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Career Change at 30: 15 Must-Know Tips

Making a career change at 30 can be daunting, but it’s also an exciting time to reassess your goals and make a fresh start. If you’re feeling stuck in a rut or unfulfilled in your current career, it may be time to consider a new career path.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2015-2016, there were 6.2 million career changers. That is around 4% of the workforce who changed careers.

You might be feeling really burnt out at your current job. Some signs might be:

  • feeling like you’re spending too much time doing the wrong thing in your career field
  • like your mental health is on the back burner
  • your professional life is going nowhere
  • you’re stretch too thin
  • you don’t make enough money
  • there is no work-life balance
  • low job satisfaction
  • a toxic work environment

There are many reasons why people choose to make a career change at 30. Perhaps you’re seeking more challenging work, or you’re looking for a role that better aligns with your personal values. Whatever your reasons, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re making a informed decision before making any drastic changes.

The good news is there are lot of steps you can take in a new direction.

If you’re considering a career change at 30, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Consider your skills and experience.

When making a career change the first step is to assess your skills and experience to see if they align with your desired new role. Your current position combined with life experience probably can get you into a related field with minimal challenges.

If you’re switching fields, you may need to acquire new skills or gain additional experience. But if you have the necessary qualifications and transferable skills, a career change can be a great way to use your existing skills in a new and exciting way. There’s usually way to bring your skills across different fields and into a new job.

How can what you already know apply to the field you’d like to move into? Is there any overlap in the hard and soft skills between them? A hot tip to figure this out is to go onto LinkedIn and browse the profiles of people with the titles and roles you’re interested in pursuing. What have their career paths looked like so far? This exercise can help you connect the dots in your own career path.

2. Do your research.

If you’re unsure about which career path to take, it’s important to do your research and explore different options.

Talk to people in various fields, read articles and books, and attend informational interviews (more on this below) to learn more about different careers.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, research specific companies and job openings to see if there’s a good fit.

It’s almost like the post-grad job hunt all over again. Except for this time you’ve got a decade of experience backing you up.

3. Consider the financial implications.

This is, of course, something that needs to be addressed.

Making a career change can have a major impact on your finances, so it’s important to consider the potential financial implications before making any decisions.

If you’re switching to a lower-paying field, you’ll need to make sure you can support yourself and your family on your new salary. And if you’re taking a pay cut to pursue a more fulfilling career, you’ll need to have a solid financial plan in place.

You’ll also want to consider how this will affect your financial growth path in the future. Will you be saving less for retirement? What will your healthcare look like in the meantime? As adults in our 30s, likely with responsibilities like children, pets, and homes, we do need to consider the finance aspect more than we did in our 20s.

4. Be prepared for change.

A career change can be a big adjustment, both professionally and personally. Be prepared for the challenges that come with change, and be willing to invest time and energy into making your transition a success.

It could be years (not months) before you really settle into your new career and role. It helps when you are passionate and excited about it but even with that said, transitioning is challenging. It can be very difficult if you were successful in your current field to transition to something new where you are at the bottom again.

Consider investing in a therapist during this transitional time. You might even need to discuss your role at home with your spouse or roommate to make the transition easier on all of you. Especially if you are still are your current full-time job while pursuing a new industry.

This period will also be exhausting as you take on new challenges that are different from your current role, so keep that in mind too!

5. Seek professional help.

If you’re feeling uncertain about making a career change, it may be helpful to seek professional guidance.

A career coach or counselor can help you assess your skills and experience, explore different career options, and develop a plan for making a successful transition.

Someone to guide you through the process can be an invaluable resource of encouragement, support, and answers during tough times.

6. Conduct informational interviews.

If you’re interested in learning more about a particular career, consider conducting informational interviews with people who work in the field.

Informational interviews are casual conversations in which you can ask questions about someone’s job, their career journey, and what it’s really like to work in their field. These conversations can be invaluable when you’re trying to learn the ins and outs of what role you what to move into.

Reach out to people you know first or ask for people you know to connect them to their contacts. Let them know about your intentions and ask them if they’d be open to you asking them some questions about their career paths over coffee or lunch, your treat of course. Most people are willing to share and help you out!

And always send a thank you note after an informational interview! Plus, you never know what kind of connections this could lead to in the future.

7. Reach out to your professional network.

Making a career change can be a lot easier with the help of your network. Talk to your family and friends, and let them know you’re exploring new career options. They may be able to introduce you to people in their networks who can help you with your job search.

You could also consider connecting with the alumni group from your university. Most schools have hyper-local chapters as well that you can connect with in person.

These people were in your shoes at some point and may be willing to offer advice or even help you get your foot in the door.

And don’t forget about LinkedIn! It’s a great resource for connecting with people in your industry, researching companies, and applying for jobs.

8. Be patient.

Making a major career change can take time, so it’s important to be patient and persistent in your job search. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t land your dream job right away. Keep networking, applying for jobs, and interviewing, and eventually you’ll find the right role!

The key is not to give up. It can be a long and difficult process, but if you stay positive and keep working towards your goal, eventually you will find success.

I hope these tips were helpful as you navigate your own career change! Best of luck to you on your job search!

9. Make a failure resume.

A failure resume is a document that lists all of your past failures and setbacks. This may sound counterintuitive, but researching and documenting your previous failures can actually help you be more successful in your job search. By understanding your past mistakes, you can avoid making them again in the future.

A failure resume can also help you pull out helpful statistics and numbers that will help you on your job hunt. It is always better when you can incorporate hard numbers and percentages into things. And while something might seem “bad,” there is usually a way to flip it around and present it as a positive.

10. Be realistic.

Making a career change is a big decision, but it can be a very rewarding one. Just be sure to go into it with your eyes wide open.

Be realistic about the challenges you may face, the time it may take to find a job, and the lifestyle changes you may need to make. With a little planning and preparation, you can make your career change a success!

You might not be starting over from scratch, but you are starting over in a new field which means you probably have a lot to learn! This is okay but it does mean you need to manage your expectations.

You’ll also need to consider your competition in the field. If you are trying to move into something competitive, you’ll have to keep in mind who your new colleagues will be. Will you be comfortable working next to fresh college grads as someone in their 30s? Obviously it is not a deal breaker but it is something you need to think about as you move forward.

11. Update your resume and online presence.

When you’re making a career change, it’s important to update your resume and online presence to reflect your new goals. Include any relevant skills and experience you have in your new field, and highlight any accomplishments you’ve made that are transferable to your new career.

You should also update your social media profiles and make sure your online presence is professional and polished. This is especially important if you’re looking for a job in a field that is heavily reliant on online networking, such as marketing or public relations.

Keeping an updated, crisp LinkedIn picture to help you land the job. According to Passport Photo Online, 71% of recruiters admit they rejected a candidate because of their LinkedIn profile picture at least once.

You can also delete anything that doesn’t present you in the optimal light. Examples include old photos or old Twitter profiles that you made when you were younger. Start by Googling yourself and work on deleting anything unsavory.

Additionally, ask yourself if what comes up is something you want employers to see. In our digital world, this is something we need to consider and be cognizant of.

12. Get organized.

Making a career change can be overwhelming, so it’s important to get organized and have a plan. Start by researching the industry you’re interested in and making a list of companies you’d like to work for. Then, begin networking and applying for jobs. Keep track of your progress so you can see how far you’ve come!

13. Reach out to a career coach.

A career coach can be a great resource when you’re making a major career change. They can help you assess your skills and experience, set goals, and create a plan to achieve them. If you’re feeling lost or uncertain about your next steps, reach out to a career coach for guidance.

A career coach can provide you with resources, resume feedback, cover letter help, and more that you might otherwise take months and months to gather that information on your own.

It’s more often than not a wise investment to work with a career coach.

14. Consider going back to school.

If you’re making a major career change, you may need to go back to school to get the training and additional education you need. You might need a master’s degree but it is probably not worth it if you will be entering the field in an entry-level position. If you need a whole new degree, this might make you reconsider entireley.

This can be a big decision, but if you’re serious about your new career, it may be worth it in the long run. Just be sure to do your research and make sure you’re getting into a program that’s a good fit for you.

Going back to school just to delay deciding with your career is not a good move. Going to school and furthering your education should be a very pointed and intentional decision. This is also something you could discuss in informational interviews and weigh the pros and cons for yourself.

It’s also a good idea to read job descriptions to see what job training your might need going forward.

15. Be prepared to start at the bottom.

If you’re making a major career change, chances are you’ll have to start at the bottom and work your way up. This is why it’s so important to network and get your foot in the door of your desired industry. Once you’re in, you can begin working your way up the ladder.

Don’t be discouraged if you have to start at the bottom. Embrace it as an opportunity to learn and grow in your new career. With hard work and dedication, you’ll eventually reach your goals!

In Summary: Making a Career Change at 30

Making a career change can be scary, but it can also be an exciting and rewarding experience. If you’re considering a change, take the time to do your research and make sure you’re prepared for the challenges that come with it.

With careful planning and a positive attitude, you can make a successful transition to a new and fulfilling career.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal or financial advice. Consult a financial or legal professional if you have specific questions about your situation.

About the Author

Nicole Booz is the founder of GenTwenty and GenThirty. She is an entrepreneur, author of The Kidult Handbook, and most importantly, Mama to two beautiful little boys. She loves reading, organizing her home, and living a simple, less toxic lifestyle. You've seen her in The New York Times, TIME, Insider, Inside Edition, New York Post, NextAdvisor, Forbes, Yahoo, HuffPost, and U.S. News & World Report.


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