Avoid falling off the corporate ladder with career-changing mistakes

Develop goals, don't change careers out of desperation


DETROIT – In this tight job market, changing your career path is more challenging than ever. No one wants to take the leap into a new profession and realize they've make a huge mistake. NBC News recently compiled a list of some of the most common, and potentially damaging, mistakes you can make when trying to switch your professional path.

One mistake that can hamper your chances for success is being indecisive when it comes to career planning. If you keep switching careers or have no real direction, you are not likely to get very far. You need to develop short and long-term goals that keep you moving forward, and that build on the experience and skills you're already learning.

Another potential career killer: making a change without doing your homework. The old adage "Look before you leap!" is never more appropriate than when you consider changing jobs. While a certain new position may seem exciting or lucrative, you should he sure to research any future limitations or drawbacks that could hurt your upward trajectory down the road.

Avoid changing careers out of desperation. If you're miserable in your current job, be very leery of making a snap change just to escape that miserable job. Experts tell NBC News career changes tend to work best when you are at the top of your game in one profession and want to make a change to further your earning potential or knowledge base.

They also say that making a career changed based strictly on money could end up leading to regrets. Everyone would like to make more money, but make sure you're analyzing the intangible changes that will impact your life. You may have a huge salary, but no time to spend with your family in the new profession. Try to balance the financial aspects and the type of life you're looking to pursue.

If you've already climbed the ladder in your current profession, do what you can to avoid taking an entry level job in your new career. Don't sell yourself short and take a big step back, focus on finding a lateral move. A lateral career move will allow you to maintain your salary and expertise level, while learning a new trade.

So, do your homework, try to avoid these mistakes, and look for ways to build on your current skills and experience. Then, the sky is the limit for your professional success.