Starting Off on the Wrong Foot: Five Career Change Blunders and How to Fix Them: Part II

Last month, we explored career change mistakes and how to fix them.  In the conclusion of our blog post on career change mistakes, we’ll look at the value of doing your homework, updating your resume, and more.

6. Not Doing Your Homework

Once you’ve committed to making the change, you jump in with both feet. You apply for every job available, but are surprised when you don’t receive any calls. Why isn’t your new industry welcoming you with open arms?

The reason could be that you didn’t stop to do your homework on your new field. What’s a reasonable position you might be able to acquire with your experience? What salary range should you expect? In what ways should you beef up your resume, and what skills should you acquire? Taking action is great, but having a smart plan first will ensure your action yields results.

The way out of the blunder: Where you do look for information on your new career? Try the Onet, http://www.onetonline.org, professional association websites, or even a Google search.

Offline, meet with people in your network, research companies that interest you (and learn about their employees), and meet with a career coach. Any of these resources may open your eyes to a career you had never even considered.

resume7. Attempting to make the change without updated job-search skills, techniques, and marketing materials (a.k.a. your resume)

If it has been a while since you were last on the job market, things will have changed since the last time you interviewed, especially resume format and interview style. Neglecting to familiarize yourself with today’s job market may leave you unprepared for an encounter with a prospective employer.

The way out of the blunder: Take the time to bring yourself up-to-date by polishing your job-search skills, techniques, and go-to-market materials. Meet with a career coach who will be familiar with current requirements and trends in the job market. Research trends in résumé writing and LinkedIn and update your own accordingly.

To make a career change, you must highlight skills in your resume and on LinkedIn that fit the requirements of your target role and industry. You have to make it easy for a potential hiring manager to see how your experience can be used in their open position.

Let’s use the example of a corporate lawyer who wants to move to sales in legal publishing. His reinvention resume would focus on the competencies relevant to sales roles, rather than industry-specific legal skills. Here are a few sample competencies:

  • Communication, that is, listening skills and the ability to convey ideas succinctly
  • Managing relationships with clients, vendors, and consultants
  • Speaking in front of groups

Recruiters and hiring managers often go to LinkedIn first to learn about candidates. So, make sure you have a strong online brand that highlights your value proposition and that creates excitement about you as a person.

 8. Ditching Your Passion for the Dollar Signs

 Exploring certain fields because of the salary and other benefits associated with them can be tempting, but ideally, this should not be the primary reason for selecting a new career path.  Remember, money cannot buy happiness, no matter how much your new career might pay. A bigger paycheck may seem enticing, but if you don’t enjoy your work, you’ll eventually burn out, leaving you to make yet another career change.

The way out of the blunder: If you are happy in your current career but aren’t making enough money to pay the bills, consider switching jobs within your field. You may be able to find a related position that meets your financial requirements. If you need an overall career change, start by determining which career paths will make you happiest and then consider the money.

9. Skipping Networking Events

You know the old saying, “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” Well, if you’re entering a new industry, you probably don’t know anyone. So, before throwing in the towel on your job search because you’re not getting any bites on your resume, look into attending industry-specific events.

The way out of the blunder: Go to a professional association’s networking event, join an industry-specific Meetup group, or conduct informational interviews with the “natives” (people already working in field where you want to be). People in your new network can provide inside information about job openings and may even recommend you to hiring managers.

10. Waiting for the perfect time to change careers

Guess what? There isn’t one. Only you can take charge of your situation, so start one step at a time. Changing careers is a long process, so the sooner you start, the sooner you will be enjoying your dream job.

Stop waiting for the right moment or opportunity, and take action. Do research, look at job listings, set goals, and seek the advice of professionals. Once you get the ball rolling, each bit of progress will give you confidence to tackle the next step in your career transition.

To get more tips for your career reinvention, download our ebook

 

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