How to Know if You’re Ready for a Career Change and What to Do About It

If you’re reading this, you’ve already started thinking about career change. Whether it’s your own career or you’re doing some research for someone you love, you’re in the right place to learn about how to know if a career change is the right decision, what alternative careers may be available to you, and how to change careers when you’re finally feeling ready to take the leap.

Where Are You in Your Current Career?

It’s a broad question, we know. So, let’s break it down into smaller components to get a more accurate picture of what your career change could look like.

How long have you been in your current career?

The amount of time you’ve been in your career doesn’t necessarily have a major impact on whether you should change careers. What’s more important is how you feel about that time. Do you feel like you accomplished what you wanted to in your career? Have you only just begun your career but it hasn’t turned out as you expected? The answers to these questions might help clarify whether a career change is right for you, or if finding a different job at another company in the same field may work better for you.

How are you feeling about your career?

Do you feel worn out by the work you’re doing? Do you feel excited by what you could accomplish? Do you see your career path as a challenging uphill climb or an unchanging plateau? The way that you view your job and, more importantly, your career, can be an important motivator in your decision to stay in your current career or try something new.

Why are you interested in alternative careers?

Most often, those interested in learning how to change careers are in one of four circumstances. They’ve been laid off or fired; they’re stuck in the corporate grind with no upward mobility, they’ve been presented with an unexpected opportunity; they’re excited about doing something else with their professional life. Do any of those situations ring true for you? If so, you might be ready to change careers.

Can You Feasibly Change Careers?

Because of the anxiety people often feel when considering alternative careers, you may be finding all sorts of reasons not to change careers. Let us guess: what if it’s the wrong decision? What if you don’t make as much money? What if you can’t find a job? What if the next career you choose is worse, for any reason, than the one you’re hoping to leave.

In our experience, the best way to alleviate those fears is through education about the possibilities, awareness of yourself and potential opportunities, and discovering a path forward. It all starts with a simple question: what do you want to do? Don’t be afraid to dream big. If others have built your dream career for themselves, you can do it, too. There’s a path forward.

You Have What It Takes

Instead of telling yourself all the reasons you’re not qualified for a career change, start cataloguing all the reasons you are. No matter where you’ve been in your working life, you’ve developed skills and honed talents that make you a hot commodity in the workforce, regardless of the industry, field, or specialization. Here are some of the most transferable skills you can have that can help set you up for a transition into just about any new career (and we’re willing to bet you’ve got more than one of these down pat):

You’re Adaptable

Considering a career change is already evidence of your willingness to adapt and your flexibility. In nearly any career, being able to change course and think on your feet is a huge benefit.

You’re Organized

If you’re aware of a deadline schedule and how to manage your time well enough to stick to that schedule, you’ve got a major asset that can be transferred to any field.

You Can Manage Others

Leadership capability is a big plus when searching for alternative careers. It can be the difference between stepping into a new career at entry level or beginning in a management role.

You Can Speak in Front of Others

For people with plenty of experience in business settings, this can seem like a no-brainer but it’s a valuable and necessary skill not everyone has had the opportunity to develop.

What’s Next in Your Career?

In order to land successfully when you leap into a new career, you have to know where you’re going. And to know where you’re going, you have to know where you can go. What are your options? You could potentially choose to stay in your current job and abandon the search for alternative careers altogether. You could find a new job doing exactly what you’re doing now but for a company that values you more or offers a higher salary. You could find a different type of job within your field—that way you can capitalize on the knowledge and experience you already have in your current area.

Or you can really go for it. You can find a new, more exciting and more appealing industry to write the next chapter of your career. You can take your skillset and apply it to something completely different for you, something you’ve tried or thought about trying in the past, or something you’ve done in your personal life but never turned it into a profession—until now. Many people who transition out of their current careers have found success in independent business ownership and franchise ownership as well. If you have the entrepreneurial itch, this is the time to scratch it.

How to Change Careers Successfully

Here’s a short list of what we’d recommend as you start your journey toward career change.

1. Assess Yourself

Think about what you need, what you want, what you have and what you don’t. Thoughtfully assess your abilities and skills and ask friends and coworkers what they think, too. Try our free online assessment walkthrough if you need a hand getting started.

2. Set Goals

Decide what you need your new career to do for you. How much money do you want to make? How much vacation time do you want? How do you want your schedule to look?

3. Work with a Coach

Speak to a no-cost expert who’s already helped dozens of people successfully change careers. At TES, we know one or two people who fit that description.

4. Make a Plan

Goals are the destination. Now you need a path to get there. Work with your career change coach to create a list of reasonable and achievable steps you can take to get you from A to B.

5. Dive In

Start making the change! You’re putting in a lot of work to turn your professional life around and love what you do every day. Make the most of that effort and start stepping toward those goals.


Want to learn more about how to change careers successfully? Talk to an expert Career Transition Specialist at TES today!