8 Tips to Successfully Change Careers

Feb 17, 2022
woman writing list
If you're considering a job change or looking into starting a new career, you're not alone. During the last half of 2021, more than 20 million people quit their jobs to pursue more fulfilling work, make more money and find a better work-life balance.

The so-called "Great Resignation" signals a shift in the way people approach work, and it's also changed the way employers recruit, retain, and compensate employees. However, before you venture out on a new career path, consider these 8 tips on how to change careers and get where you want to be professionally, financially, and emotionally.

1. Know the right time for a new career

A career shift can happen at any age. Sometimes it's by choice, but not always. As a result of the pandemic, more people are working from home, opening new employment possibilities. Instead of being limited to jobs in your local area, you can now apply for positions anywhere in the world. If your skills align perfectly with the needs of a company across the country, you no longer need to uproot your family. It's particularly encouraging for someone contemplating a career change at 40 or older.   

2. Sharpen your skills

If a voice inside you says I need a new career, deep down, you may be asking for the kind of intellectual challenge that can only be satisfied by learning something new. Completing a course related to your career goal or getting certified to use a new technology will expand the value you have to offer, making your resume shine and helping you reach your compensation goals. You can even explore internship or apprentice opportunities to test out a new field.

3. Decide what race you're running

The training programs for a marathon and a sprint are dramatically different. Marathoners focus on building endurance, while sprinters must develop explosive speed. It's a good idea to think similarly about how to start a new career. Focus your efforts on what you're after. Is it money? Flexibility? More responsibility? Maybe you want to do something that changes the world. None of these are mutually exclusive, but it's critical to prioritize fulfilling your most important goals when you're making a career switch. 

4. Network for success

Wondering how to find a new career in the first place? Begin by contacting people you know or reaching out to someone who can connect you to a company or industry. People get satisfaction from helping others, so don't be shy about asking for help or making the first move when you make a new connection.

 5. Know your value

Whether you're early in your career or making a late-life career change, it's important to be aware of what your skills and experience are worth to employers. It's also helpful to have a compensation goal in mind so you can direct your search towards opportunities that will satisfy your needs. 

Competitive salary and benefits information is easy to find with a simple web search. When contemplating a career change, it's also an excellent time to look at your personal financial plan and confirm that you're on track with your savings, investments, and life insurance. 

6. Don't overlook the benefits

Benefits like health insurance and life insurance usually terminate quickly when you leave a job. Unless you've planned, you may experience a gap in coverage with potentially serious consequences. The best way to avoid this is to be prepared before looking for a new career change. 

If you have employer-sponsored group life insurance, consider buying an individual policy that isn't tied to your job. It'll provide peace of mind during your career transition and allow you to maintain control regardless of your employment situation. 

You may also find that you can get coverage for less money than the optional or voluntary insurance offered at your job. With Ethos, it's simple to calculate your needs and get a quote for term life insurance online simply by answering a few quick questions.

7. Embrace what makes you different

Chances are, there's something unique about your interests, experience, and skills. You may be a creative problem solver who sees the world differently than most people, or perhaps you're razor-sharp with numbers. Let those characteristics guide you on your career-change path, and keep an open mind as you explore opportunities you've never considered. 

8. Promote yourself like a marketer

Saying I need a career change and making it happen are two very different things. Learning how to switch careers takes commitment, courage, and effort. You'll convey the professionalism and polish employers seek by paying close attention to how you present yourself. 

Make sure your resume is flawless and that it tells the right story for the job you want. Write thoughtful cover letters and follow up with a note after an interview or a networking meeting. Don't be afraid to take the initiative and consider creative things you can do to make yourself stand out from other applicants. Most importantly, be yourself in the process.

The information and content provided herein is for informational purposes only, and it is not to be considered legal, tax, investment, or financial advice, recommendation, or endorsement. You should consult with an attorney or other professional to determine what may be best for your individual needs.