A man facing away with Times Square in the background how to make a career change

How to Make a Career Change: A Guide to Making a Career Change at Any Age

Career burnout is common across all industries and can be caused by a variety of different reasons. Once you have decided that your current career is no longer for you, how do you switch careers with no experience? 

Making such a dramatic career change can seem a little daunting. In this article, we talk about how to make a career change, how to find a new career direction that is right for you, and the first steps towards landing that new dream job.

When Should I Change Careers?

There are many signs that might mean it is time to change careers. One of the most common reasons to change jobs is financial necessity. Low wages often drive people to seek other professions, but job satisfaction and emotional wellbeing are just as important.  In 2019, a Forbes report said that more than 50 percent of US workers are unhappy with their jobs.

If you do not feel motivated or satisfied by your current work environment, perhaps the solution requires more than just switching companies or job titles. Changing your career field might be what you need to feel inspired again.

Ten Tips for a Successful Career Change

Changing career field can be a long process, depending on how dramatic of a change you are trying to make. In the list below, you will see 10 tips for making a successful transition. Keep in mind that it might be beneficial to seek support from professionals if you need more advice.

Evaluate your Current Situation

Before making a drastic decision, evaluate your current career. You should analyze the benefits of your current trajectory, your position, your salary, and the skills you have gained. Changing jobs requires a complete assessment of your situation and your bigger goals and needs.

Talk to HR

Keep in mind that your dissatisfaction with your current role might be something you can fix. It may be good to speak with a human resources manager for strategies on how to tackle specific issues with your role or workplace. 

Analyze your Professional Skills

Make a note of your transferable skills before you start looking at jobs. Potential employers often hire candidates who don’t have direct experience if they can demonstrate transferable skills. For example, a Spanish teacher might become a translator. Write a list of your strengths and skills, and think about some alternative ways they can be helpful.

Consider the Advantages of a New Professional Career

Each new job will come with new advantages and disadvantages. You will want to take the time to consider what these might mean for you, and how they may affect your life. Consider a few possible new careers, look at average salaries, education requirements, and job growth opportunities. 

Take Your Time 

Rash actions are rarely an ingredient for good decisions. Take a breath, relax, and organize your ideas before giving up your current role. You will want to have a good savings plan, an idea of what to do next, and an impressive resume ready for a promising future.

Consult Career Change Websites

Career change websites will give you access to advice and opinions from other people in similar situations. You may find free career aptitude tests to help with your research. Reading about the experience of other career changers can also help you manage your expectations and make better decisions.

Hire a Career Coach

Career coaching is a professional service that helps people visualize and seek out better job opportunities. With these experts, you will get personalized advice, increase your choices, and receive training in writing CVs and interviewing.

Study

Many career changes won’t require you to gain a new degree but, if you want a drastic change, you might need to invest in your education. Training and certification can be important parts of your professional profile for some fields. 

Assume the Adaptation Process

The process of changing careers can be difficult and may affect aspects of your life you’re not expecting, especially if it is a completely different field. It’s not easy to work alongside entry-level employees after graduation, especially if you previously worked in executive roles. You will need to be prepared for how this career transition will feel.

Look for Entry-Level Jobs

One you have decided on potential new career paths, check job postings at relevant companies or send in a speculative CV. Many companies value life experience and welcome candidates who can bring a different perspective to the role.

Can You Make a Career Change with No Experience?

Starting a new career with no experience is more common than you think. Many people go through this process every year, and there are resources available to help you. If your current role is weighing you down, don’t hesitate to look for a different path.

Experience can be a key factor in finding success in a new career path. If you don’t currently have the skills you need for your new dream job, invest in some additional educational training or work experience to help prepare yourself to make the change.

How to Learn New Skills for a Career Change

One of the most important steps in changing careers is acquiring new skills required to take on different job roles. Thanks to technology, you can now learn new skills in less time and for less money. Nowadays many people learn through bootcamps and online learning rather than through traditional college or university education.

Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are institutions that offer courses on technology. Programs typically last between 12 and 24 weeks, and can be online or in person. Tuition for the bootcamps varies, but is usually around $13,000. The best coding bootcamps include career services. Popular courses specialize in things like software development, data science, cyber security, and UX design.

Online Courses

Online courses can be a great ally in your search. You can find thousands of programs on the internet for all kinds of subjects. They are often self-paced and far cheaper than traditional education paths. 

Community College

If you want to invest in more traditional education, you might want to look at community colleges. In just two years, you can obtain an associate degree that will help you increase your chances of finding a job. The education of these institutes can be just as comprehensive as at a university, but tuition is much cheaper.

When Is It Too Late to Make a Career Change?

Man in a grey suit walking and using a cellphone with a building in the background how to make a career change
More than half of US workers feel dissatisfied with their current job.

It’s never too late to make a career change, although you may find it easier at certain stages of your life. The best age to switch depends on many factors. People between 18-30 years old often find it easier to afford to undertake the periods of training and study that might be required.

People over 50 can find the process more difficult, especially if they are facing a more drastic change, however that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Whatever your age, job title, or current job duties, you can achieve a new career if you plan carefully.

Career Change FAQ


Is it difficult to change careers?

How difficult it is to change careers depends on things like how drastic the change is, your educational level, and your current situation. If you are a young graduate, the change will be easier. If you have other commitments like a family, and don’t currently have the required education level, it may be a longer journey.


Is it expensive to make a career change?

If you want to make a complete career change, you might have to invest in first-level education and pay for things like career coaching or certificate programs. However, if you’re changing to a sector that’s closely related to your current job, it will be considerably cheaper.


Can I change my career when I am 40 years old or older?

It is never too late to make this decision. Usually, the older you are, the more complicated the process will be, but if you think changing careers will improve your satisfaction or production levels, it’s time to seek professional support and get started.


Is it necessary to change careers?

If you are really unhappy in your current career, it’s usually a good idea to switch careers. Your satisfaction and goals are the most important things to consider. However, it’s a personal process that requires you to evaluate all factors carefully. It may be there are some easier changes you can make to increase your overall job satisfaction.

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