10 Easy Steps to Change Your Career

10 easy steps to change your career
Written by Oana Schneider

Nine-to-five desk jobs, overtime, over a dozen hours per week on e-mail, with hardly any downtime during office hours – these are the hours in the life of a typical company employee. If you know that you’re working hard but you’re not feeling that sense of accomplishment, could it be that you are not actually satisfied with what you’re doing?

More than the financial rewards that you earn from your job, it’s that feeling of accomplishment, happiness and looking forward to going to work everyday that you should be striving for. If you don’t experience any of these, then it might be time to switch careers before you suffer from total work burnout. 

10 Easy Steps to Change Your Career

Whether you have reached that point of total work burnout or if you simply want to switch careers so that you can do something you love, the good news is that there is an easy set of steps that you can follow.

Take a look at the top ten steps on how you can change your career:

1. Determine if you are indeed ready to change careers.

The first thing that you need to do if you would like to change careers is to determine your readiness for it. Switching gears is a new chapter in anyone’s life and is definitely a big step to take, so you need to make sure that you are indeed prepared for it. How would you know this, exactly? We have put together a list of questions that you ask yourself. Based on your answers to these questions, you can determine if you are up for a major change in your life which is switching career paths:

  • Are you satisfied with your current job?

If not, have you tried looking at different aspects of your current position at work which you might grow to love? Sometimes, all you need is a fresh perspective to realize that you do actually love your job – there are just certain aspects of it that you do not like, which is perfectly normal. If your answer is still no, proceed to the next set of questions.

  • How satisfied are you with your career path?

Look back at what you have achieved so far in your career. Have you enjoyed the challenges that you were able to overcome at work? Did you learn lessons from your mistakes? Does your salary allow you to live a comfortable lifestyle? Have you achieved expertise in your line of work? Did you experience personal and professional satisfaction with what you have done so far? What about the impact that you made within the organization? More importantly, have you earned the respect of your clients, co-workers and customers?

  • Do you think that you will be happier with a career change?

Each person has a different way to measure success and it’s entirely up to you to define it. But the more important question when considering changing careers is this: do you think that you will be happier with a career change?

Upon answering these questions, you can reflect on the next step that you need to take. Would you like to take on a new role in your current organization? Do you want to continue with the same career path, only go to a different employer? Or would you like to take a leap of faith and pursue an entirely different career?

2. Seek the support of those closest to you.

After making sure that switching careers is what you really want, the next thing to do is seek the support of those closest to you. Let’s say that you are a dance instructor and after all the years of hard work, you feel like it’s time for you to build your own dance studio. If you have a spouse, will he or she support your endeavor? Remember that money will be tight during the first few years of operation, so your spouse should be on board. If you’re single, you can either decide to go for a sole proprietorship or open a business with a partner. Those who fall under the latter category should seek the support of friends and family members.

3. Make an assessment of yourself.

Next, assess yourself. Based on your skills, values, personalities and future goals, which career path do you really see yourself pursing – and enjoying in the long run? Again, your goal in switching careers is to find something that will make you happier than what you’re doing right now. If you have no idea what to do, you can take career tests and self-assessment tools. Go online and look for free tests that will allow you to assess which career will best suit you.

4. Create a list of the occupations that you wish to explore.

After taking the self-assessment exam or career test, results will be given and based from the list, you can come up with a number of occupations that you might wish to explore. Write these occupations down so that you can do individual research. Anywhere from five to ten options will do – something which you can narrow down later on.

5. Do ample research, and narrow down the list.

Let’s say that you came up with ten possible new career paths to pursue. Do a thorough research about the individual field. Time-wise and financially, is it feasible for you to pursue a career in engineering? Or maybe interior designing is more your forte? Will such a career give you money-earning opportunities in the future? Be realistic and pare down the list to the possible careers that you can really explore.

6. Make a solid career action plan.

After deciding which career to switch to, make a solid action plan. If you can, conduct interviews with actual people who are involved in such a profession. This way, you’d know exactly what to expect. Set some long-term and short-term goals if you wish to pursue a different career. If it’s a business that you would like to establish from the ground up, create a solid business plan and again, do your research.

7. Get the training and acquire the skills needed.

If you were a supervisor in your previous company and you would like to establish your own business, you already have the leadership and management skills on hand. The only thing that you need to get training for is managing the financial aspect of the business. If it’s a new career that you are planning to purse, get the proper training and acquire the skills that you actually need. You can either take classes or courses, train under the tutelage of professionals, or do an internship. Whatever is needed for you to successfully pursue a different career path, do it.

8. Gain experience and find a mentor.

Next, gain experience and find a mentor. When you are making a major professional move like switching careers, you almost have to start from scratch. This is especially true if the path that you are taking is entirely different from what you have been doing all along. If you were a marketer in an advertising company and you wish to pursue a career as a professional chef, you need to start from scratch because it’s an entirely different industry. After training and acquiring the skills needed, you need to work on gaining experience.

Similar to what you did with your old job, a new career will require you to find a mentor. This is an individual who can introduce you to the ins and outs of the industry that you have chosen. Be open to learning about new things and gaining experiences, then work your way up from there.

9. Have a backup plan.

You’ll never really know what is going to happen unless you actually take a leap of faith and try switching careers. In case things do not work out, have a backup plan. Be flexible and prepare yourself for the worst – although you definitely should have a positive attitude and hope for the best.

10. Say goodbye to your old career.

Finally, start saying goodbye to your old career. If you quit your old job to pursue a different profession, you might have already gone through this step. If not, now’s the best time as any to start putting things in place so that you can leave your old job without marring your professional record.

Switching careers can definitely be a challenging, even scary prospect. But if you know that you love what you will be doing better than what you are engaged in right now, the prospect of switching careers should bring excitement and new blood through your veins. As a famous quote goes, if you love what you are doing, you would never have to work a day in your life. The minute that you decide that it’s high time for a career change, do not hesitate to take the leap. Work hard, and see where this new chapter in your life will take you.


About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.


  • I’m not even in a position in my life where I could be talking about switching careers. I’m trying to get through school first, upgrade necessary course marks and get into a college to work towards a career there. But these are great, in-depth tips to keep close to me for when I’m in that spot, especially the part about narrowing down choices and having a back-up plan.

    • I myself am not in the position to change my career as well. It’s a bit hard but these steps are sure great and I think they relate to me a lot. I think that it surely could work out, but it’s just that fear and obsession I need to get out of!

  • Well, if you really want to change your career but are afraid of a big commitment, how about you do this gradually? first, let’s say you start by doing some research of your own in your spare time, then go to classes once a week (to perfect your skills, for example). After you get a diploma, start doing some freelance work now and then just to get used to the new thing. you don’t have to quit what you do now and be completely panicked that nothing is going to work! (for Martin)

    • Thank you Oana. That does make a lot of sense but I have a problem where I’m not in a position to get a diploma in a certain field. I’m from Israel and I live here not knowing the Hebrew language, which is the official one. I do know it but not fluently or to an academic level, just street language. I have signed up and been accepted into college for Software Engineering, but I just don’t have my hopes up because the Hebrew language could be a barrier. If I didn’t get a diploma, eventhough I have a high school diploma at the moment. What do you think I should do from there?

      • Hey, Martin! Ever considered getting an online diploma from an American university? There are so many possibilities and thankfully they are certified and recognized pretty much all over the world! Try University of Pennsylvania (I cam across their offer when looking up coursera. org), if you are interested in event planning, interior design or digital photography. You only need to speak English. Plus, the courses are not cheap, but you get certified in your field right away! Hope this helps!

  • Career change does entail : a new and fresh perspective, self-assessment, training and advancing in skills, gain experience, plan of action, no turning back.

    I think if a career change has brought more prospects into the earning power– it’s a good and stable move. The evidences of success, inner happiness, and love are the results of the career shift — the tested-and-tried decision you’ve made from the beginning.

  • I’ve been working on trying to change my career for 8 months now. So far can’t get the training because no openings have come up where someone is willing to train.

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