How to Change Careers — Without Starting Over

The thought of changing careers can feel overwhelming. It may involve earning a new degree, building up experience, learning new qualifications, and starting from the lowest rung on the career ladder. If that seems like too much for too little reward, there’s another way to change careers without starting over.

Consider a Related Position

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is what do you love about your work? If you can pinpoint the areas of your job that feel the most rewarding, it may give you some ideas about positions related to your current field. In some cases, you may even be able to change to another position in the same company rather than leaving your job entirely. A related position won’t require you to start over, but it could provide relief from any stress you may be experiencing in your current career. 

Consider Applying for a Promotion

Some career stress happens because you’ve outgrown your current position. If you no longer feel fulfilled or challenged, it may be time to climb the career ladder and apply for a promotion. Find out what qualifications you’ll need to make the leap, and then put in the work. If your company doesn’t have promotions available, consider looking for them elsewhere. If your job doesn’t have upward mobility, consider other ways to take on new projects and responsibilities that could increase both pay and job satisfaction.

Opt for a Side Hustle

Working a side gig can allow time for you to grow a new career while having the stability and income of your regular job. As long as it doesn’t violate the terms of your current employment, you may side hustle your way straight into a new career. This can allow you the time to grow a new career without all the risk of entirely starting from scratch. 

Look for opportunities that work around your current schedule. Consider your skills and abilities to find a side gig you enjoy doing. Look for opportunities that work around your current schedule. Opting for a side gig gives you time to try another career without the risk, and you may find that you want to eventually take your side hustle and make it your full-time job.

Consider Consulting

Your skills and expertise could actually help you start a career in consulting without having to start all over. This is another area where you can start small by taking on a client or two while you keep your current position. This way, you can try the work, establish a reputation, and even build up a network of support. You’ll need strong references and a proven track record, but consulting in your current area of expertise won’t require you to start from the bottom rung of the business. 

Use Remote Work to Your Advantage

Contemplate researching other careers while you’re working remotely. The flexibility of a remote schedule could give you time to devote to planning a career change. Networking could be key to learning about new positions, but you can also use this time to take career aptitude tests, analyze any careers you may be considering, and talk to professionals in other fields to get an idea of the pros and cons of different positions. 

Spin Your Qualifications

Take a closer look at your skillset. It may be possible to put a spin on your qualifications. Suppose you don’t have direct experience in one area but do have related knowledge. In that case, you may be able to share with a hiring manager how your complementary background could be a benefit in a new position. It’s important not to lie. Instead, you’ll demonstrate how your skills apply to a whole new industry. Many qualifications could crossover, and it could have you starting a new career without starting over. 

Consider Teaching or Training

You may endure burnout in your line of work. It happens to the best of us. Consider if you may prefer teaching or training over performing the work you do. Teaching may not be for everyone, and trainer positions may be limited, but this could provide another option for changing your career without having to start a new degree program. 

Changing careers can be a stressful prospect. It can also be exciting. Consider the possibilities! You could start a job you love instead of stressing about one that no longer serves your purpose. With a little research, you might find that changing your careers is as simple as pivoting to a related position, climbing that corporate ladder, or utilizing a skill you already have in a different way. Don’t give up hope! The career you dreamed of could be closer than you think.