7 Steps to Avoid Making a Wrong Career Change

by Matthew Schmidt

Career Change

Some people don't really know what it is they want with their careers. They may define what they want for the wrong reasons. The result is they do not define a clear purpose and cannot set clear goals. They do not reach the next level in their career because of a lack of clarity.

People will change careers for many reasons. One of the biggest is because they are not satisfied with their current situation and will take anything else. Anything. But when they make the jump, where they land may not be any better.

There are two ways to start on making a successful career change for the right reasons. One is focus. Your mind attracts to you that which is the center of your focus. If your focus is on what you don't want you will get that which you focus on.

The second is to be specific. It is extremely important to be specific about what you want as well. It is not enough to say you want a higher salary. You must be specific about the amount of more money you want.

Once these two factors are in place follow these steps to switch to a career you will love.

Know Exactly What You Want

It is one thing to be specific but you need to know exactly what you are seeking. You must know every detail and for what reason. Do you want more status, more prestige or raise your standard of living? Review your skills and most significant achievements and see what you can do with this to launch you to the next level.

Have a Time Frame

Time can be a detriment for those who want to change careers. Combined with a lack of focus and specific criteria, your efforts to change careers do not produce results. As time goes on frustration sets in and you may think it is futile. Have a time frame with an end date in mind. Do tasks every day to help make it a reality. It also forces you to take action knowing there is a set amount of time to work with.

Change Must Be Measurable

Conducting a career change without measurable goals means you really may not know your exact progress. You should start out with a series of smaller achievable goals. Success with these smaller goals builds your confidence towards achieving a larger goal. It gives you something to assess your success. Start off by saying you want three interviews a week. Increase this as you proceed. Win the small battles to eventually win the war.

Write Out Goals

In the movie Rocky IV, Apollo Creed is killed by Ivan Drago in an exhibition fight. Rocky trains to get revenge on Ivan. During his training he keeps a picture of Drago on his mirror as a sort of beacon for what he was training for and what his goal was.

Obviously you will not be training for a boxing match but writing your goals down is a constant reminder of what you want. This can change as you reach goals and create new ones or find a change in direction.  Writing them down gives something tangible you can relate and refer to.

Get a Human Sounding Board

Everyone has a different view or opinion on situations and circumstances. This is because everyone has had different experiences in life that has helped to shape our perspectives. If you are trying to handle a career change on your own, this can work against you. We tend to put on blinders when assessing our careers as it has the one dimensional view an individual puts on it.

Find someone who can help you provide an outside perspective on your career progression. It could be a coach, a peer, a friend, or a family member. Getting input from someone else gives a perspective from a different angle and helps to brainstorm ideas and strategies.

Evaluate Your Progress

There may be times when you question if you are making headway in a career transition. For example, you may not have received the number of responses to your resume as you thought. Keep track as you progress to see if there are areas that are lacking and need improvement.

Embrace Adversity

In his book The School of Greatness, Lewis Howes encourages readers to learn to love adversity. This means to work hard, push yourself and feel a little discomfort if it means helping you reach your goals. Change is not easy but it is what you need to change to the career you want.

Focus on success for any career change. It is often a work in progress and may not come swiftly. By understanding what the end goal is and taking small steps to reach it, any career transition will be a success.

Matt Schmidt is a certified career coach and resume writer. He specializes in writing resumes and LinkedIn profiles for sales and marketing professionals.

Editor's Notes: For insights on how to write your resume and cover letter to position yourself for a career change, see this article: Resume and Cover Letter Tips for a Career Change.

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