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10 Common Career Barriers and How to Overcome Them

Are you holding yourself back from your career? We all face obstacles in our career path, but we can overcome them to be successful. Even the most wealthy and successful people have faced career barriers, and probably some pretty big ones at that. No matter if you work in finance, construction, drama, or any other field, we all face similar barriers. Here is how to overcome 10 of the most common career barriers. Career Barrier 1: Lack of Qualifications Are you simply not qualified enough to move up in your career? This can be a tricky place, because earning more degrees or certifications can be expensive ways to improve your qualifications. While going back to school or gaining a certification in your field aren’t bad ways to gain more resume credentials, there are other ways you can appear more qualified without spending thousands of dollars.

How to overcome it: You can enhance your qualifications by taking free classes on Khan Academy to educate yourself on a particular topic or skill necessary for your field. You can also consider starting a side hustle, like a blog, to write about topics based on your career path. This sets you apart and requires you to master your knowledge so you can write about it and teach others. Career Barrier 2: Lack of Experience Many people find that they lack the required experience for jobs in their desired field. This is especially common among millennials who are just entering the workforce. How can you find an entry-level job when they all require at least 3 years of experience?

How to overcome it: Luckily, you can make up for a lack of experience. Join clubs and professional organizations within your field to network with others who might be able to refer you to a new job or mentor you in your career path. Continue to teach yourself new skills that are pertinent to your career. Remember that even though many past jobs might not be exactly in your career field, you can still find common skills required and list those on your resume. And above all, a demonstrated work ethic can make up for many years of experience. Career Barrier 3: Gap in Work History Did you leave a job for a professional or personal reason that left a gap in your work history? Many people have a small gap on their work history, whether they chose to take a break from work due to being released on bad terms, because they were working a draining job, they wanted to venture into business, or maybe they were a stay-at-home parent for a few years. The good news is that you can jump back from a period when you were not working.

How to overcome it: If you have had a gap in your work history, explain why it was. Most potential employers won’t judge a minor break in work history, as long as you explain why you took a break. For anyone who is worried about having a potential future gap in their work history, I highly suggest starting a side hustle now. Having a gap in your work history doesn’t look bad when you were still doing something that could professionally bolster you, like blogging about the field where you work. Career Barrier 4: You Were Fired in the Past A termination can be challenging to overcome emotionally, and can knock you downright financially if you weren’t prepared. You might feel like you cannot ever bounce back from having an involuntary termination on your record. Being fired in the past doesn’t mean that your career options are completely limited in the future. While many companies choose not to hire anyone who was fired, for many others, a termination is not a deal breaker. Many employers understand that individuals get fired for many reasons, and that’s not a cause to write them off completely.

How to overcome it: You can overcome a less-than-ideal termination on your record. For one, don’t hide it. It will show up in a background check, and prospective employers can at least appreciate and value if you were honest from the get-go. Secondly, find a way to spin it positively. During an interview with a potential new company, you can discuss what happened, what you learned, and how you would apply that to a new job. The last tip is to apply broadly. No matter what, you can’t keep the fact that you were fired as a secret forever. Unfortunately, many companies won’t hire anyone who was fired, but on the flip side, many companies will. Applying for many jobs will insure that you raise your chances of finding the employers who understand your situation.

Career Barrier 5: Fear Fear about a career is more common than you might assume. Individuals can be fearful for a variety of reasons. Maybe they live in fear that they will lose their job if economic times get tough, or maybe they do not feel confident in what they know and are fearful to speak up in their workplace. Living in fear holds you back from living and performing at your fullest. How to overcome it: Address your biggest fears head-on and figure out how to save yourself if that fear ever became a reality. For example, if you are afraid of losing your job, how could you lessen the blow of if you ever did? You could start an emergency fund and a side hustle, so you never have to go into debt if you lost a job. Career Barrier 6: Not Knowing What You Want to Do No matter what point people are in their lives, many people still find themselves confused over what they want to do. And that’s okay! Many fields are intertwined, and most people find themselves wondering what life would be like if they had studied and entered in a different field.

How to overcome it: Luckily, there are many cheap ways to discover what you want to do, without having to go back to graduate school. You can take free college classes via Coursera and Khan Academy. Career Barrier 7: Burnout Burnout is a common career problem, but is rarely discussed. Whether someone is just starting out in a career, or has been at the same job for 30 years, burnout can creep up. Burnout can mean different things, depending on how you feel about your career. It can either mean you are doing too much of your job, or you are working in the wrong field.

How to overcome it: Be introspective and consider how you feel about your career so far. Are you just sick of your current job, or are you tired of your career field as a whole? If you are suffering from minor burnout, take time to yourself to recoup, whether that means a vacation, an hour’s break a day, or some other form of separation. If you think you might be burnt out on your career, it’s time to start looking how you can transfer what you have learned into a new field. Career Barrier 8: Impatience Corporate careers do not always move quickly, and if you are a fast moving person, this can quickly become frustrating. If you are exasperated with where you are currently, you can become impatient with your current position. In some cases, individuals can even write off their entire current job as irrelevant to what they really want to do.

How to overcome it: Every step in your career has value, even if you don’t feel like it all the time. Instead of focusing on what frustrates you in your current role, focus on what you can learn. Understand that there is always something to learn in any role. Knowing this, you can emphasize those strengths on your resume to cater it to a future job you might like to have. Career Barrier 9: Following the Money As much as we suggest looking for ways to increase your income, the truth is that not everyone will succeed at a high paying job. This hits close to home for me, as I am from a family of engineers. I knew that, though engineers earn a high salary starting out, that this was not the field for me. While my current field doesn’t typically pay quite as high starting out, I have never been of discontent, because I know I would be an unsuccessful and unhappy engineer.

How to overcome it: Know yourself and, while there is no guarantee of it, you can find success in any field if you are prepared to work hard and face the reality of your field. For example, actors and actresses have to accept many low paying gigs before they land a successful, career-making role. If you are passionate about a field that pays lower, be open to the idea of making extra money on the side. Career Barrier 10: Lack of Direction Maybe you know what you want to do for a career, but you aren’t sure how to get there. This lack of direction can be overwhelming, confusing, and most of all, frustrating. Without a clear direction, your current job might feel irrelevant. You might feel like whatever steps you take now won’t benefit your future. When you don’t know what next step you will take, it can make it emotionally draining to focus on the work at hand.

How to overcome it: While you don’t have to figure out exactly what you want to do in the long-term, decide what some logical next steps might be. No one knows exactly what their future will look like, but by giving yourself even a little direction, you will become more motivated in your current job. Keep in mind, your career aspirations can always change. The point of finding direction isn’t to force yourself to decide what you want to do, but to create a future that gives you options in which you will be able to be successful.

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