The Psychology of Changing Careers

A step by step guide on how to switch careers and the psychological thought process behind it!

Career changes can happen for various reasons, providing job seekers with new and fulfilling opportunities. When considering switching careers, understanding the mental pros and cons are important. This is why you should research professional options as to why a change is required in the first place. In this article, we discuss what a career switch is and provide tips on how to do so effectively.

Changing Careers: What Does It Mean?

Switching careers can be defined as pursuing an occupation outside of your current company. A prime example of this is that you may start your career in the healthcare industry and decide to move into government. It would not always imply an industry change. You can also look for a job in the same field if a different management style will help accomplish your career goals.

Now you might be pondering on this decision to have a more flexible work schedule or to advance internally within an organization. Some people are motivated to earn higher salaries whereas others are wanting to limit their travel for work. The psychology behind this change can be anything from wanting to work under a different employer or derive more value in the role. 

Signs It’s Time to Change Career

So yeah, you’re still working your old job. The usual trudging back and forth to the same workspace every day, showing no opportunity for improvement and growth. Working for the boss who constantly overlooks you for promotion twice now.

So how do you know it’s time for a change? A change of job, or a change of scenario? That is the question. The first thing to do is establish the root of the problem. See if it’s the place, the job itself or your life situation that you hate. Ask yourself whether that could make you happy doing a job but somewhere else? But is it also true that some jobs always leave you undervalued and overworked? If that’s the case, think about making a career change now. These are signs that you should look elsewhere:

Your Body is Telling you Enough


Do you also get Sunday nightmares? This is also one of the biggest signs that you should look elsewhere for opportunities. It’s no wild luck that these weekend-night-specific anxious moods come out of nowhere. Your body subconsciously knows what’s going to happen on Monday and it’s never happy about it. There are given headaches, tension in your muscles, and migraines are all signs from your body that this career is wrong.

Have this checklist ready:

  • Do you always feel exhausted?
  • Will you always struggle to concentrate?
  • Aching limbs?

Your Job Impacts Self-esteem

Another big sign is that you start to doubt yourself and the work that you do. This is an indication that something drastic needs to change in the working environment. Staying in a career that makes someone doubt themselves as a person is never going to be worth it. There should be a level of self respect no matter what the pay or perks are. No incentive is worth giving up on yourself. It hampers your growth and seriously impacts long-term emotional wellbeing, making the smallest task seem impossible. A successful career should be a boost to your confidence and self-esteem, not the opposite of that.

This should be your Checklist:

  • Feeling less confident in your decision-making?
  • Your suggestions aren’t being taken on board?
  • No opportunity for growth or progression?

You’re Only There for the Money

The Beatles once famously sang “Money cannot buy me love ”, it’s a song that is synonymous with your heart not being in the job. Having more than enough money is everyone’s goal. But sacrificing your own happiness is not worth it at the end of the day. Choosing a career that brings out the best in both abilities and satisfaction beats anything else. Material things never make up for hating on a job. Even with the best attire, you would still be walking to the same office everyday. 

You Dream of a Different Career

You might be spending your time sitting at a desk, dreaming about another career, googling jobs and bookmarking ideal companies. This is a sign then you need to get out of your job and into a career that actually holds your interest.

There is an old saying that says “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” and sums up the concept that one should listen to their heart. Allow yourself to make changes to your career to make it happy.

Make this checklist for this yourself:

  • You always have a browser tab open on a jobs listings website
  • You’re often reading about the careers of individuals that you admire to distract from the mundane jobs
  • At a party, you often find yourself avoiding the big talk about your work and job. This is because  you want to do something different

You’re Lacking Energy and Eternally Bored

Work is all about practicality and determination. No one expects to be fascinated by work tasks everyday. Everyone has days where we lack the energy and enthusiasm to be at the top, performance wise. But if one feels like this every single day, then there is definitely a problem at hand. You may find one task annoying but finding the whole organization boring means it’s time for a change. Reduced energy levels can also be a major sign that something’s not right and that your career needs a shake up. 

Your checklist should comprise of the following:

  • You find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning, especially when leaving for office.
  • There is a never ending stress on your mental and physical health. 
  • You find yourself extremely tired, it’s also very hard to stay awake in meetings.
  • People who are bored have nothing to contribute and can never sustain enthusiasm.
  • Time seems to pass by extra slowly with each day.  This is a great opportunity to ask yourself the  big question. If you could leave your job right now, would you?

Changing Careers: How to Change Career Paths?

There is an obvious sense of strain on the mind when wanting to pursue a different career. This is how you can take a stress free approach to experiencing a breakthrough in work life.

Consider Your Motivation And Inspiration

Your thoughts about switching careers have been brewing for a while, this is a sign for some self-reflection. Ask yourself these important questions:

  • What do I like most about my current role?
  • What do I not like about my job?
  • What drives me beyond day-to-day responsibilities in the current job setup?
  • Are there any growth opportunities I want to see in my career?
  • What’s missing in my role?
  • How would a new industry help find that?

Understanding these motivations can help you set the right intention and focus on the right direction as you look for new openings. I would advise you to write your resume, and prepare for a new search. .

Craft Different Resume and Cover Letter for Every Application

This is a universal truth, no matter where you apply, your CV will need a makeover. One of the most arduous tasks is demonstrating previous experience and how they can be applied to the new job.

By conversing with hiring managers, it’s easy to see that the goal should be to emphasize accomplishments to offset a lack of experience in their particular industry. Here’s how.

Resume Summary

You can start by adding a summary section to the top of your resume to show the hiring manager that a career change is in progress. This is helpful in showing interested companies that you are wanting to transition. Always add your experience in years and communicate with prospective employers to understand the hiring process. 

Rely on Skills, Not Work Experience

It’s an industry secret but most hiring managers prefer to not highlight a chronological list of work history. This is because it’s more likely to make recruiters question whether you actually are suitable for the role. The best way to go about this is by placing that information at the end of the resume. Group your experience under specific skills. For example, categorizing terms like ‘Data Analytics’, makes it easier to highlight the abilities one possesses.  

Now comes the important part. Under each skill, include your experience as well as achievements. It does not matter even if they’re from working at a previous company. Skills that you may have acquired by doing non-professional or volunteering work count just as good. This can include instances where you helped your friends and family with their income taxes. Just that experience can be considered relevant to an accounting position. 

The Big Interview

Even after seeing all the achievements, the hiring manager is more likely to be interested in why you wish to leave your current job or industry. This is more likely a test that many leaders want to hear so they know you are departing for the right reasons. Aspects like better job opportunities, growth challenges, and professional development. Recruiters especially also want to hear guarantees about the role performance. Job seekers should be able to convince managers about their intentional, well pondered reasons for the change. This will make them more comfortable in giving you a shot.

Hiring managers are always looking for passionate employees who can commit to the role, they are put off, disenchanted by people that come across as disingenuous. Here are some core aspects that hiring managers look for.

  • The amount of research on the company and the role being interviewed for?
  • Having an engaging story that highlights both skills and experience to help the interviewer understand why you’re the perfect fit for the role?
  • What are the soft skills you possess that can help the hiring manager see you as the best candidate? This can include your level of self-awareness during an interview, and the ability to articulate your thoughts. 
  • The ability to collaborate and lead a global or remote team.
  • How genuine a candidate is during the interview? Interviewers want to know and understand the person, not just as a potential hire but also as a human being
  • Do you ask thoughtful questions about the role and the company?

Changing Careers: Conquering The Mind?

At the end of the day, it’s all about your thought process and the mental capacity to make timely decisions. It’s important to understand what you want and outline every single aspect when it comes to career change. Working is no longer a chore, there are far too many opportunities today, meaning job holders and seekers can follow their passion without any limitations. This is why a career is no longer the end of anyone’s story. There are always chances of growth and progression. 

Yes, it’s true that changing careers comes with its own stress. But this can be an extremely rewarding process. Change is now imperative. The essential part is comprehending our own thought process. Have an honest discussion with yourself while setting all the perks and incentives aside. This can allow one to make a life changing decision while being completely rid of any burden. Why waste your time and capabilities in a place where they are not being utilized. Furthermore, as workplaces embrace more flexible and non-traditional roles, there’s no better time than now to take the plunge. It’s now or never. 

There we have it, our own take on changing careers and why it’s important to psychologically look at every single aspect that can affect one’s future. You can always reach out to us and add any insights on why and how a career can be changed. Our comments are always open and awaiting your interaction!

Featured Image: Cloudfront


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