4 Common Mistakes Career Changers Make and How to Avoid Them

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In case you haven’t noticed, there’s an increasing number of people changing careers. Last year, Americans switched careers at the fastest rate in a decade; according to an analysis of U.S. Census data by St. Louis Federal Reserve Economist David Wiczer. And if you spend any time watching business-based reality shows, such as Project Runway, Shark Tank orThe Pitch, you’ll quickly realize many of the cast members have one thing in common—they’ve also switched careers. But take note, while many people say change is good, there are a few common mistakes that people make when taking a leap into uncharted waters.

Check out the 4 common mistakes and how to avoid them.

[Related: Switching Careers? 5 Tips for Reinventing Your Personal Brand]

Not creating a career strategy and action plan – Making a successful transition from one career to another is not an overnight process. You’ll need to create a career roadmap that identifies where you are now, where you want to be in the future and the best strategies for successfully transitioning into  your new career. Your plan should also identify the tools and processes, as well as the mindset you’ll need to develop to make it all happen. Does your new career align with your values, strengths, and interest? Will you take a pay cut? How will you separate yourself from the competition? What tools can you use to tell your story? Which networks do you need to tap into? Who are the industry insiders or influencers you can connect with? What about health & retirement benefits? If your income increases or decreases, what are the tax implications? To close any gaps, create a 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month action plan.

Your plan should also include SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, and timely) goals, and key action steps such as enrolling in courses to develop the skills and experiences you need for your new career, creating a monthly budget for an irregular income, and navigating potential roadblocks.

Career Changers

Not finding a mentor or support network – Whether you’re making the switch from employee to entrepreneur, or from one career to another, you can’t do it alone.

So I can’t say enough about making the time to build authentic relationships with a mentor, sponsor or support network, such as Score.org, which can help keep you accountable and provide you with the tools and resources needed to thrive in your new career.

Related:#SquadGoals: 5 Types of Mentors Everyone Needs to Succeed

Not  promoting your transferable skills – Sure, your old work title or role may be a thing of the past, but your transferable skills may be the key to setting yourself apart from the competition. Transferable skills are the competencies that can be applied across a variety of roles. This includes soft, technical, and analytic skills. How will you package and market your transferable skills on your resume, social profiles or portfolio?

Not conducting thorough research on your desired career – Before switching careers, do as much research as possible. Set up a few informational interviews with people in your desired industry. Attend industry- related events. Read articles and scroll through online industry forums to gain some insight from professionals currently working in the field. Do you need a professional license or degree? Does your new employer cover continuing education courses? What are the day-to-day challenges of people currently working in the industry? What about work-life balance? These things are typically not included in a job description, so learning about the nuances beforehand can help you make a well-informed decision.

Are you ready to make a major career change? Are you feeling stuck in the wrong career but you’re unsure about how to make the transition into a new career? Well, in 2012 I quit my corporate job for a life on my own terms. Since then I’ve helped many other career changers successfully launch new ventures. Check out my consulting packages or simply shoot me an email hello@kandiajohnson.com, even if it’s just to say ‘Hey!’

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