7 Steps to Change Careers & Increase Your Income

Wondering how to change careers?

Ultimately, you want to have a career that is fulfilling while also allowing you to reach your financial goals. So, changing careers may be necessary in order to accomplish both of those goals.

The good news is that it’s never too late to make a career change and increase your income. The key is having the right strategy in place—especially if you’re changing industries.

In this post, you’ll learn the exact steps to changing your career and, simultaneously, increasing your income.

6 Signs It’s Time To Change Careers

It may not always be obvious that it’s time for a career change. According to our expert career coach, Danielle Ayodele, there are six signs that it’s time for you to change careers.

  1. You’re not being challenged – If you’ve mastered your role and there’s nothing else to learn, it may be time for a career change. Likewise, if there is no role to get promoted to it’s time to find something else.
  2. Your workplace is a poor culture fit – If you’re missing a work-life balance and finding yourself burned out or overwhelmed, you may need to switch to an organization that prioritizes employee wellbeing.
  3. You need more money – If you’re not able to afford the lifestyle that you desire with your current income or you’re unable to earn more, it may be time to change careers.
  4. You’re not passionate about your work – If you’re uninterested in the work that you’re doing and desire to be doing something more, it’s an indicator that it’s time for a career change.
  5. You need to relocate– Perhaps you need to move for family reasons. This is the opportunity to change careers.
  6. You have an internal, spiritual nudge to leave – You may just have an inner nudge to move that can be attributed to your faith. If this is the case, then you’ll want to pay attention to it and decide if it’s a sign to change careers.

7 Steps To Changing Careers

Do any of those reasons to change careers resonate with you? If so, here are X steps to change careers!

1. Assess Your Current Situation

First things first, you want to evaluate your current career situation. Do you like what you do? Are you satisfied with your work environment? Does your pay allow you to easily reach your lifestyle & financial goals?

If not, it’s important to determine what you actually want. Decide what a good work culture looks like and what your ideal role would entail. More importantly, what salary do you require to reach your income needs?

All of these things are important to knowing exactly what your want and need going forward.

2. Reflect on your skills, strengths, and areas of interest

The next step is to do a self-inventory. This is where you want to identify the skill sets and strengths that you have based on your previous work experiences.

An easy way to do this is to evaluate past performance reviews that have highlighted your strengths and contributions. You should also recall any awards that you’ve won that highlight your skills.

When evaluating your skills, it’s important to note those that you enjoy using and those that you’d rather not leverage in your new career.

In addition, you want to write down your areas of interest. Remember, you want to do work that you’re passionate about. Writing down your interests will help guide you in your new job search.

Based on this exercise, what are the skills that you have now that can actually be applied to your interests?

3. Explore new career options

Now that you know what you’re looking for and how your skills can apply, it’s time to see what’s out there.

Danielle suggests pulling up job descriptions and comparing your skills and interests. Ultimately, the goal is to figure out where the match, or alignment, is.

She points out that it will be important to be able to articulate how you’ve used your relevant skills in the past to help previous employers and how you can leverage those skills in the role that you’re applying for.

4. Develop a career transition plan

At this point, it’s a good idea to start planning for your career transition. On average, it takes about 3-6 months to find a new job.

Knowing this will help level your expectation on how quickly you can change careers. Ultimately, the sooner you start, the better.

Allow time to start searching for jobs that meet your criteria for pay, work culture, commute, and more. Additionally, use this time to do things like enhancing your skills and polishing your professional brand.

woman interviewing shaking hands

5. Enhance your skills

Though you’ll be looking for jobs that align well with skills you already have, it’s also important to gain new ones. Identify skill gaps and invest in professional development opportunities.

To do this, you can take advantage of online courses, certifications, or workshops. In most cases, these things will require an investment. So be sure to add this to your budget and account for the expense.

If you’re not sure what new skills to acquire, I suggest checking out our article on high-income skills that you can develop to increase your income.

Also, consider investing in mentorship or coaching to accelerate your learning and growth. For example, you may work with a career coach who can help prepare you for interviews, salary negotiations, and your overall job search.

Doing this will help you feel more confident as you navigate your career change.

6. Update your resume & professional branding

Contrary to popular belief, updating your resume isn’t the first thing that you should do when navigating a career change. It’s only after you’ve done each of the above steps that you should start adjusting your resume.

Then, you’ll want your resume to reflect the skills that are relevant to the new career path that you’re going into. It’s important to highlight these things so that employers can see how you can be a fit for the role.

For instance, Danielle recommends only highlighting the most relevant work experience on your resume versus the traditional chronological work history. This is just one example of specific changes that you can make to your resume in order to stand out.

Additionally, you’ll want to update your LinkedIn and other online professional profiles to mirror the changes to your resume. Be sure that your information is relevant to your new career aspirations and that you have a professional headshot.

Ultimately, you want to present yourself for the career that you’re going after. If done correctly, you’ll be getting calls back for interviews.

7. Prepare for the interviews & an offer

The most important thing that you can do to prepare for interviews is to be able to speak how your skills. You want to show the interviewer how your relevant skills and experiences are applicable to the role that you’re applying for.

The goal is to be able to show how your skills will help them accomplish what they’re trying to fulfill with the job.

Additionally, you want to be very clear on what you want out of your new job. This is what you wrote down in step one. Knowing this allows you to then ask questions to determine if the new job will be the right culture fit for you.

8. Negotiate your salary

It may sound surprising to negotiate your salary in a completely new career field. But, you absolutely should!

Your lack of experience in the industry has no bearing how much you should be paid. More importantly, what you made previously shouldn’t be used to determine your next salary.

Here’s what to consider when negotiating your salary:

  1. What the is market paying for this role
  2. What are the expectations and responsibilities of the job
  3. Your educational level
  4. Your experience
  5. What you’re willing to accept to meet your financial obligations

These things will allow you to determine what proper compensation for the job actually should be for you. Remember, that the amount that is offered isn’t the amount that you have to accept.

Ready to change careers and increase your income?

Changing your career can be a big, scary step. Nonetheless, with the information provided here, you should have the tools and guidance on how to execute a career change.

In addition to the steps mentioned above, also continue to build out your network. Having a professional network can be helpful as you navigate and change careers.

There is nothing like having a support system that can hold your account, mentor you, and even encourage you. Consider building your network through professional organizations or on sites like LinkedIn.

Finally, everyone deserves to be happy and well-paid in their career. So don’t hesitate to make the change today!


How old is too old to change careers?

It’s never too late to change careers! In fact, there are people who retire and start second careers that are more aligned with their passions and interests. It’s not too late!

How do you change careers in your 30s or 40s?

You’d follow the steps outlined in this article. Start by assessing your skills, identifying the new career path that you want to pursue, updating your professional brand and resume, and start applying for new jobs!

Fo Alexander

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