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Changing careers is one of the biggest decisions job-seekers face. Before you take a leap into a new career field, consider these common career change mistakes, so that you can avoid doing the same.

1. Making a career change without a plan. The biggest mistake anyone can make is attempting to switch careers without a plan. A successful career change can often take months to accomplish even when you have a strategy. Without one, you could end up at loose ends for an even longer period of time.

2. Changing careers because you hate your job. Don't make the mistake of confusing hating your current job with hating your current career. Take the time out to analyze if it's the job/employer/boss that you hate, or whether it's the career/skills/work that you dislike. The same goes with if you are feeling bored or lost with your job. Review the position. It's best not to leave your job until you have a plan for finding a new career.

3. Making a career change solely based on money/benefits. Certain career fields are very alluring because of the salary and other benefits they offer. Always remember money won't buy you happiness.

4. Changing careers because of pressure. Don't let your parents, significant others or anyone else influence your career choice. If you love what you do, then stick to it.

5. Making a career change without refreshing your network. After having identified the career field you want to switch to, begin developing new network contacts. Ask a lot of informative questions. People in your network can provide inside information about job-openings and can even champion you to hiring managers. Networking is essential for all career-changers.

6. Changing careers without examining all the possibilities. Don't jump career fields without first conducting thorough research into all the possibilities, including career fields you may never have considered. By conducting research into careers you have never considered or been exposed to, you may find the career of your dreams. Talk to people, read career and job profiles, meet with a career management professional. This will help in making a successful career change.

7. Making a career change without assessment of likes/dislikes. Self-assessment of your skills, values, and interest is a critical component to career-change success. Prepare a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, so that you can find the best career for you.

8. Changing careers based on the success of others. Just because your best friend or neighbour is successful in a certain career does not mean that you will be. Make sure to evaluate your decision before jumping into it.

9. Making a career change without necessary experience/education. As a career-changer, you must find a way to bridge the gap between your old career and your new one. Research whether you need additional training or education.

10. Changing careers without updating job-search skills/techniques. If it's been a while since you were last on the job market, take the time to polish your job-search skills, techniques, and tools. Review your resume-writing techniques, master networking, and polish your interviewing skills.

With a lot of resources at your fingertips, there is no excuse for you making any of the above career change mistakes. But if you do make one of them, step back and see if there's a way to fix it. Always remember a career should not control you; you should control your career.
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