Article 5 min read

How to completely change careers in 6 months

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Changing careers can be intimidating. There is some level of risk vs reward when deciding to take the plunge and change your career. Taking the leap can pay off big time both financially and lifestyle wise. Even the best dream careers can become draining after a while. Doing similar tasks day in and day out can get repetitive or maybe you just want a little change. Sometimes starting over in a new line of work is exactly what you need to get rejuvenated. 

No job is perfect all of the time, but if you are feeling trapped in your current job it is worth exploring other options. Some signals that you are ready for a career change:

  • You feel you have hit a ceiling for growth or salary in your career
  • That "Sunday night dread" where you dread the coming week of work
  • You aren't sure you want to do your job for the next 5-10 years

Before we jump into it I want to specify that changing careers is different than just getting a new job. Changing careers means that fundamentally your day to day will be different than what you currently do. A career change doesn't necessarily require you to get a new degree, certificate, etc. but it does mean your average day will change. Every job has slightly different tasks day-to-day, but a career change will be almost always something completely new. 

Before you switch

Before you switch a little bit of self reflection is important. Even though you may be feeling burnt out, that always isn't a reason to change your career. We suggest running through the following questions:

  • Am I sure I want to switch careers? Maybe I just need a new job
  • Will I have to "start over" in terms of seniority, title, etc.?
  • Will I hypothetically make less or more money than I do now?
  • Would moving to a different company (same career) fix my problem?
  • If I were doing this in another 3-5 years would I be happy?

There are different reasons you could be wanting to do something different. Use the questions above as a framework to start thinking through why you are wanting to switch. Changing careers isn't something to take lightly and requires a lot of thought before doing. 

I wanted to call out salary specifically as a reason for switching. Most people would like to make more money and blame their current career for being underpaid. Take a look at industry compensation for your title and career path. Sites like Glassdoor have a lot of good information you can sift through. It could be that your specific company is paying under industry standards. To get the salary bump you want it might just be a job or company change. If you find yourself towards the top of your career income bracket, then consider changing into something new if higher compensation is important to you.

Tactics to change careers in 6 months

If you have decided that a change of pace is right for you, you will need to take some steps to start that change. The key to any career change is making sure that it is both possible and that you won't go broke making the change. Getting another degree is a minimum of two years and can cost a ton of money. Here are some tactics to help you change careers faster than a traditional path. 

Enroll in a bootcamp

Bootcamps are a somewhat new education option that offer a direct path to a new career. They often teach specific skills you will need to get a job directly afterwards. The courses tend to be more focused on careers in tech, but there are also ones for sales and marketing.

Most bootcamps are anywhere from 8-16 weeks depending on if you go full time or not. They cost an average of $10,000, but some offer a payment system where you pay them only after they get you a job. Normally, they will take some percentage (10-20%) of your initial salary up to a cap. It may end up costing you more than the $10,000-$15,000 you would have paid otherwise, but it cost you no money up front.

Bootcamps are a great path for someone wanting to change careers quickly as they offer a quick way to learn new skills to jump into a new career. The cost can be steep, but it saves you a lot of time. There is no guaranteed way of getting a new job, but bootcamps have to be one of the most direct paths possible.

Estimated amount of time: 3-6 months

Estimated cost: $10,000-$20,000

Transfer your skills to a new career

In any profession there are jobs that are somewhat related to your current one. Either your skills can transfer to a different role or you can leverage your existing skills in a new way. Think of what you do on a daily basis and who else might be interested in your skills. One of the easiest ways is to think of other industries where your skills might apply.

Some examples of doing something new with existing skills:

  • Software developer to technical project manager
  • Digital marketer to software sales
  • Project manager to retail management
  • Sales to inventory management

The above examples are all transitions you could make. To do this you will have to rework your resume to position your skills in a new light. The key is to sell your skills as a transferable asset to use in your new career.

Estimated amount of time: 1-4 months to search for a job

Estimated cost: $0

Get a certificate

If you aren't quite sure how to transfer your existing skills you could look into getting a certificate. Most careers have certificates that employers will recognize. Having one of these certificates can give you a leg up on other candidates given that you have gone out of your way to get the skills for the certificate. This is particularly useful if you are concerned with possibly not filling every requirement of a job posting.

Getting a certificate in complimentary skill is like getting a superpower in the business world. The more rare the combination, the more sought after you will be. If you aren't sure what certificate to get, you often can't go wrong with some sort of sales. Your existing skills plus sales are going to go a long way for a company and are applicable in multiple industries.

Estimated amount of time: 2-6 months
Estimated cost: $100-$2,500+ depending on the certificate

These are just a few ways that you could approach moving careers. No ones path will be the same. Knowing that you have some options that can fast track you into a new career is half the battle, applying is the next half. 

Have you completely switched careers before? We would love to hear about it!