There are a select group of people who know what they want from a young age and work hard into getting into those careers that they want. Then there are those who take time before they find a suitable career either because they studied the relevant courses in college or through trial and error.

Whichever way you found yourself in the career you are in now, sometimes there comes a time when you feel the need for a change. The reason for the desire to change careers varies for every person. For some, it’s because their priorities and passions have changed, for others it is the pursuit of higher salaries, while other people change careers purely for new challenges and adventure. Some people also change careers to access more job opportunities.

Whatever you reason is, avoid these common mistakes career changers make if you want a smooth transition.

Mistaking job change for career change

It is important to know the difference between a job change and career change. A job change involves leaving your employer for another but staying in the same field. If you are a human resource professional and you are changing jobs then you will more or less end up in the same capacity with your new employer. A career changer, on the other hand, is moving from one professional field to a totally new one. For example, moving for human resource into marketing.

So be sure that it is your career you want to change – not your job. If you don’t like you job then perhaps you should first consider changing jobs before taking the drastic decision of changing your career. If you are passionate about what you do but don’t like your work environment or your salary or your boss then you simply need to change jobs. You might find yourself miserable in a new career.

Lacking a financial plan

The worst mistake you can make when changing careers is not having some money to take you through the transition phase. It is unlikely that a new career will match your earnings in your previous job. Chances are you will need to start at an entry-level position and with a lower salary. You don’t expect your new employer to match your Dermatologist Salary when you are moving from medicine into public relations.

It is therefore important to have a financial plan to cover your living expenses during this period.

Not having a clear vision

Some people quit their jobs without having a clear vision of what they want to do and where they want to go. It is essential that you have a clear idea of which field you want to venture into and the skillset needed there. Knowing what you want will make the transition smooth and easy and may even land you a good role. Especially as some jobs require vet checks and biometric health screenings, you really have to be committed if you want to change career. Studies and training go into it too. It’s not just something you can do on a whim.

Quitting without a plan

It is easier to get another job when you already have one because you can leverage on your professional and business network. Leaving your current role without another already lined up in your destination career will leave you penniless, jobless and frustrated.

You’d rather job hunt for opportunities you want to go while still holding on to your current position. If you work for a big company, you can talk to the HR to have you transferred to the department you want and launch your career from there.