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Top Ten Things Career Changers Should Never Do

Top Ten Things Career Changers Should Never Do

Barbara Reinhold | Monster Contributing Writer

Changing careers is never easy. Half the world thinks you’ve lost your mind, headhunters say you’ll never work again and your relatives contribute the old “I told you so” routine. But for many burned-out, bored or multitalented folks who are sitting on skills they’re not getting a chance to use, changing fields is the only way to keep from losing their marbles.

Regardless of your career-change strategy, never make these 10 mistakes:

1. Don’t Look for a Job in Another Field Without Some Intense Introspection

Nothing is worse than leaping before you look. Make sure you’re not escaping to a field that fits you just as poorly as your last. Be sure you do a thorough self-assessment first.

2. Don’t Look for Hot Fields Unless They’re a Good Fit for You

You wouldn’t try to squeeze into your skinny cousin’s suit, so why try a field because it works for him?

People who are trying to help you will come along and do the equivalent of whispering “plastics” in your ear. Instead of jumping at their suggestions, take time to consider your options. Decide what you really want to do. When you enter a field just because it’s hot, burnout isn’t far behind.

3. Don’t Go into a Field Because Your Friend Is Doing Well in It

Get thorough information about the fields you’re considering by networking, reading and doing online research. Having informational interviews with alumni from your college, colleagues, friends or family is a fun way to get the scoop on different fields.

4. Don’t Stick to Possibilities You Already Know About

Stretch your perception of what might work for you. Read some job profiles, and explore career fields you learn about from self-assessment exercises.

5. Don’t Let Money Be the Deciding Factor

There’s not enough money in the world to make you happy if your job doesn’t suit you. Workplace dissatisfaction and stress is the number-one health problem for working adults. This is particularly true for career changers, who often earn less until they get their sea legs in a different field.


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  • Coz_jane_on_beach_2_max50

    GoodAt_It_08

    over 5 years ago

    32 comments

    To S Bates: I have a suggestion on matching experience to course work: do a "portfolio of prior learning." This is what I did when I finished college. The university advertised that one could use life experience for credit. I did the process, and here it is in a nutshell:

    You take one aspect of your job experience, and match it to a course description of any college in the country. Once you make that match, contact the school or instructor to obtain a course syllabus. Use the syllabus as a guide match your experience with the requirements of that particular class. I had to take a class called "Portfolio Development," which obviously taught how to do it. It was detailed work, but I got 11 credit hours out of the 13 my portfolio requested.

    The document name for each course/experience match is called a "competency." A competency can be based on skill or essay. For example, I did a competency on Typing 1 and another on "Women's Studies." The basis of the Typing 1 competency was a speed test certified by someone at work. The competency on "Women's Studies" was based on an essay based on several books I'd read.

    The credits for experience match the credits one would earn for taking each of those classes. You do a competency for each class and add up the credits. I went to college and did my portfolio in Ohio. The portfolios were then submitted to the Board of Regents. The Board reviewed the competencies and determined the number of credits for each. Apparently, I was pretty close.

    Call a local college that advertises the "experience for college credit" aspect. They will know this process, and you can take a course there. Try it, you've got nothing to lose. Good luck!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    SBates

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I would like all the info anyone can offer on changing careers. After 30 years I retired as an Admin. Asst. I like the position, however, during the 30 years I did a little of everything you could think of for a mechanical contractor...even if it didn't go along with my job title. I got "burnt out" on a lot and I am considering HR work. That is the one area I liked the most that was associated will all jobs I've had. But now most require a degree for HR. How can I let a future employer know that I already know more than someone with a degree because of my past experience?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    pebcle

    almost 6 years ago

    38 comments

    It's that much worse when you get a degree (graduated Magna cum laude) in a field that is misrepresented (salaries & working conditions) & employment in your dream job (loved the laboratory work & continuous education in biochemistry) only to discover that nearly every job in the veterinary field is overload & understaff w/chronic ridicule toward staff. This is a WARNING because today's publicity states that veterinary assistance is a HOT prospect .

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    tabriz03

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    This was an excellent article, especially since I am in the process of changing careers at the age of 40.

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