9 Tips to Kick Start a New Career

Have you ever woken up and dreaded going to work? For some people this happens every day. The question then follows, why would anyone stay at a job they hate? Perhaps people are concerned about losing a great salary. Others might feel like they have little skills in other industries. And many also think they do not have the degree to make a switch. 

But in reality, anyone can start a new high paying career online, and work remotely, with a little tenacity and direction. Sure, it might take a little effort and time to perfect another craft, just as it probably took time to perfect the craft you currently work in. But with so much opportunity and ability to learn and grow in today’s world, there is no reason to stay in a job that makes you unhappy or leaves you feeling unfulfilled. 

If you hate your job, change it. Much of building a new career path includes developing talent and skill in a field, for example technology. It’s not all about a diploma; there are an incredible amount of online services at your fingertips that will help provide you with the necessary experience. For more direction on how to get started in a new industry or job, or how to find out what you want to do, read the following 9 tips on how to kick start a new career.

How to Kick Start a New Career

1.  Reflect on what you are hoping to achieve

Set goals for your career.

Quitting your job and moving into a new career field can be incredibly daunting. Guaranteed, there are a million things racing through your mind right now—how you’re going to pay your bills, what your next job will be, what the next few years of your life will look like as well as a million other concerns, thoughts and worries. 

Before stepping into the next phase of your life, it is important to slow down, clear your thoughts and think about what you actually want. What do you want to achieve in the next year of your life? What about over the next five years? What was your motivation for quitting your job? What are you looking for most in the next job you have? What have you accomplished so far in your career, and what do you have left to accomplish?

When thinking about the things you were able to accomplish in your previous job, consider the areas you excelled in and what led to your progress and success. Likewise, consider the areas that did not go as expected; take stock of what was missing. Also note any new priorities that have come up for you recently. If these goals and interests have morphed, incorporate that into your next job. 

Another great resource in this process is talking to your family and friends. These individuals know you best; they know your strengths and your weaknesses. They know your ticks; they typically have some intuition about the things that will make you happy. Consult with these individuals to see if they have any advice or direction while you find answers to the questions above. 

2. Identify your talents

After consulting with those close to you, as well as thinking about your goals, identify the skill set you have. Maybe you’re an excellent writer. Maybe you’ve always been interested in web development and how the internet works. Maybe you have a knack for spreadsheets and formulas. Make a list of all the skills you possess, and think about how to monetize those skills.

For example, if you like writing, what kind of writing do you like specifically? How could that translate into a career? Would you be interested in writing product articles for websites? Perhaps you want to write a book. If you have a knack for spreadsheets and formulas, think of all the jobs in which you could apply those skills. Follow the same process for each of the skills you have, and see if any of them could align into one career path. 

To find a job that will make you excited to get out of bed in the morning requires actually enjoying the job. Making a list of careers that incorporate your interests is a great place to start in developing an action plan moving forward.

3. Try out some of the things you are interested in

At this point, you’ve determined some of your unique skills, as well as reflected on what you are hoping to accomplish. You should have made a list of how those skills can translate into a job. Now it’s time to put some of that into action. 

Try different things. Ask to shadow a friend for a day who works in a field you are interested in. Spend time researching positions or jobs you might like; based on your research, make a list of pros and cons for each position. Reach out to companies about informational interviews; ask them for a tour of their office space. Ask them questions about the day-to-day of the job, as well as what the workplace culture is like. Ask what they look for in ideal candidates. 

It is so easy to idealize what a job might be like without having any experience in the field. Maybe you think being a software developer would be so interesting. After spending a day working with a friend, or talking to recruiters in that field, your feelings about that job might be confirmed. However, you might also find that the job sounds entirely boring. Doing upfront research is crucial to finding a job which will make you extremely happy.

4. Complete an internship or work experience in the field you are interested in

Now that you’ve researched positions, find ways to monetize your interests. See if you can get a paid internship for a company you are interested in. Though it might seem silly to take an internship after having a full time career, internships often lead to full-time positions. It might take some upfront work, but usually the effort will pay off.

If you cannot find any paid internships, consider taking an unpaid internship, or volunteering to help a company. Though unpaid work is fairly controversial, many employers find relevant job experience far more important than degrees or education. In fact, over 85% of employers feel this way. 

5. Get into freelancing

Another great way to build work experience is to start by freelancing. In my own life, freelancing has become a lucrative side gig. I developed a talent and interest in writing as a young kid. English classes were what I excelled in most. However, I never considered monetizing this interest until my sister (see section one for more detail on getting advice from friends and family) suggested I try it out. At first the thought was wild to me. I was in school, had a part-time job and quite honestly, wasn’t sure anyone would hire me or need my help. But after a while, I decided to give it a shot. My freelancing took off, and my income increased significantly.

The same can be true for you. Put those graphic design skills to the test. Start charging people for the photos you take. Reach out to businesses that need website development. Wherever your interest or talent lies, find a way to monetize that skill. You may be unemployed, but who said you needed a full-time job to make money? Be your own boss. Find your own success.

Another note on freelancing—it does require some level of skill. Though you will improve significantly, make sure to spend time building up your skill level in order to monetize it. Online courses, such as Coursera, can be super helpful when working at the beginning stage in your freelancing career.

6. Build an online portfolio and resume

For any creative industry, or one which requires work experience rather than a degree, creating a killer portfolio is necessary to your success. Additionally, building out a great resume and a cover letter template are essential. 

A portfolio can take on a variety of formats, from a personal website to a .pdf file with your best work. If you build out an online portfolio, link to your work or add your content to the pages of your site. Similarly, show off your best work in a .pdf format. Free services, such as Wix and Canva are great starting points here. If you want an even better portfolio, look into building a WordPress or Squarespace account. The Adobe Suite is another tool many people use to create .pdf portfolios, as well as to build out content to include in your portfolio.

Make sure to research the resume structure necessary for your industry. What is considered a great resume in one field may be a horrendous offense to recruiters in a different industry.

7. Develop a professional network

Professional photographers networking.

With work experience under your belt, and a killer portfolio and resume, it’s time to establish a strong network of people. According to a survey published on LinkedIn, approximately 85% of jobs are filled through networking. 

Most often, when a job opens up at a company, recruiters will try to fill the position internally or through a referral from a trusted employee. Start building out your network by creating a LinkedIn profile. Connect with colleagues from previous positions. Connect with anyone you might have worked with through internship experience, or perhaps through freelance work. 

Then, express your interest via LinkedIn about what types of jobs you are looking for. Reach out to trusted individuals in your network to see if they have any leads on jobs. Message recruiters on LinkedIn who work for companies you are interested in. While you wait to hear about leads, engage with other people’s content on LinkedIn and follow companies you are interested in to stay up to date with what they are doing. Sometimes finding a job is more about who you know than what you know. Building out a strong network will greatly increase your chances of finding a high paying job in the new industry you are chasing after.

8. Finish the project you started

If you recently quit your job, spend some time wrapping up the project you’ve meant to wrap up for the last three years. Finish writing your book, complete that design project, or finish coding the website you started last year. Working on this side project might take away some of your time from applying to new jobs, but who knows what your side project might lead to.

Perhaps you land a new job after showing off your project on your portfolio. Or maybe it helps you realize what you are truly passionate about. Whatever it might be, the effort to finish will be well worth the work. Additionally, once you take on a new position, you’ll be back to having a full workload. Now is the best time to take advantage of finishing what you started.

9. Continue to educate yourself

As previously mentioned, there are many online tools that will teach you the necessary skills to kick start a new high paying profession. Look into online degrees and take online courses. If you are unsure about where to start, check out Coursera, which provides online courses and certificates in a variety of industries.

But don’t stop learning after you’ve picked up a new career. Continue to educate yourself through these online means; keep up with industry changes and more efficient ways of completing work tasks. With today’s abundant access to knowledge, the world is your oyster, and these online tools are only one means to an end. 

Taking advantage of some of the steps above will lead to immense success as you kick start a new career in a high paying industry. There is no guarantee that things will work out quickly. But with time and patience, you’ll find yourself in the perfect job for you; and it won’t hurt if it’s a high paying role too.

If you’re thinking that you would want to work in the field of technology, read our article outlining how to get your first job in the sector here.

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