How to Change Careers at 30

Looking at a career change? By 30, you've likely built the foundations of your career, but it's never too late to find a new path.

By 30, chances are you’ve put years of blood, sweat and tears into building the foundations of your career. You’ve advanced through the ranks, learned countless industry-specific skills, and reached a pay rate well beyond entry-level. So, naturally, even considering a career change can be a scary thought.

Thankfully though, a career change at 30 doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, there are more positives than you might think. Changing careers can lead to:

  • Better growth prospects – If you’re coming from an industry with relatively limited growth opportunities, a career change might open higher doors.
  • Plenty of development time – It’s worth considering that you’ll probably be working into your 60s or 70s. So if you’re only 30, you have plenty of time to develop into a new career.
  • Enjoyable work – Most career changes are made because someone is simply looking to enjoy work a bit more. After all, if you are bound to be working for another 30-40 years, it’s important you’re doing something you enjoy.

So it’s all well and good knowing you want to change career, but it’s just as important to know how. To get you started, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to starting a new career.

How to Change Careers

There are 5 common steps for moving into a new career.

Find some career change ideas

Firstly, you need to consider what career(s) you could see yourself doing in the foreseeable future.

Common questions you can ask yourself include:

  • Would I do the job for free?
  • Will it fit my current lifestyle and commitments?
  • Can I support my lifestyle on that income?
  • What would 10-year-old me want to do?
  • Will I still be enthusiastic about the work in 20 years?

Chances are, you won’t have all the answers for every career you’re considering. But if there are obvious red flags on some paths, you may want to put those ideas to the side for now.

Conversely, if one option jumps off the page at you, it may just be worth chasing.


One option if you happen to be looking for a change in the medical world: have you considered how locum medical jobs can help your career?


Consider your existing experience and value

Just because you haven’t worked in an industry doesn’t mean you need to start at square one. After all, you’ve already developed a career and learned some valuable, potentially transferrable skills along the way.

Skillsets like budget management, computer skills, strong competency with common programs and systems, customer service, and experience meeting time pressures are all traits that can help you stand out from the crowd.

This doesn’t mean you should oversell yourself as you start applying for jobs, though. It’s important to understand what you can offer a prospective employer while being honest about what you still need to learn.


One option would be to ask your boss or a co-worker what strengths they feel you could offer in a new job.


Plug any study gaps

If there’s an obvious missing element stopping you from pursuing a particular career, it’s time to go and get it. Studying at night can help you bridge any gaps you may have while still bringing an income in through the day.

Get your hands dirty

Nothing helps your résumé more than real-world experience. Offering your time in a business or industry related to where you’d like to go can always help down the track. And who knows? Volunteering your time might just lead to an employment opportunity with that very business.

Slide to the left, slide to the right

If you’re already working in a large-scale business, making a career change might be easier than you’d expect. You can ask to do a little extra work in the department you have your eyes on, and when an opportunity opens, make the sideways move into the field. Getting a job is a lot easier if the employer already knows your value as a learner and worker, making sideways moves one of the easiest ways to change a career.


And the added benefit for an employer – there’s less orientation through payroll and HR if they hire someone from inside the company!


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