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Changing Careers? Avoid These 3 Mistakes

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't attempt to guess at how many careers we'll have in our lifetimes, and for a good reason: the definition of what constitutes a career change is hard to determine. Most of the time, roles evolve, becoming gradually very different over the course of many years. But what about when you're planning on making a real jump to something totally different?

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(Photo Credit: Lee Cannon/Flickr)

That's when you need to do some planning ahead. Before you cut ties with your old career completely, consider the following:

1. Just because it's a "hot job" doesn't mean it's for you.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: just because an occupation is trendy and generating a lot of buzz today doesn't mean that it will be popular tomorrow. Also, being able to find a job in the field won't do you much good if you hate going to work every day.

2. Move slowly.

Natalie Caine, owner of Life in Transition, tells The Wall Street Journal that she often sees clients who move so quickly, they don't stop to think about what they're doing -- and whether or not they've made the right choice.

"The big, big question for embarking on your second career is: Would this give you new meaning in life?" she says.

That's obviously not a question you can answer in a day or a week -- or sometimes, even a year.

3. Work from what you know.

Unless you've been toiling in an industry you absolutely hate, you're going to have some overlap between what you're doing now and what you hope to be doing years from now. Look for the commonalities between your dream job and the one you have now.

Chances are, you already have some transferable skills. Those can be a great foundation for whatever comes next.

Tell Us What You Think

Are you thinking of changing careers? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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