Two years ago, I moved to Los Angeles to try and restart my career.
I quit my well paying 9–5 to go back to school because I wanted to work on movies and write. I purchased a personal-trainer course (goodbye $800) and was planning on getting a job as a personal trainer at a gym to pay my way through school.
LA has tons of gym junkies and fitness influencers; I figured it would be an easy way in. Little did I know that when you start as a personal trainer, you get little to no money, and on top of that, the studying would interfere with all of my actual school work. I also worked at a tech startup a few days a week, but it was almost a 10-hour shift.
Now I was pretty excited about my new workload initially. I thought that because I had chosen a different major for school — maybe I’d be more inclined to actually go to class and study.
The reality was different. I dropped out of school within two weeks. Then, I got fired from the startup for not being able to take on more shifts. Finally, I quit the personal training thing; while I love health and fitness — I get major anxiety during tests.
Suddenly, I was back at square one, with everything fell apart around me. I would have to navigate my way through restarting my career. It took many trials and tons of errors. But, I’ve made it to the other side, armed with knowledge, confidence, and the ability to work for myself.
Here are some tips on how you can restart your career too.
How can you be efficient in creating and sending your resume in?
Your resume should be a snapshot of your experience and skills that are tailored and relevant to the role and company you’re applying for.
The keyword here is “relevant.”
Narrow down your work to one page and share what you’ve achieved and how you did it using keywords and phrases. I googled multiple resumes that aligned with what I was looking for, I tweaked what they had written and utilized similar job descriptions online, and I took notes of the phrases they used to create the perfect resume.
If you think about it, a job description is simply another way for an employer to tell you,
“This is what I care about most, this is what I’m looking for in an employee and I need to know if you can do these things with little to no help.”
How to apply:
When applying for jobs, consider that there are way fewer jobs out there than there are people. Be smart about it; ask yourself what matters to the employer, and what you can do to provide value for them and the company.
Don’t try to add unnecessary details into your resume. They don’t need to know what you were doing for work 5+ years ago unless it’s relative to the role you’re currently applying for.
How can you maintain a side hustle while also maintaining a full-time job?
A career restart doesn’t come without hardships. You have to learn to be incredibly disciplined with your time.
You can’t just talk about getting started or building something — you have to take action every day despite how small they may be. Don’t wait for the perfect moment or when your workload is lighter — you learn so much more by actually doing it.
I maintained my side hustles and a full-time job by setting up a schedule and prioritizing the things I wanted to accomplish each week.
For over a year, my schedule was consistent and planned out to the T.
I woke up at 5 am every morning, walked over to the gym, came home — showered — arrived to work no later than 7:30 — came home by 3 — started working on my side hustle.
Something that genuinely helped me keep going was having a ritual every time I met a milestone. Rituals can be incredibly therapeutic and motivating, so it’s crucial to ritualize the small and big goals you hit along the way.
How to apply:
Utilize at least one day out of your weekend to set up a schedule for yourself to follow.
You only need a few hours of prep to get a week of positive results.
Remember to look at the bigger picture — yes, a side hustle will require priority shifting, you might have to cancel plans with friends or skip out on a date night here and there.
But if you’re committed to your goal, then side hustling while working full-time is doable. And not only is this balance achievable, but your efforts will be rewarded at the end of the day.
Side hustles are not meant to be easy; they’re supposed to challenge you and encourage you to work hard to achieve your goals. It’s okay to struggle; it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, as long you have the right attitude towards it.
What can you do every day to get ahead?
Everybody’s goals and dreams are different. We’re all in different stages of life, and we all want to get to a point where we feel comfortable. A few years ago, I realized that if I want to be ahead of the game, I would have to start doing things every day to put myself ahead.
I started with a productive morning routine, which set the mood for the day and allowed me to set positive intentions.
Then, I moved on to doing things that would set me ahead mentally — like picking up new skills to stand out.
You want to build yourself up; you want to be well-rounded and seem like a go-getter. So why not make some investments into yourself that you’ll thank yourself for later?
The goal of this restart is to always be proactive in building a successful and fulfilling career on your terms.
How to apply:
Start with a morning routine; you don’t need to be up at the crack of dawn every morning but understand that time is money, and if you’re going to try to get ahead — you might need a couple of additional hours in the day.
Ask yourself what you’re interested in, write some thoughts down, and identify whether or not you could commit to investing some time into learning one or two of those things.
There are tons of available resources at the ready; if you’re interested in being a writer — go to the library and pick up some great starter books. Stephen King has a phenomenal book titled, “On Writing,” that helped my writing career immensely.
If you’re interested in coding or photography — there are free and subscription-based online courses that you can take. I’ve utilized Codeacademy several times when I was in tech, as well as Skillshare.
Is there such a thing as a “dream job?”
This is a pretty controversial topic, and honestly? To each their own. My dream job is being a writer who provides value to people and making movies. Your dream job is probably 110% different.
The bad side to thinking that a dream job exists is obviously unhappy in whatever role you have that isn’t your dream job, and plenty of people are stuck in that rut. However, ask yourself, what’s stopping you from pursuing your dream job?
How to apply:
If you’re trying to figure out what your dream job is, do a quick exercise:
- Make a list of 5–10 companies that you see yourself working for
- Ask yourself, “do I align with their mission?”
- Is there room for growth?
- What did you dream of doing when you were younger? Can you still try it?
- In an ideal world, what would excite you enough to get out of bed every morning?
- Did you like your old job?
- Have you ever loved a project you worked on at work?
- What are you really good at?
- What do you absolutely love to do? Could you make money out of it?
When you dig deep into understanding yourself on a more intimate level, you’ll come to find that you know exactly what you want — you’re just afraid of going after it.
How do you get your restart started?
To restart your career, first things first; you need to take a step back and reassess.
If you’ve been laid off, apply for unemployment. Assess the money you have and ask yourself how long you can make it last.
If you have enough money to last, take some time to think about what you want to do. If you loved your previous job, what did you enjoy most? What projects excite you?
When I lost my job, I realized it was a huge blessing in disguise.
If you’re in the same boat and you hated your job before — then think of this as an opportunity. You can start a side hustle, or if you have one already, you could try to make it become your primary source of income. Just get started somewhere.
It’s so easy to let fear overtake and be the reason not to start something.
There are so many people out there who make the leap to start something, and then they end up saying they regret not starting sooner. I was one of those people.
I can truthfully say I regret not pursuing my passions sooner and I regret the wasted time sitting in college classrooms daydreaming of doing something more fulfilling.
Not to say that everything is peachy right now, but if I had the option to pick between starting then and starting now, I would always pick starting then.
When you start setting big goals for yourself, don’t forget to be aware of the challenges that you’ll face. It doesn’t matter if you’re pursuing your passion or working a 9–5 and trying to move up, no job — even the dream job will never be seamless.
So if you want to restart your career, get started today.