The 8 Best Practical Tips on Changing Careers Now!

Written by Majken Talbot
Graphic Design by Daniel Seminara
A middle-aged man considers changing careers.

Stuck in a career that doesn’t feel like you? Do you dread Mondays? Would you give anything for a different job? You are not alone! If you think wanting to change careers makes you the Goth at a Baywatch film audition—think again! More people than ever are dissatisfied with their jobs and plan to switch careers. In 2021, 50% of employees surveyed said they intended to change careers as a result of the pandemic. The number one reason? Remote work flexibility. But daydreaming about a new career won’t make it happen. What you need is a step-by-step plan for success. Here are eight practical tips on changing careers in 2023.

Tip #1: Finding Direction—Let Your Values Be Your Guide

Would you hop on a bus without knowing the destination? I hope not. Years ago, I took a late-night train in Paris in a desperate attempt to get back to my hotel before the underground closed. Imagine my surprise when the train dropped me off at 1 A.M. in the red light district! My point? You need to know where you’re going in life, or you may end up somewhere you did not wish to go. Your new career path requires a destination and compass to guide you there. If you want your new career to be a better fit for you, then you must figure out what really matters to you. First, identify your core personal values and let those values guide you to your new career destination. This process requires a bit of soul-searching. Put aside your self-judgment and ask yourself these straightforward questions:

 

  • What do you want to do?
  • What makes you happy every day?
  • What problems do you want to solve?
  • Whom do you want to serve?

 

Answering these four questions will put you in a better position to find companies that align with your values and beliefs. Figuring out who you want to work for takes a bit of research. Just because a company is listed in Forbes Fortune 500 doesn’t guarantee you would be happy working for them. Are you a member of the LGBTQ+ community? Then you would probably be happier working for a company that celebrates equity and inclusion. Is sustainability or environmental justice important to you? Then working on an oil rig may not be your “shtick!” 

It’s not just about big social issues— our core values determine our everyday life choices. For example, if you value beauty, you will probably wither away working an admin job in a dusty old brutalist concrete building. Additionally, if you value loyalty and generosity, you may be turned off by working for a cut-throat, competitive legal firm.

As you ponder your new career path,  consider whether you value teamwork and collaboration over competition. Do you value independence? You probably would prefer a hands-off boss. Or maybe you would thrive by starting your own business and becoming your own boss? Our values are a reliable compass that points us in the direction of our new purpose-filled career. Need more examples? Check out the following video from the Super Purposes Career Docuseries. In it, several career seekers identify their most important values and share how it guides their career search.

Tip #2: Save Time—Get Expertise From a Skilled Career Coach

a career coaching session

Why struggle alone? Career Coaches can provide expert guidance on changing careers. Remember, you are not starting over from scratch! This is not Monopoly, and you are not being sent back to “GO.” A skilled career coach will know just the tweak your LinkedIn profile needs to get recruiters to notice you. You’ll get concrete tips on how to grow your professional network and how to leverage those critical connections into a new job offer. Without the precision help of a savvy career coach, you could flounder and waste valuable time.

The typical cost of a career coach can range from $75 to $150 per hour. However, personalized coaching can easily cost you hundreds more per hour. Do ten coaching sessions, and you are already out a few grand or more. Cheaper is not necessarily better. You need someone with a proven track record of happy, fulfilled clients. Super Julie Braun, CEO of Super Purposes, is one of those stand-out career coaches. She’s worked with over 500 companies and helped 16,000 people get purpose-filled careers and the salary they deserve. Best of all, Super Purposes won’t break your bank! Super Purposes’ 12-week career coaching courses range from $141-$350.

 

Tip #3: Avoid The College Debt Pitfall— Test-Drive Your New Career First!

University sucks money from students pockets

To debt or not to debt? That is the question! Should you commit to years of college education to obtain that elusive paper degree? We all know how that works—after going into debt, all the entry-level jobs will ask you for experience anyway! It’s a catch-22. You’re the tuna in their trawl net! Or the dolphin—or whatever—because absolutely everything gets caught in a fishing trawl net.  Most things caught in the net can’t be sold at the fish market,so they get chucked overboard as collateral waste. Sadly, this metaphor seems more and more apt for the way colleges operate in the 21st century.  Colleges are businesses, first and foremost. It’s all a game of numbers, and you are just a digit in their stats. Here are a few things to watch out for.

College is super expensive. In 2021, the average state college tuition was about $10,000 per year. The average yearly tuition for private colleges is four times higher! It’s not just tuition- it’s everything else. How will you pay for rent, utilities, food, clothes, textbooks, health insurance, transportation, and all the other little incidentals each month? A part-time job could help, but it won’t even begin to cover it—that means loans, loans, and debt galore!

Pursuing a college degree can be super time-consuming. You probably have dependents, mortgages, and other bills to pay. Do you have years to wait to start a new career? In states like California, massive budget cuts to education have resulted in fewer course offerings. Students often cannot get the classes they need to fulfill degree requirements. As a result, they have to be put on a waitlist. A 2013 report by the Campaign for College Opportunity reveals that more than half of all California community college students took over four years to get a two-year Associate’s degree.

Besides, you might change your mind! It’s better to take a 12-hour, $35 online coding class on Udemy.com first and see if you like it as much as you think you do before you plunk down $60,000-$100,000 for a college degree.

 

Tip #4: Fast-track Your Career Change With Short, Low-cost Certificated Courses

LinkedIn Learning course sample page

As a career changer, the odds are that you already have a college degree. You’re probably only missing a few key job skills to qualify for the job of your dreams. LinkedIn has hundreds of free or low-cost classes with certifications ranging from search engine optimization to digital animation. First, identify the specific job skills you need for your new career. Click here and type in your new job category in the dialogue box. You can refine your search by selecting the time to complete, level, and so on.

If you already have a LinkedIn account, then good for you! You savvy career changer—you! Log into your LinkedIn account. Click on the gray “Down” arrow below the waffle icon on the top right of your page. Several LinkedIn apps will appear. Click on the LinkedIn Learning app. It will take you to their main page. Type your industry or target job into the large dialogue box. LinkedIn Learning will instantly pull up the top six job skills needed for that particular career. Click on one of those job skill boxes, and you will get a list of hundreds of LinkedIn courses that teach various aspects of that skill!

Aim for industry-recognized certification or certification by a trainer who is an established industry professional. Not sure? Check out their LinkedIn profile!

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on LinkedIn—try googling it. Many other sites offer short, inexpensive courses, from Indeed.com to screenwritersuniversity.com.

Tip #5: Get an Internship and Leverage It To Get Your Next Job!

Currently, the US is facing a critical lack of skilled workers, and companies are scrambling. More than two in five companies plan to offer internships in 2022. Of those, 94% say they are likely to hire interns as part or full-time employees.

Think you can’t afford an internship? Think again! Paid internships are a growing trend. Some Tech and Finance internships pay as much as entry-level jobs in other industries. According to Fortune.com, Uber and Capital One pay interns a median monthly salary of $8,333. Gaming company Roblox offers the highest-paid internships at nearly $10,000 a month.

Even unpaid internships are worth your time. Make sure they give you a real-world job title and on-the-job experience, which does not include fetching lattes for your over-caffeinated boss. That’s a personal assistant, not the next six-figure-earning cyber-security professional.

Tip#6: Make Your LinkedIn Profile the Billboard to Your New Career!

A sample LinkedIn Profile page for a Graphic Designer

Today, LinkedIn is more important than a resume. Mega Career Coach Julie Braun urges career changers to “Become an expert on LinkedIn and really understand how this platform works. Turn connections into conversations that turn into referrals for the jobs you want.” 

Don’t waste time filling out endless online applications! Most of them are read by bots anyway. Use LinkedIn to start rebranding yourself and get noticed by recruiters.

Tip # 7: Get 500+ LinkedIn Connections

Get 500-plus professional connections! Why? For starters, you’ll pop up more often in search results and rank higher. This number will help recruiters find your profile. Finally, it establishes your professional credibility. 

How do you find 500 people to connect with? Start with the communities you already know. Connect with your coworkers at your current job. They’re more likely to accept your invitation to connect. Your current coworkers can endorse your skills on LinkedIn and write recommendations. 

Join your college alumni group on LinkedIn and start reaching out. Attend conferences in your field of interest to make connections. After an engaging conversation, tell them you’d like to keep in touch. Reach out to those contacts afterward on LinkedIn.

Finally, become a member of a group in your target industry. Are you a woman who wants to pivot from Accounting to Animation? Look into joining Women in Animation and find people to connect with who share your interests and can provide insights on how to succeed in this field.

Tip #8: Replace Time-Sucking Distractions with Job Search

Person checking social media on smartphone late at night

The number one excuse for not tackling any big change is that we don’t have enough time. Yes, we can see the benefits of changing careers, but we are just so darn busy! Put down the cell phone, and step away from your Ipad—you’re going to want to hear this!

Forbes magazine reported in 2021 that Americans spend, on average, 1300 hours a year on social media. That may not seem like much, but imagine if it was a full-time, 40-hour-per-week job. That number translates into eight and a half months of social media use each year!

Of course, making such a massive shift, like changing careers, requires time and effort. You can’t add an extra hour to the day, so you’re going to have to reduce some of your daily activities to make time to work on your career transition.

The next time you find yourself scrolling online through cute cat videos, go to your LinkedIn profile instead. Update your profile, build your network, and research your target companies.

 

Conclusion: Making a Career Change

Remember, this is your life—not a dress rehearsal! The famous 20th-century Swiss Psychiatrist Carl Jung once remarked, “If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s.” There is no quick shortcut to navigating a career change. You will have to put in time and effort. If you follow these tips, however, you will be on the road to success. Just remember, the first step is always the hardest. Human beings are prone to inertia. Newton’s first law states that objects in motion stay in motion while objects at rest remain at rest. Eerily, this physics law applies to people too. Most of us would rather remain stuck in a miserable, soul-sucking status quo than face the scary uncertainty of change. Change always requires a little bit of effort, but it’s totally worth it—like when your car stalls and you have to get out and push it. That first push is the hardest, but once you get the car rolling—it’s a whole lot easier!

Check out our other Super Purposes blogs for more insightful, career-changing advice. Have a Super Day

Majken Talbot's bio pic
Majken Talbot

Like Alice, I wanted to step through the looking glass and see what was on the other side. What adventures lay waiting? As a screenwriter and storyteller, I get to voyage to these magical places. Imagination has always been my greatest asset.