Changing careers at 30 can be very rewarding, especially if you’ve spent your twenties on an unhappy or unfocused career path. Perhaps that’s not the case for you. Maybe you’re satisfied with the career choices you’ve made but now better understand your intellectual and financial needs. Maybe your position has disappeared or a change in location requires a new start.

Whatever the case, you may be worried about starting over at 30. But remember that the majority of your working years are still ahead of you. This is an exciting time. Making a career change now can positively affect the rest of your life.

Why a Career Change at 30 is a Good Idea

At 30 years old, you’re only at the start of your career. Making a change right now will be easier than trying do so at 40 or 50 (though changing careers in later life is certainly not impossible). Thirty-year-olds typically have fewer financial responsibilities and more time before retirement. Taking a step back now and restarting on a more fulfilling path can have a longterm positive impact on your professional life.

With over thirty years left before retirement age, you’ll have plenty of time to learn new skills and advance in your new career. If not now, then when?

Determining Which Career to Pursue

For those who are changing careers at 30 in order to pursue their passions, figuring out what jobs to look for won’t be much of a challenge. But those who are still uncertain will need to do a bit of work to set themselves on a fulfilling path. Consider these factors:

What tasks do you enjoy?

Most people can find career satisfaction in various roles. That’s why it’s not always wise to limit yourself to a specific job title. Instead consider how you would like to spend your days. Quietly typing on a computer? Speaking with customers? Leading a team? Teaching children?

Think about the assignments that you enjoy most in your current role as well as the ones you dread. Then look for job descriptions that include your favored tasks.

What are you good at—truly?

It may seem obvious to choose a job that lines up with your talents, but many of us don’t recognize what we’re truly good at until we reach our 30s. Think about your experiences in the last 10 years. Where have you excelled? Have you discovered new talents?

It’s especially beneficial to consider your soft skills. Maybe you’re a great strategist but not a natural leader. Maybe you’ve discovered an unusual proficiency for time management. These strengths and weaknesses are often not well-founded at the beginning of our careers. Now, in your 30s, you might have a better hold on what you’re truly good at and thus, which careers are good fits for you.

Which careers align with your experience and hard skills?

Changing careers at any time is going to cost you some momentum. You’ll likely have to take a pay cut or a lower level position in the beginning. This can be a challenge, especially for those whose financial responsibilities are not flexible.

One way to keep from completely starting over is to find a career to which your skills seamlessly transfer. Having already developed relevant skills will not only help you transition into a new career but will help your resume stand out during the application process.

If you want to find out which careers your skills and experience align with, check out Jobscan’s free career change tool.

Optimizing Your Resume for a Career Change

Once you’ve decided you’re ready for a career overhaul, it’s time to prepare your materials. 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.
  • Tailor your resume to each job you apply to.

Learn more:

How to Write a Career Change Resume

Optimizing Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems

Networking and Connecting

Leveraging and growing your professional network can help put you in contact with people in your desired role and industry. While you’re determining which roles to pursue, you can reach out to contacts who work in areas of interest to ask what they consider the best and worst parts of the job. As you get started on your search, you can tap into your network to learn about job openings.

Learn more:

Networking on LinkedIn.

What’s a Professional Networking Document?

Does your resume pass the test?

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