Changing careers at 30 can be very rewarding, especially if you’ve spent your twenties on an unhappy or unfocused career path. At 30 years old, you’re only at the start of your career. Making a change right now will be easier than making a career change at 40 or at 50 (though changing careers in later life is certainly not impossible). 

Starting over at 30 may worry you. But you’re not alone in wanting a career change. Survey responses of more than 2,000 workers indicated that 66% of millennials (roughly between the ages of 27 and 42) were contemplating a career change.

We asked career specialists how to make a career change at 30 and common mistakes you should avoid. Keep reading to get their expert insights to start a seamless transition to a new career.

How to make a successful career change at 30

Making a career transition requires a plan. Jane Jackson, Sydney-based career coach, author of Navigating Career Crossroads, and LinkedIn Top Voice told Jobscan that “the biggest mistake that job seekers make when changing careers is launching their job search campaign without clarity of purpose.”

Ashley Britten, a Certified Advanced Resume Writer (CARW) and owner of New Leaf Careers based in Hawaii, notices the same trend in career changers: “They cast a wide net, unsure about their ideal role’s shape or direction.”

To get clear about where you want your career change to lead, follow the expert blueprint to success.

Identify why you need a career change at 30

According to Jackson, you should first “identify what you are tolerating and what brings you joy. What’s working and what is not working.” If you don’t have an understanding of what’s prompting your career change, you run the risk of falling into the same circumstances in another career. 

Britten says, “understanding the need for change is pivotal. Ask yourself: What prompts your desire for a career shift? Identifying this need creates the necessary urgency to fuel your job search.”

“For someone to be happy in their job, you need engagement, respect, fair compensation, motivation, and life satisfaction,” says Maggie Zheng, who changed careers to become head of fundraising at Wefunder.

The most common reasons people change careers stem from:

  • A desire for better work/life balance.
  • Wanting a higher salary.
  • Wanting to broaden their professional skill set.
  • Wanting a more fulfilling or meaningful career.
  • A lack of growth opportunities in their current career.
  • Wanting to pursue a passion.

If you don’t define your wants before your career search, you may end up in a workplace that doesn’t align with them. 

Consider what skills you need when starting a new career

Whatever industry you’re transitioning from, you have honed skills throughout your career to this point. The key to making a successful career change is framing your existing skills to be relevant to the career you want to be in. 

Jackson advises career changers to “consider your values, satisfiers, transferable skills, and your level of enjoyment when using the skills you are most competent in.” Your transferable skills are proficiencies you take from job to job and translate to any work environment. You may know them as soft skills.

an infographic showing the difference between hard skills and soft skills

Recent data shows that 61% of professionals say soft skills are just as important as hard skills, or job-specific skills, in the workplace. The most desirable transferable skills are:

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving
  • Teamwork
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking
  • Initiative
  • Dependability
  • Empathy
  • Digital skills

But, it may not always be possible to rely on your soft skills. Jackson says it’s just as important to “identify and address the obstacles to your career transition.” Lack of skills can be a barrier to switching careers. You can take courses, earn certifications, or go back to school for a necessary degree, depending on your desired career.

Before Zheng found a new career path, she experimented to find her new direction. She recommends to “just start talking to people who have cool jobs. Set up informational interviews with them, listen to podcasts, listen to talks by people who are inspiring to you, and also read blogs.”

To find out which careers your skills and experience align with, check out Jobscan’s free career change tool. By uploading your resume, the tool can generate a report of career options you can easily transition into with your skill set. 

Below is an image of the interactive report you get when uploading your resume. The example nurse resume generated a report based on a nurse’s career change skills.

screenshot of the Jobscan career change tool report with a list of career change ideas for nurses

Make a plan for switching careers at 30

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Britten expands on this old adage: “Planning is the cornerstone of successful change, be it personal or organizational.” 

Her advice? “Devise a comprehensive job search plan, including strategies for networking, and skill development. Execute your plan with determination and adapt as needed.”

“Armed with this information,” Jackson says, “applicants will be able to target their desired direction with strong marketing materials—resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile.”

Learn more: The Career Change Cover Letter: How to Get it Right

Your resume needs to be tailored to each job to position yourself as a stronger candidate, which is why optimizing your resume is so important. 

How to optimize your resume for a career change

Your resume may be impressive, but you’ll have to optimize it to make it as relevant as possible. Remember to:

  • Include applicable skills and keywords that align with the job description.
  • Change your resume headline to reflect the new role.
  • Tailor your resume to each job you apply to.

Write a career change resume summary

Address your career change right at the top of your resume in the resume summary section. In the example below, this applicant is addressing their pivot from management to human resources. They highlight their transferable skills and draw connection between the roles to show how their experience can help the organization.

An example of a career change resume summary.

Tailor your resume for your career change

As you change careers, your existing resume will need an overhaul. Optimizing your resume to ensure you include all the relevant keywords can make the difference between a call for an interview and silence.

Use Jobscan’s resume scanner to simplify resume optimization. Upload your resume along with the job description and the tool will generate a report and match score. The report will identify formatting errors, missing keywords, and essential information mentioned in the job description that is missing from your resume.

Learn more: How to Write a Career Change Resume

Write a career change cover letter

A cover letter is the perfect place to elaborate on your career change without overloading your resume summary. Here are some tips to write a standout career change cover letter:

  • Be confident about your ability to transition to a new role.
  • Explain how your unique experience and background is really an asset to the company, not a drawback.
  • Specify your interest in the particular organization you’re applying to and show that you did your research.
  • Boast about your transferable skills and explain how they align with the job you’re applying for.

Track the progress of your career change

Britten urges career changers to often review their job search. They should keep careful records of their applications, interviews, and networking. She advises clients to “celebrate even the smallest victories, such as securing an interview, receiving positive feedback, or learning from rejections.” 

Try Jobscan’s job tracker to replace your spreadsheet and notebook. It’s a flexible dashboard to store every version of your optimized resume, keep notes from your interviews or correspondences, and juggle many meetings and offers. 

The following is an image of the job tracker in action. You can monitor your in-progress resumes, your completed applications, interviews, and offers in one place.

screenshot of job tracker in jobscan

But this dashboard has more than an organizational purpose. Britten advises those navigating a career change to “use this data to analyze trends, refine your approach, and stay agile in your job search strategy.”

Best jobs for a career change at 30

There are no limits to what career you can transition into. But, some jobs need more education, training, or certifications to get your foot in the door. Some of the most compelling career change jobs range from high-tech to other in-demand careers. 

Career change to digital marketing

The digital marketing industry is vast and you can develop a specialization in many in-demand areas, including:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Data analytics
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Paid advertising

Some key skills you’ll need in digital marketing roles include:

  • Communication
  • Writing
  • Research
  • Analytical skills
  • SEO
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Strategic planning

The digital space is critical to boosting brand awareness and drawing in new customers. With a few extra certifications, you can become more knowledgeable about digital marketing.

Career change to web developer

Websites need creators and maintainers. Thus, web developers are in high demand in many industries. It is expected that the demand for web developers will grow by 16% through 2031. The role encompasses several responsibilities, including:

  • Website performance and function.
  • Site monitoring.
  • Troubleshooting website problems.
  • Working with graphic designers and digital designers.

Skills you need to thrive as a web developer include:

  • JavaScript
  • UX design
  • Problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Analytical skills

You can learn technical skills like web development through certifications and courses. 

Career change to financial analyst

If you have analytical brain and a penchant for interpreting financial data, becoming a financial analyst can be a lucrative career. Becoming a financial analyst requires strategic planning and a deep understanding of numbers. This is to perform key functions, including:

  • Evaluating investment opportunities.
  • Creating financial models.
  • Assessing stock performance.
  • Recommending investments.

Some key skills you might need to excel as a financial analyst include:

  • Accounting
  • Reporting
  • Financial modeling
  • Analytical skills
  • Communication
  • Leadership

You may need to go back to school for business or finance. But, every organization has different education requirements, so it’s important to research before you submit your resume.

Career change to physician assistant

The healthcare field is booming, and doctors and nurses aren’t the only medical professionals in-demand. Physician assistants (PAs) are healthcare professionals who work under the supervision of licensed physicians. They undergo training to offer a wide range of medical services, including:

  • Conducting physical examinations.
  • Diagnosing and treating illnesses and injuries.
  • Ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, such as X-rays and lab tests.
  • Providing patient education and counseling on preventive healthcare.
  • Collaborating with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive patient care.
  • Performing minor procedures, such as suturing wounds or casting fractures.

Some essential skills it takes to become a PA include:

  • Clinical knowledge
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Attention to detail

PAs work in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and long-term care facilities. They play an important role in expanding access to healthcare services, particularly in underserved areas where there may be a shortage of physicians. 


Is 30 too old to start a new career?

No, 30 is not too old to start a new career. Many people choose to pursue new career paths or make significant changes in their professional lives well into their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. 

People change careers for various reasons, such as seeking greater fulfillment, better work-life balance, higher earning potential, or simply wanting to explore different interests. With the right mindset, determination, and perhaps more education or training, it’s possible to successfully transition to a new career at age 30 or older. 

It’s important to remember that everyone’s journey is unique, and age should not be a limiting factor in pursuing your goals and aspirations.

How can I change my career at 30 with no experience?

Changing your career at 30 with no experience in your desired field can seem daunting. But, it’s definitely achievable with careful planning and dedication. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process:

  • Self-assessment: Start by assessing your skills, interests, values, and strengths. Identify what you’re passionate about and what you excel at. 
  • Research: Spend time researching different industries, job roles, and career paths that interest you. Look into the qualifications and skills required for those roles. Consider contacting professionals in your desired field for informational interviews. You will gain insights into their experiences and advice for entering the industry.
  • Gain relevant skills and knowledge: Identify the skills and knowledge gaps between your current experience and your desired career. There are online courses, workshops, and vocational programs available that can help you gain relevant skills and knowledge.
  • Networking: Attend industry events, join professional associations, and connect with professionals in your desired field on LinkedIn. Networking can help you learn about job opportunities, gain insights into the industry, and get referrals or recommendations.
  • Update your resume and online presence: Tailor your resume to highlight transferable skills, relevant experiences, and any new skills or certifications you’ve acquired. Make sure your LinkedIn profile and other online professional profiles reflect your career goals. They should highlight your relevant skills and experiences.
  • Start applying for entry-level positions: Emphasize your transferable skills, relevant experiences, and your passion for the industry in your job applications and interviews. Be open to starting at a lower level and working your way up as you gain more experience and expertise in your new career.
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Kelsey Purcell

Kelsey is a Content Writer with a background in content creation, bouncing between industries to educate readers everywhere.

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