Changing Careers: Where to Start

Today’s guest post by Shannon Suetos addresses a topic that is relevant to many of us: changing careers. This can be a long, yet VERY rewarding process.  If you’ve changed careers, we want to hear your story!  Give us your advice in the comments section below!

Remember when we were little and adults asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  Some of us would say doctors, or teachers, or better yet a fire fighter!  But how many of us actually stuck with that decision?  Probably not many—there are different reasons why, but most importantly because you grew up and your goals changed.

So what happens when you go to college and decide you want to be a teacher?  You start taking classes, and realize you really want to do something else.  Is it ok?  What about if you are almost done?  Do you start over and get even more in debt with tuition?  What if you have already started your teaching career?  Do you go back to the drawing board?

This scenario sounds familiar to many of us.  According to, “people change their career five to seven times in their lifetime.” So the question, what do you want to be when you grow up, is just as relevant when you are 5 as when you are 35.  Personal growth and change doesn’t stop just because you are over the age of 18.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics just came out with a study that reports, “5,000 janitors in America have doctoral degrees.”  The study goes on to say, “17 million Americans are currently doing jobs that could be performed with simply a high school diploma or less which includes 317,000 waiters and waitresses, 80,000 bartenders, and 18,000 parking lot attendants.”

So What Happens Next?

Does it really matter if you change your mind?  Will the career police arrest you?  I don’t think so.  It is ok to change your mind, and actually it seems more normal than not. Finding a career you can be happy with should be the top priority—along with being able to pay your bills of course.

If you want to change careers, make a plan

If you are thinking about changing careers, you should have a plan of action.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you currently have enough experience for a job in your desired field?  If not, how can you establish yourself as an expert in your new field?
  • How much time and money are you willing to put into making a change?  Will you have to go back to school? Take a pay cut?
  • If you are currently working in a full-time job, make sure your aspirations for a new career aren’t getting in the way of your current job.  Until you get hired, you still need to have money coming in to take care of yourself and/or family.
  • When setting up your new resume, feature your transferable skills rather than heavy industry jargon. Highlight experience that is appealing and relevant to your new profession.
  • Remember that your new industry may have different resume standards and expectations- be sure to look at several resume examples before sending your new resume to a potential employer.
  • Utilize the skills and network you already have to help make the leap into the next chapter in your life.

Have you successfully changed careers?  Please share your story – how’d you do it?!

Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas, who writes on subjects such as VoIP phone service , writes extensively for San Diego-based

You may also like...