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4 Career Change Mistakes to Avoid

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In a Cpl survey at the end of last year over 70% of employees stated they’d like to change job in 2020. While an American study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites 12 as the average number of times people switch jobs in a lifetime.

As the world of work evolves and AI and technology shift roles and responsibilities further, it’s realistic to this figure will only increase as we progress into the 2020’s. Upskilling is now the norm and upcoming generations are putting a greater focus on meaningful work than ever before. A job is no longer just a job.

Luckily there are plenty of options, and if you’re unhappy in one career it is possible to upskill and change career completely. We often see this internally in Cpl. Many of our people have switched roles within the Cpl Group, from recruitment to graphic design, or from tech recruitment to executive search and research. We also often hire people who come from a non-recruitment background but have the passion to switch career into recruitment. (If you’re interested in a recruitment career you can chat to our internal recruiter Jenn.)

It isn’t always, but it is possible and worthwhile if you’re truly unhappy in your current career. To get you on the right path we’ve collected some common mistakes people make when they’re unhappy in a job. Avoid these, do the right research and planning and you’ll be one step closer to the career you want.

4 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Changing Career

1. Taking a “leap”

If possible get some experience in the area you want to move into before quitting your current job. Or if your resources are limited, talk to someone who works in the field you’d like to move into.

Before I accepted my college place in Communication Studies, I spoke to a journalist family friend which was much more insightful than googling the college course or “taking a leap.”

Try and keep motivated in your current career too. You might need the reference in the future, plus you don’t know how long your career change might take.

Research the length of time it could take to fully change careers and what the cost will be. Will you have to go back to university? Are there courses you can do online or part-time? Will you have to do an internship? What is a junior salary like compared to your current salary?

If you have no savings quitting and changing career right now mightn’t be the best option.

2. Keeping your plans to yourself

Don’t be embarrassed about wanting a fresh start. Tell your friends and family what you’re thinking and ask around to see if anyone you know has done something similar. Ask them about education or upskilling options or if they have advice on how to get an “in”.

A fresh perspective can be insightful, especially if you’re stressed in your current job and aren’t thinking clearly. Try and go beyond your core group if possible too. You never know who might know someone who could help you avoid a career change mistake.

3. Leaving a career, when it’s the job that’s the problem

Before you decide to retrain or start your career again ask yourself if it’s your job you dislike or your career in general. If you like the area you work in and have the skills to succeed but hate the culture of the company you’re in or the people you work with, then a new job could be a better alternative to a career change.

For example, if you work in Advertising and have grown to dislike agency work, explore opportunities in-house or freelance (over 80% of those who work in Sales & Marketing who we surveyed would like to switch career in the future.)

4. Thinking it’s too late

In the past, people were more likely to stay in one career – whether they enjoyed it or not. Many studies put this down to generational differences. Older generations are more likely to power on through with a difficult situation, whereas millennials and younger generations tend to seek out meaningful work and a job with purpose.

With that said, whether you are 25 or 55, it’s never too late to change career – if you need some inspiration take a look at Jonathan’s career change story on our Youtube channel. In fact, 2/3rds of Irish people believe it’s never too late to make a career move.

No matter what job you’re in or what age you are changing career isn’t easy. Ascertain your goals for the future, if they don’t align with your current career do as much research on new options as possible.

Ready to explore job options? We have 100’s of live jobs across almost every sector. See what job opportunities are out there.

This article was originally published in 2018 and has since been updated and republished.