Biggest Barriers To Successful Career Changes
1. Social MediaFor all the talk about how social media can help you network your way to a new job, the real truth is: It can also hold you back from one. About 3 out of 4 hiring managers admit to doing a search on a candidate before interviewing them. Of those who do, more than 50 percent say that they opted not to have the person in for an interview based on what they found. Like it or not, hiring IS discrimination. Thanks to social media, the discrimination now happens even earlier in the recruitment process.
2. Specialists-Only MentalityCompanies no longer feel that they have the time or money to invest in developing employees' skill sets. Moreover, with the unemployment rate still over 8 percent, they still see it as a 'buyers' market' for talent. Therefore, they only look for "specialists" who can hit the ground running on Day One of the job. If you aren't a "bilingual widget producer, with the ability to work with 72 types of proprietary widget software packages," you're considered a generalist and not eligible for hire.
3. You're Either Over- Or UndereducatedWith all the discussions around whether a college degree is worth the paper it's printed on, here's what we know for sure: Degrees are still used as a way to determine eligibility. Don't have one, and you can't apply. Have too many, and you won't be considered. Today, degrees are considered easy enough to acquire, making it the new high school diploma. At the same time, amassing degrees doesn't hold the respect it did because too many people have multiple degrees. In short, where a degree used to be a differentiator, now it's an eliminator.
4. You're Choice ChallengedFifty years ago, your career options were usually pretty limited. But fast-forward to today and the career choices are endless. It's like going to an ice cream parlor that has 52 flavors. The line is out the door, but not because it's good ice cream, it just takes forever to pick a flavor! The same thing applies to careers. While you are debating whether to stay in the same career or jump into a new one, time passes. You become overwhelmed by the pros and cons of each career path. You can't help but contemplate what will happen if you pick one over another. And before you know it, it seems like too much effort to course-correct your career. At the end of the day, after all those ice cream choices, you stick with vanilla.
Even though changing careers today is harder because of the reasons above, it's not impossible. Ask any successful career changer and they'll tell you that once they got committed to the change, the rest fell into place. While there is no "career fairy" ready to make your career change dreams come true, there is the opportunity to use your focus and effort to make a career change happen. Especially, when you know millions of others won't bother!
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J.T. O'Donnell is a career and workplace expert who founded the top-ranked career advice site, CAREEREALISM.com. In 2009, she launched CareerHMO, the first on-line career care membership site which specializes in curing chronic career pain.
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