How to Change Careers in 2024: A Guide


Feeling inspired to make a job hop? You’re not alone. Ever since the great resignation in 2021, when millions of Americans left their jobs, there’s been a major shift and uptick in career transitions and upskilling.

Whether the motivation is better pay, job security, benefits, flexibility, upskilling, or just wanting to try something new, contemplating a career change can be daunting and sometimes scary, but it's also an exciting opportunity to pursue a new passion and find a more fulfilling career path.     

With 2023 almost in the rearview mirror, it may be time to put that career change into high gear. Not sure how to start? We have you covered!

We know that the biggest obstacles in changing careers include fear, finances, and motivation. Below are some tips to help you navigate those first few scary steps to help pave some possible new career routes for your future.

1. Examine Your Current Interests, Values & Skills        

The first step in changing careers is to focus on your current skills, interests, and values. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What are your career goals? Once you have a better understanding of yourself, you can start to identify careers that are a good fit.

If you're wondering which careers appeal to you, consider using the Myers-Briggs career assessment test or Gallup StrengthsFinder 2.0, which identifies your strengths and even helps with resumes and interviews.

2. Research Different Career Options & Fields

A word of advice here: Follow the job trends.

"There has been a major transition that has happened after COVID, and people are realizing they can move to new industries, and move in new career directions...              

Farkas also pointed to layoffs in Silicon Valley, where scores of tech companies have scaled back on IT workers, many of whom have transitioned to government IT work. She also sees a big need in healthcare right now, from billing to medical coding, communications, clinical trials, and more.

Other popular jobs include data science, ChatGPT, AI & machine learning, banking, and paralegal. In fact, more than 90 percent of students that seek employment after completing the DES Paralegal Studies Certificate program find employment. Those looking to switch careers can also use O*NET, a free, resourceful online career and trends guide. Meanwhile, you can check out the fastest-growing jobs and salaries here.

Once you have a few career options in mind, it is important to do your research and learn as much as you can about each one. What are the job duties? What is the salary range? What are the education and experience requirements? The more information you have, the better decision you can make about which career is right for you.

3. Consider Education & Retraining      

If you are interested in a career that requires education, expertise, or qualifications you don’t have, you may want to pursue additional education or training. This could involve enrolling in a certificate program, taking continuing education courses, or earning a degree.

Don't have time to go to an in-person class or training? Online programs are a convenient and great way to develop skills and competencies in an area you may be interested in.

UC San Diego Extended Studies has numerous courses and certificate programs to help get you started on your path to a new career or to enhance your current skills -- from integrative nutrition to digital arts, environment and sustainability, writing, healthcare, early childhood education, fundraising and development (nonprofit), and more.

With numerous options, you're bound to find the right program to elevate your skill set and move confidently into your next career. With today's online learning programs, changing careers is easier and quicker than ever before.

4. Network, Network, Network!       

One of the best ways to learn about a new career and discover job opportunities is to network with people who are already working in that field. Attend industry events, reach out to people on LinkedIn, and ask your friends, family, and mentors for referrals.

Extended Studies students can connect with mentors through Tritons Connect, an online community of UC San Diego alumni, students, staff and faculty. The exclusive Triton network also allows members to apply for a job, join a community group, access a directory of Triton community members, and more. It's easy to join, and you can pull in your LinkedIn profile to make set up a snap.

UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies also works closely with industry professional associations and encourages students to get involved in professional development and networking. A great way to make these connections is through the DES LinkedIn page.

5. Update Your Resume & LinkedIn Profile        

Once you have decided which career you want to pursue, it is time to update your resume and cover letter. Be sure to highlight the skills and experience that are relevant to your new desired career path.

The best way to refresh your resume is through creating a robust LinkedIn profile, which in today's digital world, is essential to connect with future employers and to network, noted Farkas. In fact, LinkedIn allows you to create a resume directly from your profile. Be sure to include any new courses or certificate programs on your LinkedIn profile and resume.

6. Start Applying for Jobs

Once your resume and LinkedIn profile are up to date, it's time to start applying for jobs. Be sure to tailor your resume and cover letter to each job you apply for. You may also want to practice your interviewing skills.


Paving a new career path is not always easy and it can be challenging knowing where to start. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success in your new career.

And remember, online learning and continuing education can give you the opportunity and resources you need to hone your newfound skills and explore different fields and career opportunities.

What are you waiting for?


Posted: 12/13/2023 1:10:57 PM with 0 comments

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