Careers 101: How To Plan For a Career Change

woman working on laptop

According to statistics, the average person goes through multiple career changes within a lifetime. A shift in career focus can be caused by a variety of reasons ranging from lack of job satisfaction to lack of demand in a chosen field. Whatever the reason, venturing into a new career can be stressful. What are job prospects like? Will I like it? Will I be able to afford going back to school?

Switching careers is a life-altering decision, and one that needs to be thought through with care. We have been there and done that, and have compiled this step-by-step checklist to help you make sure you’re on the right track to career bliss.

career change planning

1. Research salaries

So you’ve decided to make the switch and you have a field in mind. What is the average salary in this field? Do salaries start low and accelerate quickly? Or do they start high and cap at a certain point? Once you have an idea of this, think about your current financial situation and how your new salary will fit in. In my case, I was going into a field that I knew would likely require multiple low-paid internships before landing a full-time gig. At the time, I was living with my parents and knew that while not ideal, I could get by for at least a few months on a very low salary.

2. Research career prospects

You may be comfortable with the salary range of your newfound dream career, but what good is it if you can’t find a job? There are many ways to look into career prospects in your new field, the easiest being a quick search on Monster or other career sites. Another great way to get a firsthand look at a new field is to speak to someone in it.

The best way to do this is to tap into your network. If you don’t already know someone in your chosen field, you’ll be shocked by how many of your friends or family members do. Put the feelers out by letting everyone around you know about your new career goal, and I assure you at least one person will be eager to introduce you to their neighbour, uncle, or best friend in the same field. Speaking to someone will not only give you insight into a new field, but will provide you with useful contacts once you graduate and start job hunting. A win win!

Now that you’ve done your research and confirmed you’d like to switch fields, what’s next?

3. Research about your personality

Take into account your personality, talents, values, and interests. Simply sit down with a piece of paper and write down the parts of your life that offer you the most fulfilment, followed by a second piece of paper with everything you actively despise. Remember to challenge all of your assumptions – are you truly who you believe you are?

Read also: What Type of Work do You Prefer

4. Consider Other Factors too

You should think about things other than your personal tastes. What is the current level of demand in this field? Are you willing to take a risk if demand is low or admittance is difficult? What qualifications are needed to work in this field? Will extra education or training be required?
What impact will this selection have on you and others in your life? Seek input from friends, coworkers, and family members. Consider the probable results and challenges associated with each of your final alternatives.

5. Don’t allow your fear of changing careers overwhelm you.

The most effective technique to overcome fear is to take action, no matter how tiny. Once you’ve identified your larger goal, divide it into smaller, more doable tasks. Then create a plan with action items and deadlines to hold you accountable. Clarifying the specifics of what you want to experience in a new employment will help you concentrate your efforts.

6. Get your financial ducks in a row

If you’re going back to school, how much will it cost? Start earmarking money for school as soon as possible, and create a budget for the year. Do you have rent and house expenses to consider? Student loan payments? Will you need to take on additional loans? Can you afford to take on additional loans?

Spending will need to be curbed significantly in the short run, as you will be taking the double hit of losing a regular stream of income and paying for tuition. Ouch.

7. Get a part-time job

A great way to minimize the income hit is to take on a part-time job. This may mean heading back to the world of retail and hospitality where many of us spent the bulk of our high school years, but have fun with it! A few extra hundred can make a world of difference when it comes to spending and saving during your school year. When I decided to head back to school, I knew I needed to take on a part-time job to continue paying down student loans and not assuming new ones, and it made a huge difference as I not only earned regular income during school, but continued working weekends during my internships to help increase my income.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do people change careers often?

People are changing occupations more often than ever before, switching from one field to another. Work-life balance, flexible schedule, and a favorable culture are among the most common reasons individuals wish to change occupations. The most typical reason for a job move is a pay raise. Changing occupations is not always the greatest strategy to increase your compensation.

Another typical cause is job unhappiness. Professionals frequently shift occupations in order to achieve a greater degree of job satisfaction.
A middle manager, for example, may seek for a higher-level position in an industry where their expertise and skills might be beneficial to an upper-management role. Another example is feeling stuck in their present job with little opportunities to progress within the same industry.

The next reason many people leave their jobs is because of a bad boss or manager. During my study, I discovered that managers are still one of the top three reasons why individuals leave their employment. Because a management job is typically a step up the company’s ladder and any employee can be promoted regardless of skill level, many firms make the error of promoting the wrong people to managerial roles. Many firms have supervisors that do not provide feedback or coaching, instead yelling and screaming at the staff they are expected to assist.
Furthermore, imprecise expectations might annoy employees and make them desire to leave a company. If firm leadership does not assist managers in developing into leaders, they will begin to lose employees and, eventually, the managers themselves.

Read also: 7 Tips To Deal With Difficult People At Work

How many times do people change jobs each year?

Changing employment is becoming a common option for many people across the world who are looking for a better match. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 epidemic has resulted in a significant increase in the number of people changing careers. According to job change statistics, the average person will change careers 10 to 15 times over their working years. Two years is a fair rule of thumb for junior roles. That is generally enough time to grasp the role’s tasks and feel prepared to take on a new challenge. You may have one or two roles that are even shorter, but if at all feasible, consider two years as a fair minimum to strive for if you’re working to create a career in your chosen sector.

A BLS survey of persons born between 1957 and 1964 that followed their employment history until the age of 52 found that people change occupations less times as they become older. They change employment an average of 5.7 times between the ages of 18 and 24. They change employment an average of 2.4 times between the ages of 25 and 34. The average falls to 2.9 jobs between the ages of 35 and 44, and then to 1.9 jobs between the ages of 45 and 52.

According to a Chamber study, 32% of workers who lost their jobs during the epidemic and are still unemployed want to work in a new industry for their future employment. According to a recent Washington Post-Schar School study, one-third of employees under the age of 40 are considering changing occupations or moving sectors as a result of the epidemic.

Why is it so hard to make a career change?

Even when individuals passionately dislike their work and do not want to be there, they are unable to quit. Why is this the case? What drives us to make bad decisions? According to stress research, the brain naturally views shifting professions as one of several life transitions that constitute a threat to its existence. Indeed, according to the Holmes Rahe Stress Scale, changing careers is one of the top 20 most stressful events in one’s life, ranking second only to the loss of a close friend.

It’s evident that the prospect of changing careers scares the living daylights out of many. It’s stressful for a variety of reasons, including unknown financial issues, whether or not you’ll love it, whether or not you’ll regret it, and more. But eventually, the sadness of your current line of employment takes hold and refuses to let go. And it tightens its grasp on your neck every few months, becoming tighter and tighter.

The capacity to promote yourself successfully without a track record of success in the field you wish to pursue is the No. 1 barrier to changing careers. Employers like to recruit experienced professionals. It is always safer for them to hire someone with prior industry experience. Whether you’re following a passion or a side hustle, unsure about quitting your career for a new one, or simply searching for a change, realise that it’s not an easy decision.

It needs considerable preparation and thought. I can say it with some authority because I had to make this difficult decision myself. Recognize that your unwillingness to leave your work stems from your preference for staying rather than leaving, even if you despise it.
Consider why leaving is so frightening to you. Is it because of unfamiliarity? Is it the unknown, then?

How do you change careers in your 30s?

Job seekers over 30 who want to start a new profession face particular challenges. You’ve probably been in the workforce for a decade or more. As technology advances, so may the requirements for your preferred employment. With some professional experience behind you, making a shift in this stage of your life might feel both scary and thrilling.

Leaving behind your years of expertise is likely to be the first challenge that comes to mind when considering a job move at 30. You’ve probably been out of high school or college for at least ten years. Perhaps you’ve perfected your skill or advanced to a management role.
Starting afresh might appear to be a defeat.

Before going on a new job path, it is critical to first identify and prepare your objectives. Are you merely wanting to advance in your present sector, or are you looking to break into a completely new industry? Maybe you’re beginning your own business. Whatever your motivations are, be clear about what you want to accomplish. Second, assess your existing strengths and shortcomings, as well as your technical talents and commercial relationships. This can assist you in determining any skill gaps, training or credentials that may be necessary, and whether your present network can assist you.

You must understand what drives you. Do you value money or material success? What environment suits you best? Do you value salary more than work satisfaction? Once you have some answers, you’ll have a better sense of which course to go. You must be aware of your own strengths, drive, and fit. Make a list of your strengths, including what you appreciate, what helps you flourish, and what energises you. What are you willing to do for free? Fit: How do you want to spend your day – indoors, outside, alone or in a large group? Is the goal important?
Is the ultimate outcome important?

Read also: How Can You Diversify Your Income Steams in Easy Steps


If you’re serious about your employment, you should commit to staying for at least one year before going elsewhere or exploring other opportunities inside the organisation. Although you may think this is a long time — especially at an entry-level job you don’t like — if you stick it out, you will learn so much more about your company and the area you’ve chosen to work in. As we continue to incorporate careers into our content, we’d love to know which areas are of interest. Please let us know via email or in the comments!


I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *