A Guide to Switching Careers Midway

Changing careers once you are not a fresher anymore can be challenging. However, it’s also something that is quite doable. As the world changes around us, it is possible that we may reach a realisation that we want to try a different adventure now. Or we may find our true calling much later in our careers. As daunting as it sounds, people have done it and they have done it successfully!

So, what are some things to keep in mind if you are someone planning on a mid-way career change? What can you do and (avoid doing) when you send out your resumes and appear for interviews for ‘new’ careers?

Highlight your experience:

Yes, even if you feel it is not ‘relevant’ enough. We have written about this in our article about making your ‘irrelevant’ experience ‘relevant’. Any experience, in any field brings with it certain wisdom, interpersonal skills, tenacity and high problem-solving skills. And not to forget a wide network!

Highlight these through your experience, so no matter how different your ‘older’ field might be, you can assure the hiring managers that there are enough soft-skills you have accumulated over time to bring enough value to the table.

Show that you have been learning:

Show that you are eager to learn, and have been upskilling. Make sure you have learnt enough about the major waves of change that may have been happening in your ‘new’ field over the years. Make sure you have a decent idea of any new software, programs, tools that are being used, and mention that in your resume.

You can also attach examples of your personal projects relevant to the new field that you may have been undertaking.

Show how you have been using skills relevant to the new field in your old field already:

 This is especially helpful when posed with questions such as ‘Have you ever done something like this before?’ It is one thing to have the soft-skills, but more urgent skills and competencies may evoke some scepticism from hiring managers and recruiters. How does one overcome that? Hiring managers and recruiters have a major responsibility to hire the right person, so it is quite natural that they may be sceptical about a candidate with little ‘actual’ experience in the field.

Showing that one has been using the same or similar skills and competencies just in a different setting, using relevant keywords from the job description, and showing one has been upskilling is the key to help the hiring managers and recruiters overcome their scepticism.

However, don’t brag too much!

An experienced candidate would be a great fit to the team if they will:

  • Offer inspiration
  • Wisdom of experience
  • Be a strong anchor to the team

However, the candidate who thinks he or she is better than everyone, especially everyone younger to them, and loudly claims to do so might not be very good for the team morale. Someone who doesn’t believe in mutual respect and doesn’t see their new colleagues as equal sources of learning and shows rigidity of values and perspective is likely to bog the team down.

It’s best to take the attitude of wisdom and humility in equal measures.

Don’t ask for the moon:

When we talk about wisdom and humility, it also means that the candidate understands the reality of the situation and negotiate according to that. New career means the salary range might be lower compared to your overall experience. The priority should be to listen to that calling and finding the readiness for the new challenge. Of course, money does matter, but it shouldn’t be the only thing that governs the decisions.

Changing careers is a leap of faith which requires the right kind of attitude. An attitude that shows humility, a willingness to learn, and confidence in one’s value, capabilities and wisdom anchored to reality. Showing that one has been constantly learning, and using a similar skill-set in a different setting, and has accumulated great wisdom and network can help one to make that transition smoothly, and nail that interview for the ‘new’ career.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Deciding to Change Careers

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Change is not always easy, especially when it comes to changing careers.

There are questions asked. There is a sense of having had enough of the present career, and at the same time there is a lingering self-doubt. Whether it’s you yourself contemplating over these questions, or someone else questioning your decision, it is not uncommon to find yourself wondering:

  • Will I be able to do it?
  • Do I have what it takes to start over?
  • Is it wise to make this leap?
  • Am I making the right decision?

You may or may not be able to answer these questions with conviction, because after all, sometimes you don’t know until you try.

But there are some things you can keep in mind before you actually take the plunge and decide to change careers.


Think Why:

Why do you want to change careers? Is it because you want to take a leap of faith, or is it because you want to run away from your current job? Is it because your job has been wearing you down?

As we mentioned briefly in one of our previous posts about strategic quitting, it is necessary to think if it is the job or career itself that is the problem, or any particular assignment.

  • Would things get better when that particular assignment is over?
  • Would the storm-clouds clear once that difficult discussion is over?
  • Is it just a phase that you are dreading, and how long would it take for it to pass?
  • Are you threatening something long-term by getting bogged down by a short-term problem?
  • Is quitting the assignment an option? Can you delegate it?
  • Do you want to switch companies?


Making this distinction between a need to change workplace and a need to change career is necessary.



Think What:

Often, we think about changing careers, and stop there. As a result, we might end up in the wrong job. Again.

To get a clearer understanding of your decision, and avoid making the mistake of choosing a wrong job, it is a good idea to think about what you want from your career change.

Think along questions like:

  • What skills do I want to use or want to develop?
  • What type of challenges do I want to face at work?
  • What can I see myself doing long-term?
  • What am I missing in my present line of work?


But thinking about the skills you want to use should go along with thorough research. Read on the next bit.


Steer Clear From Generalised Rose-tinted Research:

Do you want a career change, or do you want to use a particular skill, which can be used in other ways without switching careers?

Researching thoroughly about the potential new career is important. Each career comes with its challenges and unlikable aspects; are you prepared, or willing to learn to handle those?

For example, you may think teaching is the career you want to get into from your managerial one. You have a passion to impart knowledge to young minds. But apart from imparting knowledge, teaching can also include managing unruly pupils, correcting piles of exam papers, repetitively teaching the same material for years etc,.

Taking off the rose-tinted glasses while researching about a new career will give a realistic picture of the scenario.


Prepare a Plan:

If you do decide to change careers, it is necessary to do some planning.

This includes preparing a financial plan.

Changing careers is not the same as switching companies. Sometimes, people might not be willing to wait till they get a job and then handing the notice in the present one. Switching careers can have phases of staying at home.

One might get a new job in the new career line in days, weeks or even months. It is necessary that there is some financial plan to pass those days of transition, where there will be an absence of steady income.

It is also necessary to make a psychological plan to endure those days of transition. Psychological planning can include anything from:

  • Setting up a strict routine, where you divide time between job hunting and leisure time
  • Learning new skills, required for the career change or anyway for hobby.

Psychological planning is necessary to stay sane when faced with the unstructured routine and uncertainty that comes with transitions.

Before you do decide to take the leap, it is necessary to try to make things right in your present arena. One final thing to wonder is if it a career change you want or you want to better the circumstances of your current one.

Changing careers can be tricky, but it’s not impossible. Setting priorities right, researching and planning are the first few steps towards making that necessary change in your professional life!