Making a Career Change in Your 30s

Making a Career Change in Your 30s
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It is not uncommon for people to decide they want to change their careers at various times in their lives. By the time you hit your 30s, you have already spent many years, time, and energy into building your career.

To many, this is a pivotal time to assess your choices to be certain they are still the right ones at this point in your life.

If you dread going to work every day, this is a good time to chart your course in a different direction that will make you happy.

Before rushing to write a new resume, you will have to decide in which direction you want to take your new career.

If you have an idea of the industry you are interested in, you are already a step ahead of the game. It could be helpful to send a cover letter to different companies in your chosen industry to see what kinds of opportunities they might offer. Not sure what to put in your letter? Use these samples to get started.

If you have no idea what career to pursue, don’t get discouraged. There are many things you can do to help you make the right decision.


Choosing a career in your 30s is very different than choosing your first career when you were in your late teens or early 20s. You are more mature now and have different work and experiences that might lead you in a different direction.

Get to know yourself again now that you are in your 30s. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What is it about your current job that is leading you to want to make a change? What are your interests? What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing?

What kind of work environment do you like? What kind of work environment don’t you like? What are your career values? What would you choose to do if you weren’t getting paid for it?

Your answers to these questions will help you identify your characteristics and the types of jobs that fit your personality, desires, and strengths.

Consider Your Finances

By the time you are in your 30s, you will have financial commitments that you need to keep in mind. Because of this, you will probably have to keep your current job while you look for a new one.

You will also need to do a financial and budgetary assessment to see if you can handle a pay cut. Sometimes changing career paths may mean you have to start out at a lower pay grade because you lack the experience required.

Transferable Skills?

If you are looking to move into a different industry, you probably won’t have the direct experience in the new field. However, keep in mind that many of the skills you have learned over the years can be easily transferable to other industries.

For instance, stellar communication skills are needed for so many different jobs in many different industries. Write a list of all your skills and see which ones will help you in your new career.

Consider Getting Re-Trained

If you are sure you want to change careers and know specifically what you want to do, you should consider going back to school or getting trained for a new position.

This is exactly what a psychotherapist decided to do when she left her career in executive management. Because she had to work long hours and also had three children to raise, she realized that she didn’t want to continue spending so many hours working away from home.

As a result of benefitting from counseling in her personal life, she decided she wanted to able to help others and become a counselor herself. She earned a diploma in counseling at the age of 38 and credits her successful career change to 60% of training and study and the rest to internal drive and confidence.

Don’t Rule Out a Lateral Move

If you work for a large company, you might want to consider looking at different departments that could be a better fit for you.

Talk to your Human Resource department to discuss the possibilities of making a lateral move to a different area that is more suited to your new career choice.


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