7 Barriers To Career Switching And Epic Hacks To Tackle Them

Manavi Agarwal

Last Updated: February 23, 2024
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If you’ve been daydreaming about a career change, you’re not alone. In the constantly shifting job landscape, the craving for something fresh is undeniable. According to McKinsey, the forecast is buzzing with anticipation: Generative AI is poised to ignite a whopping 12 million occupational makeovers by the year 2030. As if that wasn’t enough, the pandemic and the rollercoaster of economic and political mayhem have thrown us into a whirlwind of self-reflection. But why do many find the leap to a new career so challenging, even when the yearning for change is strong? Let’s dive into the seven common barriers and discover straightforward ways to overcome them.

What Are Some Barriers To Switching A Career?

Not Knowing What To Do Next

Not Knowing What To Do Next

Feeling like you’re standing at the crossroads of your career, scratching your head and muttering, “Now what?” You’re not alone. The top hurdle for many eyeing a career change is the overwhelming fog of not knowing where to begin. It’s like staring at a gigantic puzzle without a clue where to place the first piece. But fret not, because this puzzle has a solution.

The key? Start small. Think of it as dipping your toes in the water before diving headfirst. Experiment with online classes, take on temporary projects, or volunteer in your area of interest. The more you engage, the clearer the picture becomes. Action breeds clarity, and suddenly, that seemingly massive elephant (or career change) becomes a series of manageable bites.

Remember, not having a crystal-clear career objective doesn’t make you deficient. It’s okay not to have all the answers from the get-go. Embrace the journey of discovery and let the path reveal itself one step at a time.

Limited Mindsets Due To Fear

The fear of the unknown, that nagging concern about making enough money, or the dreaded thought of being labelled a loser can be career-change kryptonite. It’s like having a mental roadblock, and overcoming it is easier said than done. But guess what? You’re not alone in this either.

The first step? Recognise that you are your biggest barrier. Acknowledge the fear, face it, and then kick it to the curb. It’s time to break free from the cycle of self-blame and cultivate the courage to explore new possibilities actively.

Research suggests that inaction can dent your self-confidence, creating a vicious circle. So, how do you escape this mindset trap? Simple – take action. Do something, anything, that’s different from your usual routine. Attend a workshop, volunteer, or try your hand at freelance work. These actions disrupt the cycle, boost your confidence, and propel you towards a more fearless mindset.

Networking Jitters

Networking – the word alone can send shivers down many spines. The thought of reaching out to people, especially when you’re not entirely sure about your career story, can be downright daunting. But here’s the deal – it’s time to break out of your networking comfort zone.

Start by embracing the idea of “weak ties.” These are not your BFFs but rather those distant acquaintances who might hold the keys to unexpected opportunities. Research even shows that these relatively distant connections play a pivotal role in job mobility. So, dust off that LinkedIn profile, send those connection requests, and remember – it gets easier with practice.

Worried about not having a clear story or fearing you’ll fumble important contacts? The only way to overcome these networking jitters is to dive in. Reach out, even if you don’t have all the answers yet. You’ll be surprised at the doors that open when you take that bold step.

Financial Constraints

Stress due to Financial Constraints

Ah, the age-old concern – can I afford to make a career change? Financial constraints are like the spectre looming over the career-change horizon. For those supporting families or managing financial responsibilities, it’s a real and valid concern. But here’s the twist – often, these constraints are more mental than financial.

How do you tackle this? Test the waters. Dip your toes into the realms of your desired career without risking your financial security. Experimentation is key. Take on side projects, explore freelance opportunities, or find ways to explore your passion while keeping the financial boat steady.

Remember the high-profile business journalist who dreamt of being a book author? She tested the waters and found not only was she capable, but she also discovered that writing full-time wasn’t her cup of tea. Testing the waters not only dispels financial worries but also provides a real-world glimpse into your potential future.

Lacking The Right Skills

Identifying transferable skills? Check. Knowing their importance? Check. Yet, here you are, stuck with the nagging worry of lacking specific skills crucial for your desired career change. It’s like having the golden ticket but realising it’s missing a crucial detail.

How do you bridge this gap? Upskill. Enrol in online courses, attend workshops, or engage in part-time education. The demand for certain skills is soaring, and the good news is that you don’t necessarily need a full-time degree to acquire them. Platforms like Coursera report enrollment numbers skyrocketing, with millions seeking to bolster their skill sets.

Worried about being perceived as overqualified or feeling anxious about having an outdated knowledge base? It’s a valid concern, but the solution lies in continuous learning. Stay abreast of industry trends, understand how new technologies impact your desired field, and showcase your commitment to staying relevant in an ever-evolving job market.

Strategies For Success: What Helps

Expand Your Network

Expand Your Network

You’ve heard it a million times – it’s not about what you know; it’s about who you know. Networks are the unsung heroes of career changes, offering a treasure trove of ideas, leads, and referrals. But here’s the kicker – your network needs a makeover.

Embrace the power of weak ties – those distant connections that might just hold the key to your next big move. It’s not as daunting as it sounds. The more you practise, the easier networking becomes. Connect with Mentoria, your networking ally, to access a pool of career mentors ready to guide you through the labyrinth of change.

Acquiring New Knowledge

The world is evolving, and so should your skills. Acquiring new knowledge and skills is not just a box to tick; it’s your golden ticket to a successful career change. The demand for certain skills is through the roof, and the good news is you don’t need a time machine to acquire them.

Platforms like Mentoria offer tailored upskilling journeys based on your career aspirations. Stay ahead of the curve, explore new possibilities, and make your skill set a magnet for opportunities. It’s not just about surviving; it’s about thriving in the dynamic job market.

Experiment Boldly

Feeling stuck? The antidote is experimentation. Take on temporary assignments, engage in freelance work, or jump into projects aligned with your interests. The key is to break the habit of inertia. Don’t overthink it – just do something different.

Online classes, conferences, volunteer work – these actions create “habit discontinuity,” putting you in touch with new people and ideas. It’s not just about overcoming mindset and networking barriers; it’s about discovering untapped potential. The more you experiment, the clearer your path becomes.

Dive Into Research

Research may not sound as thrilling as the latest Netflix series, but when it comes to career change, it’s your script to success. Identify companies or roles that resonate with you. Use platforms to gain insights into various career paths. It’s not about endless Google searches; it’s about transforming ambiguity into tangible possibilities.

The “20 beautiful companies” exercise. It might not hand you a golden ticket, but it nudges you into action and unveils useful insights. Dive into the Nasdaq list, explore industries that spark your interest, and shift your thinking from “all the places I can’t go” to a world of boundless possibilities.

Reflect On Your Journey

Pause for a moment and reflect. Taking time for self-reflection, guided by mentors and career counsellors, is your secret weapon. It’s not about staring at a blank wall; it’s about building self-trust and confidence.

While introspection alone may not provide a clear next step, pairing it with experimentation creates a powerful combination. Discover unfamiliar possibilities, build new skills, and muster the self-confidence needed to navigate the challenging in-between period that defines transitions.

The Journey To A Rewarding Career Change

The rollercoaster of career change is undoubtedly challenging, but the thrill of the ride is well worth the effort. The employment landscape is shifting, and there’s no going back to the way things were. Embrace the journey, experiment boldly, and unlock the door to a career that brings both meaning and fulfilment. Your adventure awaits – are you ready to seize it?

Ready to embark on a career change journey? Mentoria’s personalised career guidance can be your compass. Mentoria’s career guidance programme enables you to choose your perfect fit from 3 streams, 850+ courses, and 12,000+ careers, and discover what will bring out the best in you.

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