Updated: April 2021
Changing careers can be grueling. In addition to figuring out where you fit, you also have to convince others that you can make the change. This leads to loss in confidence, decreased self-worth, and lack of motivation in addition to other setbacks. But there is hope! In this blog post, we will identify your biggest challenge and share tips for overcoming it.
Some of the Most Common Challenges for Career Changers
Much of the work I do is with clients who are hoping to make a career change. Shifting gears from one industry or role, to a totally new one, is one of the main challenges for a career changers. This is especially true if the career changer has been in one industry or role for a long time and can’t necessarily envision how to connect the old path to the new. Or perhaps they have accumulated a long list of skills over the years, but aren’t sure how or where these skills fit. Likewise, there are career changers who have been out of the workforce for a long time due to family reasons. In addition to making the industry change, career re-entry can also add another element of anxiety to the job search.
The Biggest Challenge to Making a Career Change: Self-Sabatoge
No matter what your career change situation is, the biggest challenge of making the change is not being able to envision the end goal. As a result of not being able to envision one’s goal, the career changer then starts to believe they will never achieve their goal. It’s this lack of vision that creates the greatest obstacle in the career-changer job search. But it doesn’t stop here (and this is why it’s so dangerous). Once the career changer stops believing they will achieve their goal, they then start to allow that belief to manifest itself in their language. I see and hear it all the time in my clients. My clients can’t hear it because they are usually so deep in the pain. But I can hear it. There’s a certain language that makes this obvious to me when people indicate that they don’t believe they can achieve their goal. They say things like:
“I want to do this new job but I’m not qualified…”
“I just don’t see how I could be a fit for that thing I want to do…”
“I have done what they are asking for in the job description but..”
When I hear this kind of language coming from career changers, I know we have a mindset problem on our hands.
How Negative Self Talk & Negative Thoughts Can Hurt You
If you are changing careers the first thing I would recommend is this: BEWARE of this kind of language. It will cause you more hurt than harm. I too have been in moments in my life where I haven’t felt entirely qualified. I too have been in a state of job search hopelessness. But I’ve learned that the minute you start letting your mind spill over to your language, it’s a slippery slope to recovery!
Most of my clients are more than capable of reaching their goals even if they never spent a day in their target job. However they self-sabotage with “I can’t,” or subtle “buts.” This is probably the most dangerous pitfall in the job search because it sabotages your belief in yourself. This then translates to others’ belief in you and your abilities. And if there’s one thing interviewers can smell a mile away, it’s a hefty does of low self-confidence. If this is the vibe you’re sending interviewers, there’s no way they will want to take a chance on you. So you have to nip the negativity in the bud!
Try This Career Changer Mantra to Manage Your Negative Thoughts
We will always have a reason to talk ourselves out of achieving our goals but there’s one quote by Henry Ford that always helps me get back on the path to positivity:
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
Take a moment and let this quote sink in. Do you think you can? Or do you think you can’t? Which best describes your current situation? If you are gravitating towards the latter, then it’s time to hit pause on your job search. You need a mental positivity boost before you can move forward with the right mindset!
The Remedy for Self-Sabotage
Confidence and belief in yourself, are the remedy and they are also totally achievable for career changers. In fact, if you’re ever going to get out of a tough job search, this has to be the first area to tweak.The remedy needed to correct the self-sabotage will depend on how far down the path you’ve gone. For example if you are just starting down the path to negativity, the damage will be minimal. Some simple mental exercises around positivity will do the trick. However if you’ve already traveled quite far down the path of self-sabotage, then you will need a little more support. You may even find that the only way out is by recruiting the help of a trained Career Coach.
For Mild Cases of Self-Sabotage and Negativity, Flex Your Positivity Muscle
Choosing positivity daily can help combat the negativity in your mind. Start by writing down the quote above and paste it to your bathroom mirror. Read the quote aloud every time you see it. Look at yourself and say, “I can.” Start to tell yourself you can because that’s the only way you will be able to convince others of the same. Recruit an accountability buddy to call you out whenever you say “I can’t.” This will help you catch yourself before you enter the danger zone.
For Severe Cases of Self-Sabotage and Negativity Hire an Expert
If you are experiencing a severe case of negativity and hopelessness, you may benefit from working with an expert career coach. There are many reasons why people hire career coaches. For cases of negative mindset, a career coach can help to build you back up. A career coach will be able to spot your strongest transferable skills to help with a career pivot. They will also be able to boost you up by being a positivity checkpoint each week.
“I had been thinking for some time about a career shift but did not know where to begin. I discovered NG Career Strategy, and they helped me discover my true self. Together with my writer, I built a powerful resume, insightful cover letter, and eye catching LinkedIn profile. My resume writer taught me strategies to build my brand and stand out from the competition. When I finally applied for my first job, I received an interview request in 4 minutes! I cannot thank NG Career Strategy for the transformative experience and would enthusiastically recommend them to anyone needing help with their career.” – Anand, Medical Industry & The Works Client | NG Career Strategy
When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going Next, Do This
Part of the challenge with career changing is not knowing where you want to go next with your career. That’s okay. It’s not always super straightforward. However, you want to start finding clarity as a way to build your confidence. If you can start to see jobs where you’ll fit, you will start to formulate the vision for your end goal. This is HUGE! Many career changers need help finding total clarity for their next move. If this is you, Clarity Coaching can make a big difference in the confidence-building process. A Clarity Coach uses assessments and exercises to help you discover the jobs that align with your interests, values, passions, and skills. If Clarity Coaching is something you may need, sign up for a FREE 20-Minute Clarity Consult with an expert.
Renew Your Self-Confidence by Seeing & Believing in Your Brand
If you can see it, you can believe it. This is ever so true when it comes to career changers. Oftentimes the career changer can’t see him or herself in the new role because they literally can’t see it on paper. I find that many career changer resumes are a complete mess of information so it’s no wonder they can’t see a fit! The remedy for this is strategic branding starting with the LinkedIn profile. I find that LinkedIn is a great visual for professionals trying to publicly put themselves out there on a new career path. And then once they can see the LinkedIn profile fully branded to perfection, they can more confidently create a strong resume brand. It may sound pretty basic, but it is powerful indeed. A new, more focused brand, makes a world of difference and increases confidence significantly.
If you’re hoping to improve your career change job search and land a job in record time, check out the Job Search Accelerator. In this budget-friendly job landing community you’ll have access to all of Noelle’s expert resources including a FREE resume review, optimized resume and cover letter templates, networking scripts and templates, LinkedIn optimization courses, interview answer scripts and more – everything you need to feel confident, navigate the job search successfully, and put your best foot forward as an applicant.