Why you're afraid of Career Change (and why you shouldn't be)

Throughout my long career as a recruiter, I've seen the professional landscape change dramatically. Yet, there's one constant: talented people remain trapped in jobs they've outgrown. They dream of a career change, of switching industries or pursuing something more fulfilling, but fear holds them back.

I understand – fear is a powerful thing. But I've also witnessed the transformative power that a well-executed career transition can have on someone's life. So, I'm here to unpack those fears and maybe help you take the leap toward the career you want.

Common Fears When Considering a Career Change

Let’s break down the top reasons people hesitate when it comes to making a career change:

Fear #1: The Great Unknown.

Leaving your current job for a new career in an unfamiliar or new industry can feel downright terrifying. We humans crave stability, and our careers become part of that. The idea of facing new people, new processes, and a new environment can be overwhelming.

Recruiter Reality Check: Your brain likes to exaggerate, creating worst-case scenarios. That's okay, it's how it keeps you safe. But remember, the uncertainty of a new job isn't inherently bad, that's where the opportunity lies for growth and a more positive change.

Fear #2: Starting at Square One.

 You've spent years building your career and becoming an expert in your field. Switching paths puts you back at the bottom of the ladder, a fear for people of any age. This hits our desire to feel competent and valued.

Recruiter Reality Check: Focus on your transferable skills! Communication, problem-solving, and adaptability are valued across industries. Plus, your experience brings maturity and perspective that's invaluable.

Fear #3: Taking a Financial Hit.

Can you afford a salary cut, even if it might be temporary? This is especially scary if you have dependents. The "what ifs" keep us thinking about risk.

Recruiter Reality Check: Risk assessment is smart! Create a budget, explore savings options, and have a plan. Can you take on side hustles or part-time work in your desired field to test the waters financially?

Fear #4: Imposter Syndrome on Steroids.

Imposter Syndrome is that voice inside that says, "You'll never be good enough." It gets worse when you're in an unfamiliar setting.

Recruiter Reality Check: Almost everyone feels this way sometimes! Remind yourself that companies hire based on potential, not just existing expertise.

Fear #5: Tossing Away Your Hard Work.

You've invested years, maybe even decades, in your current career. It can feel like a betrayal to want to make a change and walk away.

Recruiter Reality Check: No experience is ever wasted. Think of this not as abandonment, but as building upon your foundation with new skills and knowledge.

Overcoming Career Change Fear: A Recruiter's Guide

It's not realistic to tell someone "Just don't be afraid". Here's what IS realistic:

  1. Define Your "Why": What's driving your desire for change? Burnout, lack of growth, a toxic workplace...? Understanding your "why" helps you stay motivated during a job search.

  2. Embrace Transferability: List ALL your skills, then research your target field. Where's the overlap? You'll be surprised by your versatility.

  3. Become a Researcher: Mitigate the fear of the unknown with...well, the known! Read industry blogs, job descriptions, anything to familiarize yourself. Network with people in the industry. Knowledge is power.

  4. Small Steps, Big Leaps: You don't have to quit your current job tomorrow. Can you take night courses, volunteer for relevant projects, or find freelance gigs? Dipping your toe in builds both experience and confidence.

  5. Redefine Failure: Successful career changers aren't fearless, they're resilient. Adjust your approach, learn from mistakes, and keep moving forward. It's never too late to make a change.

A Recruiter's Perspective On Potential

I see resumes every day, and those tinged with fear stand out.  It's in the hesitant cover letters, or the career paths that lack clear direction. Yet,  I've also seen the resumes that scream potential.  These candidates have done the work: they've researched their desired field, honed transferable skills, and their enthusiasm is infectious.

Employers crave adaptable people who can learn. Your unique background and skills make you an asset, especially when paired with a willingness to evolve. It doesn't matter your age, it's your drive that counts!

Help is Out There!

If you're looking to make a career change, resources exist to help you make the move. A career coach can guide you through the transition, or tap into online communities for peer support.

I get how scary changing jobs can be – finances, commute, everything changes.  But please consider this:  what's the risk of staying exactly where you are? Of allowing fear to dim your potential and keep you from a career that genuinely excites you?

It's Time to Take Action

If this blog has struck a chord, and you're a professional with experience in Internal Audit, IT Audit, SOX, Risk Management, Data Analytics, or Corporate Governance, I encourage you to take the next step! Send me your updated resume. As a specialized recruiter in these fields, I understand the unique skillsets and career paths within these disciplines.

Why Partner With a Specialised Recruiter?

When considering a career change within these specialised fields, working with a niche recruiter like myself offers distinct advantages. I bring in-depth knowledge of industry standards, in-demand certifications, and the nuances that make an exceptional candidate in these specific areas.

If you're ready to explore exciting new possibilities within the world of Audit, Risk Management, and Corporate Governance, I invite you to contact me for a confidential resume review.  I'm here to help you make a fulfilling career change at any age. Don't hesitate to contact me.

Additional Thoughts and Tips

The Pandemic Shift:  For many, the pandemic sparked a reevaluation of work-life balance and career goals. If you're one of them, that's okay. It's never too late to seek meaningful work.

Networking is KEY:  Talk to people already working in your target industry.  Get insider info through informational interviews and build connections for future opportunities.

Invest in Yourself:  Whether it's courses, a coach, or just books, consider it an investment in a better future career. You're worth it!

It Takes Time: Career changes rarely happen overnight. Be patient with the process, persistent in your search, and celebrate those small wins along the way!

Final Thoughts

Making a career change can seem daunting, but it can also be the best thing you ever do. Remember:

  • You're not alone in feeling this way.
  • You have valuable skills and experience.
  • You're capable of learning new things.
  • There are people who want to help

So, if you're unhappy in your current work, if you've been wanting to make a change or want to switch careers, and you're worried about the risks, that's normal.  But it shouldn't stop you. Take a deep breath, tap into your resilience, and start exploring.  The career you want may be closer than you think!

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