How to Start a Second Career

Make a successful transition to a new career by following our step-by-step guide.

How to Start a Second Career

How do you feel about your current career? Are you experiencing burnout or have you hit a dead end? The enthusiasm you once had for your career may be gone, but fortunately, you’re not out of options. Here are the practical steps you can take to embark on a second career path.

Why Do People Change Careers?

You may be looking to change careers because you feel stuck in a rut at your current job. Or, you may want a salary boost or more flexibility from a work-from-home job. You’re not alone. In fact, data from Gallup suggests that more people are abandoning the on-site work model for their home offices.

You might also be an industry that’s changing or dying out, like unmanned aerial and armored vehicle manufacturing, on-site retail, or the postal service. By making a back-up plan now, you can avoid future layoffs.

7 Tips for Pursuing a Second Career

Embarking on a career change isn’t easy. But you can make it work with some grit, determination, and planning. Start with these seven tips to turn your dream into a reality.

1. Determine What You Want From Your New Career

Although they’re important, don’t make salary and benefits your No. 1 priority when choosing your next move. Also look at whether the career fits your lifestyle, interests, skill set, and values. Try taking a career test to determine which second career is best for you.

2. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

If you’ve been in the same career for several years, delving into a new one can be nerve-racking. Don’t let that prevent you from taking a step in a new direction. Instead, consider these tips for stepping outside your comfort zone:

  • Research a career that interests you so you know what to expect.
  • Take small steps instead of making drastic changes overnight.
  • Network with people in your chosen field to help get your foot in the door.

3. Drop the Belief That “It’s Too Late”

Old dogs can learn new tricks. If you’re making a midlife career change, just know that it’s never too late to start over. In fact, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the median working age has increased within the last two decades and will continue on an upward trend over the next ten years.

4. List Your Transferrable Skills

Starting a second career will likely be easier than starting your first. That’s because you already have years of work experience and transferrable skills that apply to other industries.

Consider how the skills and qualities you developed in your current career can apply to a second career. If you choose a new career within the same field, you may already have industry knowledge and connections. Soft skills such as adaptability, leadership, organization, and teamwork are needed in every industry.

5. Research Which Credentials You’ll Need

A solid work history and cross-industry skills may be enough to land you a job in a new field. However, some industries require very specific credentials. Take some time to learn about which credentials you’ll need in the career you plan to pursue. These credentials may include:

  • College/Post-secondary education: Many jobs require a degree in a relevant field from a college, university, career institute, or vocational school.
  • Certification: Some fields require certification from industry organizations. Getting a certificate in a new field can also expand your skill set and boost your chances of getting hired.
  • Licensure: Some careers, especially trades, require licensure from a state or federal agency.

6. Update Your Resume

Once you’ve obtained all the skills and credentials you need for a career change, it’s time to update your resume with your employment history and education. Also make sure that your career objective, list of skills, and credentials are relevant to your new field.

When entering a new field, be aware that you’ll likely face competition. Sending a cover letter will help to get you in the interview chair. In your cover letter, briefly introduce yourself, demonstrate enthusiasm for your new field, and close with potential next steps.

7. Prepare for an Interview

At last, you’re at the final step to embarking on a new career. If you have a solid work history, you’ve likely gone through the interview process many times. However, it’s worth reviewing Monster’s list of commonly asked interview questions as a refresher. Give yourself plenty of time to practice your answers and build a rapport with your interviewer.

What Are Some Common Second Career Options?

Want to get out of your current career, but not sure where you want to go? Here’s a list of common career change options.


As a teacher, you’ll be responsible for creating lesson plans, delivering daily instruction, and interacting with K–12 students. You only need a bachelor’s degree and a state-issued license to become a teacher. The great thing about teaching as a career change is you can transfer knowledge from your industry to the classroom. For example, if you’re currently an accountant, consider teaching math. If you’re a writer or editor, English might be right up your alley.

Elementary school teachers typically earn $42,796 per year, while middle and high school teachers earn roughly $44,676.

Find teaching jobs on Monster.

Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents help clients purchase, sell, and rent property. To become a real estate agent, you must complete real estate courses, pass an exam, and obtain a state-issued license. You’ll be eligible for real estate broker’s license after one to three years of working as a licensed sales agent.

The median yearly salary for real estate agents is $73,307.

Find real estate jobs on Monster.

Web Developer

Web developers create and maintain websites. Unlike web designers, they focus on usability, functionality, and interface layouts. If you already have an understanding of the IT industry, consider becoming a web developer. You only need a bachelor’s degree in computer science or programming and proficiency in programming languages.

Web developers earn a median salary of $90,785 per year.

Find web developer jobs on Monster.


As a writer, you will develop content for blogs, magazines, websites, and books. Becoming a writer generally requires a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or communications. What is the benefit of a second career as a writer? No matter what industry you come from, organizations need expert content. For example, if you currently work in tech, consider transferring your industry knowledge to writing blogs for tech companies.

The median pay for writers varies by job type and experience level. Writers generally earn $24.74 per hour, while copywriters earn about $60,082 per year.

Find writing jobs on Monster.


Photographers tell stories or record events through imagery. They set up lighting, angles, scenery, and props, and use photo-editing software. Positions in photojournalism or industrial or scientific photography often require a postsecondary education. Many colleges, career institutes, and vocational schools offer photography courses that can help you learn the basics.

Photographers typically earn $18.54 per hour, but hourly pay in this field can range from $12.85 to $32.98.

Find photography jobs on Monster.

Ready to Carve a New Career Path?

Is it past time to leave your old job behind? Join Monster to embark on your second career. Start by uploading your resume and then browse new jobs you can be passionate about. When you create a profile, we’ll send you free job notifications, customized to fit your career aspirations. Plus, we’ll send you tips for every stage in your career journey, from transitioning to a new industry to leadership to retirement. Your next career starts here.