How to Change Careers Without Starting Over

How to Change Careers Without Starting Over

Maybe you’re ready to change careers. You’ve been wanting it for a while. Maybe you’re in a role or industry that just doesn’t fit the life you want to live or your values. You’ve wanted to make a move for a while, but you’re feeling held back.

→ You’re not sure what’s out there that fits your skills


→ You’re worried you’ll have to go back to the bottom to make a switch


→ You don’t know how you would even convince someone in another industry to hire you

It is possible to change careers or make a pivot without going back to the bottom… In fact,  I’ve seen people change careers and end up with a more senior role, and with ~$80k salary bumps.

And often, what you bring to the table from your previous career makes you uniquely valuable in your new role.

But you need to identify the right role for you and describe your transferable skills.

I used to do presentation coaching for a national fellowship and their candidates. I’ve learned that we need to use the *language of our audience* to be credible to them.

So here’s how to do it when you change careers:

1. Get clear on your core skills and interests

Look at your work history and the past projects and responsibilities you’ve done and identify your biggest skills and strengths that you love using.

2. Identify two or three other industries that interest you

Go find two or three other industries that appeal to you. They might focus on an issue or serve a particular client that lights you up, or they pay well and focus on an area you find interesting.

3. Translate your skills into the language those industries use

Grab a few job postings from those industries and look at the skills and qualifications language they use that matches your skills. There are often parallels between roles—your meeting facilitation skills could be useful in customer sales and onboarding.

4. Describe your skills their way!

Rewrite your skills in their language. In your CV and during informational interviews, use the new language to describe your skills. 

You don’t have to stay stuck in a role or industry that’s not a good fit. You can transition to something new that lights you up, even if you don’t have all the right experience.

Want an additional tool for assessing the career opportunities in front of you? Take my 4C career assessment. It only takes 3 minutes and will serve as a gut check for ensuring you make the most out of your career. Click the image below to get started.

Hi I'm Maya

Mia Scharphie , career coach, headshot

I’m a career coach and strategist with a secret power (I mean, past career) as a designer. I love road trips, graphic novels and helping people like you design the career you love on your own terms.