Mid-Career Level – Starting a Job Search

It is not unusual for a person to switch their professional role between 3-5 times in their life span. The move from one career path to another is based upon a variety of variables over the course of time. For some, it is to be closer to family and for others it is to serve in a more senior-level role to support professional growth and financial wellness.

In any case, the decision and choice to move into a different professional role is not always as simple as it sounds. Here are a few tips to consider as you make the leap from one position to another.

One of the key factors in starting a mid-career job search is to think more intentionally about yourself.

  • What are your main values?
  • What are your key skills?
  • What is most important to you in reference to a work environment?
  • What education do you think you might need to grow and be competent in a new professional role?

Absolutely, taking the time to reflect on these questions is crucial when embarking on a mid- career job search. Here’s a breakdown of how you can approach each question:

Main Values

Reflect on what truly matters to you in a job. Is it work-life balance, opportunities for growth, a sense of purpose, or something else entirely? Identifying your core values will help you prioritize what you’re looking for in your next role.

Key Skills

Make a comprehensive list of your skills and abilities. Consider both hard skills (technical skills, specific software proficiency, etc.) and soft skills (communication, leadership, problem-solving, etc.). These will serve as a foundation for what you can bring to a new role.

Work Environment

Think about the type of work environment that suits you best. Do you thrive in a fast-paced startup, or do you prefer a more structured corporate setting? Do you prefer working independently or as part of a team? Understanding your preferred work environment will help you target companies and roles that align with your preferences.

Education and Competence

Evaluate if additional education or training is needed to transition into your desired role. This might involve formal education like a degree or certification program, or it could be workshops, seminars, or online courses. This step is crucial for ensuring you have the necessary qualifications for the positions you’re targeting.

In addition to these internal reflections, here are a few more tips to consider:


Leverage your professional network. Connect with former colleagues, attend industry events, and use platforms like LinkedIn to expand your network. Networking can provide valuable insights, job leads, and even referrals.

Research and Industry Knowledge

Stay updated on trends, technologies, and best practices in your target industry. This knowledge will not only help you in interviews but also demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment to potential employers.

Tailor Your Resume and Cover Letter

Customize your resume and cover letter for each application, highlighting the skills and experiences most relevant to the specific role. This shows that you’ve taken the time to understand the requirements of the position.

Be Open to Learning and Growth

Recognize that transitioning to a new role might come with a learning curve. Be open to acquiring new skills and adapting to a different work environment.

Stay Persistent and Patient

Job searches can take time. Don’t be discouraged by rejections or slow progress. Stay persistent, and continue to refine your approach based on feedback and experiences. 

Remember, transitioning mid-career is an opportunity for growth and new experiences.
Embrace it with a positive and proactive mindset.

Starting a mid-career job search can be a significant decision, and it’s essential to approach it thoughtfully and strategically. Here are some tips and considerations to help you make a successful transition:


  • Values: Reflect on your core values and what matters most to you in a career. Consider factors like work-life balance, company culture, social impact, and personal fulfillment.
  • Skills: Identify your key skills and strengths, both technical and soft skills. Think about how these skills can transfer to a new career path or industry.
  • Work Environment: Determine what kind of work environment you thrive in. Are you more productive in a fast-paced startup or a stable corporate setting? Do you prefer remote or in-office work?
  • Long-Term Goals: Clarify your long-term career goals. Where do you see yourself in the next 5, 10, or 20 years? How does this potential career change align with those goals?

Research and Exploration

  • Industry Research: Investigate the industries or professions you’re considering. Understand the current trends, job market demand, and growth opportunities.
  • Networking: Connect with professionals in your desired field through LinkedIn, industry events, or local meetups. Seek informational interviews to gain insights into the role and industry.
  • Skill Development: Assess what new skills or qualifications you may need for your desired role. Consider taking courses, earning certifications, or pursuing further education if necessary.

Resume and Branding

  • Resume Makeover: Tailor your resume to highlight relevant skills and experiences that align with your new career path. Emphasize transferable skills and achievements.
  • Online Presence: Update your LinkedIn profile and other professional networking platforms to reflect your career change goals. Showcase your skills, experiences, and interests in your new field.


  • Leverage your existing network and connections to explore job opportunities and gain referrals.
  • Attend industry-specific events, conferences, and webinars to expand your network and stay updated on industry trends.

Seek Professional Guidance

  • Consider working with a career coach or counselor who specializes in mid-career transitions. They can provide valuable insights, guidance, and strategies.

Prepare for Interviews

  • Practice answering common interview questions related to your career change. Showcase your transferable skills and explain why you’re a strong fit for the new role.
  • Be ready to articulate your motivations for the career change and your enthusiasm for the new industry.

Be Patient and Persistent

  • Career transitions can take time. Don’t get discouraged by setbacks or rejections. Stay persistent and continue refining your approach.

Financial Planning

  • Evaluate the potential impact of the career change on your finances. Consider any salary changes, benefits, or additional costs associated with the new role.

Remember that a mid-career transition can be a rewarding experience if you approach it with a clear plan, self-awareness, and a commitment to continuous learning and adaptation. Take the time to assess your goals and needs, and be open to exploring new opportunities that align with your values and skills.

Start with Explore Careers to look for academic programs that may align with personal and professional goals; additionally, find useful information on possible job tracks.

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Check out Programs to Develop Your Skills page to learn about student programs that can support academic and skill development goals.

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The Professional Development page offers basic resources to support professional and career development.

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The Career Advising Resources page provides resources for those who are supporting academic and professional journeys for others.

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