How to Make A Career Change Without Burning Out

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” — Rumi

Stuck. Confused. Scared.

This is how you feel when you hate your work from the core of your being. You have been toiling away for many years. But now you can’t take it anymore.

The money feels good, but you want more from life.

More than money, you want to make an impact. Having people thank you for making a difference in their lives. Waking up feeling excited. Traveling the world while you work. Making money while you sleep. Taking vacations without asking your boss. Working on your own terms. You want freedom.

Above everything, you want your work to mean something.

You can do it. Why? Because many people like you have done it already. Career change seems difficult. But if you take one step a time, you’ll soon get results.

Here is what you need to learn:

1. Understand Why You Want It

Before you take the leap, it’s important to establish that you really want a career change.

For that, you need to probe your mind. You need to ask yourself some thoughtful questions. It’s better to write down your answers. Because they will form the reason for your career change.

  • Do I often catch myself saying that I hate this job?
  • What bugs me the most about work – no meaning, no recognition, no freedom?
  • Do I work for money or a greater purpose?
  • If I do the same work twenty years from now, will I be satisfied?
  • Do I have any interests that I want to pursue but can’t?
  • Will I choose passion over security?

Questions are great to quickly scan your subconscious. Always note the immediate answer you hear when you ask each question. It is what you feel deep down.

Once you review your answers, you will understand your motivations better. You’ll know whether you are letting money drive you crazy. Or you want more recognition. Make your needs clear to attract the right job.

How to Make a Career Change: Know why you want it.

how to make a career change

2. Know Your New Career

Now you’re sure that you want a different career, you need to study the other side of the fence. What do you actually want to do? Do you have specific interests you can pursue?

Some of you already know which jobs to target. Others need to dig a bit deeper.

You need to reflect and find out. Take a pen and write everything down.

Write each of the following:

  • Your hobbies and interests
  • The blogs or books you read often
  • The people who inspire you the most, write their common traits
  • Your best accomplishments till date
  • Your  peak experiences – memorable moments from traveling, relationships, anything

Once you write all the answers, notice the underlying theme. Do you like absorbing intelligent ideas? Maybe you should write your own as a writer. Do you love to talk about movies? Maybe you should start making your own to discover your potential.  

The key is to become aware of the theme and DIVE. Dive deep down into whatever pulls you. Immerse yourself in it. Read books, watch YouTube videos, talk to people – do everything you can to have more reference points. As Tony Robbins says, you need good references to make sound judgments.

Reference points provide you context to make the right decisions.

Once you have the theme in mind, make it your holy grail.

If you want more “ theme juice” like this, here’s a comprehensive list of 15 questions to find your passion. And here’s the direct advice from experts on how to find your purpose.

A heads up, though. It’s okay not being sure about everything. Just choose a certain path and take action. And don’t give up too soon. It may take a few months to see tangible results.

How to Make a Career Change: Examine your hobbies and interests.

3. What if you are afraid?

Fear can be tricky, but it is simple too.

If you run towards it, it vanishes and you feel more confident and alive. If you run away from it, it becomes a nightmare, your self-esteem goes down and you develop unhealthy coping mechanisms.

You know you have a coping mechanism when you come with statements like, “I just really like my wine”, when a friend asks “Why have you been drinking so much lately?”

Understand that fear arises out of uncertainty. Too many difficult questions join forces and scare us to the core. But there is a powerful antidote.

The antidote to fear and uncertainty includes –

  • Knowledge – As you learn more from people, books, and other sources, your vision of the future becomes more clear. 
  • Action – As you take small steps, you get instant feedback. And that feedback is gold. It shows you what you’re doing wrong and which path to choose.

How to Make a Career Change: Kill fear with knowledge and action.

Courage V Fear – Motivational Speech To Overcome FEAR

4. What if you don’t have any experience?

If you think you don’t have any experience, think again. Because all those years you’ve been working, you probably built a skill or two that can be used in multiple fields. You need to find transferable skills that you can use in your new job.

Some skills such as research, communication and mentoring apply across various industries. You just need to take a closer look.

There are two ways to show experience in your new field

  • Find transferable skills
  • Work on a relevant side project

A Simple Way to Find Your Transferable Skills

Career coach Lea McLeod has devised the ETHOS method to help people find transferable skills.

  • E (Experience) – What kind of experience did you gain?
  • T(Tasks) – What kind of tasks did you do?
  • H (How) – How did you accomplish those tasks? List the qualities and traits required.
  • O (Objective) – What specific goals did you achieve with the job?
  • S (Skills) – What skills did you make use of or developed in the process?

Working on a side project means that you invest time to learn a skill, or perhaps do some freelance work, to gain credentials for your desired job. Many career changers do some pro bono work to gain valuable credentials as well as experience.

How to Make a Career Change: Find transferable skills and work on a side project.

5. Stop thinking about money

Most people making a career change are scared of money. They don’t want to take an entry-level job when they’re earning $80,000 a year at present. But that’s how money enslaves us. And that’s where you must know your priorities – money or meaning – which one do you want more?

You need to sacrifice the short-term luxury for the long-term fulfillment. Because you can’t put a cost on freedom and meaning in life.

Save some money beforehand if you need time to make the transition. Don’t spend it on fancy gadgets. You don’t need them.

How to Make a Career Change: Choose meaning over money. 

how to make a career change

6. Become A Turtle

Shamanic healer Brant Secunda has lived with Huichol (Native Mexican) shamans for over 12 years. He says that the one thing he’s learned from them is that they take life slowly. Huichol people take naps, spend time with family and still get a lot done. So take it slow, act like a turtle, if you will.

In Huichol culture, even the 80-year olds carry heavy loads on their backs up and down the mountains every day. They focus on being in the moment and putting one foot forward at a time. So the key is to focus on the present and take it one step at a time. 

If Huichol people can climb mountains at the age of 80, you, being half their age, can definitely make a career change.

So don’t rush it. Define the specific project that will help you with the career change and take small steps. For example, it may include taking an online class or sending out job applications.

Once you know what to do, work slowly but consistently. And soon you’ll make enough progress to get your desired job.

How to Make a Career Change: Go slow. Small steps are sufficient.

7. Take the First Step: Make A New Resume

Making your resume is the first step to making a career change. Why? Because once you have a solid resume, finding a job will only take a few minutes. Platforms like Indeed can help you apply with a single click once you upload your resume.

Don’t worry about the experience or required skills. Use transferable skills to increase your chances of getting that job you’ve been eyeing for a long time.

But writing a resume can be confusing. To make it easy, refer a step-by-step resume guide to learn how to make a winning resume.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while writing your resume:

  • Show Your Passion – Recruiters love to work with enthusiastic people who bring life to their otherwise mind-numbing projects.
  • Specific and Measurable Achievements– Writing “Did Website Design for various clients” is vague. Instead, write “Experience in WordPress based Website Design for medium-level businesses with over 5000 customers”.
  • Keep it concise – On average, recruiters spend just six seconds on a single resume. Keep your resume limited to one page and write concise bullet points to mention achievements.

Bonus Tip: You can copy-paste achievements from your resume to your LinkedIn profile to attract prospects from LinkedIn.

How to Make a Career Change: Write your resume to make job application quick.

how to make a career change

8. Learn From Success Stories

Reading stories is fun. Learn what you need to learn through stories of people who’ve “been there and done that”.

Such success stories will help you choose the right path.  And finding stories is easy. If you want to change to a career in design, google “Career Change to Design Job” and you’ll find crazy stories right away.

You can even shoot an email to the right person, or send them a message on Facebook or Twitter. But don’t be blunt and boring. Tell them what you like about them and keep your query short and personable. Social media can connect you with the right people so that you don’t make as many mistakes as them and bring more clarity to your vision. 

And you never thought Facebook could help, did you?

Well, now you know there’s more to social media than quirky cats.

How to Make a Career Change: Read success stories and connect to the right people.


1.  Understand Your Why  Ask reflective questions and see why you really want a career change.

2.  Know Your New Career – What specific skills do you have for the new job? Look at your hobbies.

3.  What If You’re Afraid – Use knowledge and action to become stronger than your fears.

4. What If You Have No Experience – Use transferable skills or work on a side project

5. Stop Thinking About Money – Long-term freedom is better than short-term gains

6. Become A Turtle – Go slow, focus on the present and take small steps.

7. Make A Resume – Having a resume ready will help you send job applications with a few clicks.

8. Learn From Success Stories – Don’t reinvent the wheel. Learn from experienced people.

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