are ready to take these risks.
No achievements under your belt
Learning a few additional skills should be a given in every position. Leaving your job without any new experiences seems incomplete. Try to remember what your goals and ambitions were when you started your current job. Have you actually achieved them? If not, you should think twice about leaving the company.
Before heading back into the job market, you should ensure that you are ready to face the competition. A common question that recruiters ask are around the things you have learned and achieved in your previous job. If you don’t have a suitable answer, the hiring manager might wonder why you have left your job – and what you can actually contribute to the new company.
While considering a change in career, many people fail to see the variety of jobs they might actually qualify for. Expand your search (and horizon) into industries that are outside your area of expertise. With just a little bit of homework, you could actually uncover your dream job in an industry you never even heard of.
The knowledge and experience you have gathered in your old job are not only relevant in one particular field. There are many lucrative industries that would embrace your capabilities, but you just haven’t encountered them yet.
No justifiable reason to change
Are you someone who considers a job change every time you run into trouble? Ask yourself if you are really sick of the job or if it’s just a bump in the road.
Never quit your job out of frustration – especially if you haven’t lined up any other opportunities. Besides facing difficult questions about why you quit your industry during your next job interview, it also isn’t very professional to jump ship so often.
Get the timing right
Go out there and do some networking before you sign yourself up for a new career. While the economy might be doing well, your prospective industry could be lagging behind. Knowing what you are up against will help you make an informed decision and can potentially prevent you from a disaster – financially and professionally.
Scope out your new industry. Talk to people who have been in the trenches, find out what they are worrying about, and what they think about the future. You have to remember that even though you are qualified for the job, you might not be able to change the industry in your favour.
Don’t get talked into
Headhunters and recruiters are constantly fishing for highly qualified personnel – especially for industries that aren’t doing so well. While the initial prospect can seem appealing, you shouldn’t let someone else talk you into making such an important decision.
On the other hand, you shouldn’t wait for the phone to ring. Your dream job will not come knocking on your door. If you want to make a change, you need to work for it.