10 Challenges That Affect Career Goals and Tips To Overcome Them

Updated February 27, 2023

Many professionals set career goals for themselves, such as positions they want to hold or projects they hope to complete. Understanding some potential challenges that may affect your career goals can help you proactively find ways to minimize or eliminate those obstacles to help you reach your goals. If you're working toward some goals in your career, you may want to learn how you can overcome potential challenges successfully.

In this article, we list 10 challenges that affect career goals, provide tips for overcoming them and offer examples of solutions to these challenges.

10 challenges that affect career goals

Knowing some common career challenges can help you plan for those potential obstacles so you can continue making progress toward your goals. Here are 10 challenges that can affect your career goals with ways to solve them effectively:

1. Lack of qualifications

Lacking the required qualifications for a role, such as educational requirements or skills, is a common challenge that many professionals may face in their careers. If you lack the necessary qualifications for the job you want, there are ways you can work to meet the requirements. Research the criteria for the position to understand the education and skills required for the role. Search for classes you can take or certifications you can earn related to the position. Highlight this training on your resume to show employers your commitment to expanding your skill set.

2. Not enough experience

Many jobs require candidates to have relevant experience for the position. If you have little or no experience, it can be challenging to show employers you have the right qualifications for the job. When applying for jobs with less experience than required, tailor your resume to feature your transferrable skills, such as communication. Show employers how the experience you've gained in another job or industry relates to the new position. If you want to gain experience before applying, complete some side projects on your own. For example, you may start a blog to demonstrate your skills for a copywriting position.

Related: 10 Tips For Applying for a Job With Less Experience Than Required

3. Self-doubt

If you lack faith in your abilities, it can keep you from progressing in your career. For example, some professionals may focus on the skills they lack to reach their goals, rather than the skills they already have. If you experience self-doubt about your career, take some time to identify your strengths and consider how you can use them to achieve your goals. Develop a mantra you can repeat to yourself when you're lacking confidence, such as, "I have many valuable skills." Focusing on your unique skills can help you feel empowered to continue working toward your goals.

Related: 30 Questions To Ask Yourself To Improve Your Self-Confidence

4. Changes in industry

When there are changes in your industry or position, it may affect your professional goals. For example, if your industry becomes more reliant on technology, you may find it difficult to advance in your career if you have limited technical skills. Throughout your career, it's helpful to remain flexible and continue learning to adapt to changes that may occur. Read books and articles about your industry to stay up to date on new trends. Volunteer for new challenges at work to develop or improve your skills. Consider changes to be opportunities for you to continue growing professionally.

5. Questions after promotion

Getting a promotion can be rewarding, but some professionals may also feel unsure about how to be successful in their new roles. After a promotion, you may have questions about how to lead a team, or you may feel uncertain about the next step in your career path. If you have questions after a promotion, it's helpful to find a mentor who can offer advice. Reach out to someone who's held your new position before and ask them how they handled the transition. They can also provide guidance about your career path to help you plan your next goal.

6. Time

Time may feel like a limiting factor when you're working toward your career goals, particularly if you're hoping to transition to a new career. It can be difficult to make time for your goals when you're working in another job. Commit to your goals by scheduling daily or weekly appointments to work toward them. Write these appointments in a planner or digital calendar as a visual reminder to yourself. During that time, stay focused on tasks you can complete to make progress toward your goals. When you make your goals a priority, you're more likely to accomplish them.

7. Fear

Fear can often prevent professionals from working toward their career goals. For example, they may be afraid to change careers or cautious about asking for a promotion. When you feel fearful about your career goals, it's helpful to analyze your fears to determine why you have them. Once you understand the reason for your fear, you can make a plan to manage this emotion. For example, if you're nervous about asking for a promotion, make a list of significant projects you've completed and examples of times you've asked for additional responsibilities to help you prepare your pitch.

8. Financial obligations

There may be financial obligations, such as mortgage payments, rent or bills, that prevent professionals from achieving their career goals. For example, they may refrain from pursuing a job that aligns with their interests because it pays less than their current job. When money becomes a career challenge, it's helpful to create a financial plan to help you balance your goals and your financial obligations. Set financial goals for yourself, such as paying off your student loans before you apply for a new job. A financial plan can help you feel prepared to achieve your career goals.

9. Uncertainty about goals

Some professionals may face challenges in their career because they're uncertain of the goals they want to set for themselves. They may be unsure about the types of jobs that align with their passions or the career options they may have based on their skills and experience. If you're uncertain about your own career goals, do some research to help you learn about different jobs and industries that appeal to you. For example, if you have bookkeeping skills and a desire to work from home, you may research some companies that hire accountants to work remotely.

10. Burnout

Burnout occurs when professionals feel stress related to the work. It may cause them to feel frustrated about their career path or unmotivated to reach their professional goals. If you experience burnout, evaluate the factors that may be causing it. For example, if you're experiencing burnout because you started a new shift at work, realize that it may take time for you to develop a new routine. If you believe there are deeper factors contributing to your burnout, such as dissatisfaction with your industry, begin to think about the relevant skills and experience you can bring to another job.

Related: 8 Causes of Burnout (Including Tips To Manage It)

Tips for overcoming challenges that affect career goals

Here are some tips to help you overcome challenges to your career goals:

Have a career plan

Creating a career plan can help you determine the professional goals you want to achieve and develop a plan to reach them. While developing your career plan, it's helpful to identify any potential challenges that may affect your goals. Being aware of potential challenges in your career can help you determine ways to minimize those obstacles. For example, if your goal is to advance to a higher position within your company but you have limited leadership experience, you may decide to take an online course to help you develop these skills.

Related: How To Make a Career Plan in 8 Steps

Gather information

Researching your career goals can help you understand the path you can take to reach them. Attend jobs or career fairs to help you learn about different jobs that may interest you. Read books or articles to become familiar with the industry you want to work in or the job you want to have. Join a group or professional association to grow your network and speak with other professionals about their own career paths. Gathering this information can help you feel confident about your career goals and manage potential challenges successfully.

Adapt to change

Being flexible to changes can help you continue working toward your professional goals. Throughout your career, your priorities may change and you may want to set new professional goals. Other times, the changes may be outside of your control, such as a company limiting advancement opportunities. Adapting to these changes can help you evaluate your goals and find new ways to reach them. For example, if your industry experiences a decline in employment growth, you may research other industries where you can use your transferrable skills.

Examples of challenges that affect career goals

Here are two examples of challenges that can affect career goals with possible solutions to help you navigate your own career path:

Example 1

Daniella has a goal to become a licensed practical nurse, but she's unable to enter a program to earn her certification until next year. She decides to spend the year gaining relevant skills to help her be successful in her future career. Daniella applies to several medical clinics and gets a job as a medical receptionist. Over the next year, she becomes comfortable interacting with patients and handling medical records. She also learns some medical terminology. When Daniella starts the nursing program, these skills help her in many of her classes.

Example 2

Derrick is an accountant who wants to transition into a new career as a web developer. Although Derrick has many self-taught technical skills, he decides to earn a professional certification in web design to highlight on his resume. He also joins a professional association to grow his professional network and continue learning new skills. After six months, Derrick starts applying for web developer jobs. By personalizing his resume to feature his certification and association membership, he's able to find an entry-level role and make the transition into a new career.

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