Whether you are new to the working world or making a new start, you might be asking yourself, what do I want to be when I grow up? Choosing a career path shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are a lot of careers out there to choose from, and here some tips on what not to do when choosing one, according to Andrew Rosen, in The 6 Worst Ways to Pick a Career.
1. Everyone says you’ll be good at it.
Sure, you got skills. But do you really have what it takes to do them for your whole career? Or do you really want to? Being able to write well is a great skill to have, but is it something you want to do all day, every day, if you choose to be a copywriter, for example?
It might not always be the most realistic, but if possible, only apply for the jobs that you know you want to do. Problem solved.
To get answers to your questions, use LinkedIn and Facebook to contact people in your industry. “Don’t hesitate to contact them and ask whether your skills would translate to the working world. You’ll be amazed at how generous most people are with their time when it comes to talking about career choices,” says Rosen.
Confused about what your skills set is? There are a plethora of tests to help you assess your skills and personality type that can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. A few are the Myers Briggs and Career aptitude tests.
2. Picking a career for perks or pay.
When you choose a job for money, you get what you get paid for … a job. Remember, the pretty wrapping will fade with time, but the actual job duties will be there day after day. Rosen suggests making a list of pros and cons and assigning a percentage of importance to each item. If the perks are worth more than the job itself, it may be time to look elsewhere.
3. Picking a career because it will impress others.
This is a pitfall of both career newbies and career-changers. The grass is always greener. If we are honest, all of us at one point have wanted to say we worked at some super cool place. But, it really goes without saying that making a career decision based on others is not in your best interest.
4. Picking a career as a temporary fix.
Ever taken a job to make ends meet and are still there five years later? Or how many times has someone started a story with, “I studied marketing, but I took this job because I needed money and 20 years later …” Sometimes, thanks to the comfort and perks of a job, it’s easy to get trapped in a career you never intended to be in. Or, it’s easy to take a temporary position as a transition between careers and never leave.
Attend relevant classes, seminars and industry events that will put you in contact with smart and connected people in the sector.
However, what’s easiest is to just get the right position from the start. It might not always be the most realistic, but if possible, only apply for the jobs that you know you want to do. Problem solved.
5. Not networking for a career change.
Those looking to change careers are often doing so for many reasons, including being unhappy in their original choice. So, it’s a good plan to do what you can to get it right this time around.
If you are not leveraging your network for your career change, you are not getting the most out of your efforts. You of course want to use your social networks to your advantage. Connect with the movers and shakers in your industry on LinkedIn. And make sure your online presence is professional, up to date and clean.
However, it is just as important that you network face to face, according to Elizabeth Garone, How to Make a Dramatic Career Change.
“Attend relevant classes, seminars and industry events that will put you in contact with smart and connected people in the sector. Research conferences and events by geography and area of interest on global event sites, such as Eventbrite.com and AllConferences.com,” she writes.