Making a Career Change with ADHD: Tips and Insights

In this blog, we'll explore how ADHD impacts professional choices and provide practical advice for those ready to embark on a new career path. Our goal is to empower you with knowledge and strategies.

Key Takeaways

In this blog, we'll explore how ADHD impacts professional choices and provide practical advice for those ready to embark on a new career path. Our goal is to empower you with knowledge and strategies.

Are you considering a career shift with ADHD? You're not alone.

An estimated 8.7 million adults in the U.S. have ADHD.

In this blog, we'll explore how ADHD impacts professional choices and provide practical advice for those ready to embark on a new career path. Our goal is to empower you with knowledge and strategies.

Let's dive into understanding ADHD's role in your career journey and how to turn it into your strength!

Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Career Choices

ADHD often significantly influences career decisions. It brings a unique blend of strengths and challenges to any professional setting.

"Whether you view attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as neurological — affecting how the brain concentrates or thinks — or consider ADHD as a disability that impacts working, there is no question that the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers individuals with ADHD."

However, before you give up applying for jobs and instead apply for disability, consider that many individuals with ADHD may find themselves naturally excelling in roles that require creativity and quick thinking.

a reporter giving the news

"Anecdotal evidence has long tied ADHD to artistic talent and imaginative thought...Those with ADHD tend to perform better on creative thinking tasks than those without ADHD. People with ADHD may also be more likely to take risks, which can lead to greater success in artistic or entrepreneurial endeavors​."

Despite excelling at thinking outside the box and rapidly adapting to changing situations, you might face difficulties with tasks that demand high levels of organization or adherence to strict routines.

However, finding the best career for you is not just about fitting into a role; it's about finding a role that fits you.

Let's delve deeper into how ADHD can shape your professional life.

Download Checklist " 10 Simple Steps to Smooth Job Change"
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Identifying Your Strengths

The first step to identifying your strengths is understanding the positive aspects of ADHD, like creativity, enthusiasm, and the ability to hyper-focus under the right conditions.

For some people, like Cate Osborn, an ADHD educator and advocate online @catieosaurus with a community of over 2 million people with ADHD, it may mean carving out your own niche in the career landscape.

In Cate's own words:

"One of the hardest parts about living with ADHD is that our hyperfixations- the things we get super interested in and focus on-- can wear off.
For some people (like me), that means constantly cycling through jobs or side hustles: "I know, I'll start an Etsy store for my new crochet hobby,"... and [then] you're on to "maybe actually ceramics would be more interesting", then "actually maybe I'm more suited for photography".

People who constantly switch from interest to interest or career to career can be seen as flighty or noncommittal, which can make it harder to get your foot in the door...

Conversely, the silver lining to this phenomenon is that many ADHD people have realized that they fit into much less linear and structured jobs, and the broad range of their experiences makes them excellent in creative problem solving and independent operator roles.

Traditional corporate work environments can feel limiting or repetitive, which can lead to much lower job satisfaction for the ADHD population.

a tattoo artist working on tattoos

If you struggle with jumping from one hyperfixation to the next, take time to reflect on past experiences. The skills you've learned may transfer into a new field. Make a list of everything you know about or excel in. List your strengths and skills that shine through in your passions or activities. Note the skills gained from each job or hobby.

This exercise highlights your talents and how they can transfer to a new career.

Acknowledging Challenges

Be aware of common ADHD-related challenges in the workplace, such as time management issues, distractibility, and difficulty in maintaining long-term focus on mundane tasks.

According to Cate Osborn:

"I have two masters' degrees in Shakespeare, but I am a full time creator, author and speaker... the skills I learned in theatre and academia and years of ADHD hyperfixations- research, acting, performing, writing, improv, marketing myself, building websites and graphic design and photography and even how to alter my own clothes-- all of those skills coalesced into a career that didn't even exist-- I created it for myself.
I built a job that constantly changes, that allows me to research and hyperfixate on different topics, that allows me to continue performing and writing and teaching, and I get to do it on my own terms-- I just had to step outside of traditional corporate culture to do so."

And if you, like Cate, love creative arts like filmmaking, learn more with a course such as MediaU's Marketing & Distribution Roadmap For Independent Filmmakers

a person holding a clapper board

Consider Jobs Others With ADHD Diagnosis Enjoy

Explore career paths that align with your natural skill set. For instance, jobs that offer variety, creativity, and flexibility can be a good fit.

You might consider a career in cannabis with online courses from Unmudl:

Or, if you love learning how computers work, you might consider a course that helps you learn skills outside the norm, such as:

a person using a laptop

Four ADHD Generalized Qualities and How They Affect Your Career Path

1. Energetic Approach to Work

Individuals with ADHD often possess a vibrant energy that can be an asset in tackling work challenges or enduring long hours. This high level of energy often enables employees to achieve more in less time. In a work environment that values efficiency and productivity, this trait is advantageous.

If you enjoy intense work with a hands-on approach yet have an insatiable curiosity about mechanics and how things work, mechatronics might be the field for you.

a mechanic

Consider FREE Trial Mechatronics Courses. These courses are offered through Unmudl and you don't need a credit card to begin. Any progress you make in the free trial can be transferred if you choose to purchase the course and start making progress toward a job-ready certificate. Many are landing jobs at Fortune 500 companies with this certificate program!

2. Innovative Thinking

People with ADHD are often naturally innovative thinkers. If you're a different type of thinker. you might find innovative and unconventional solutions, a skill greatly valued in today's dynamic work settings.

You might consider a career in finance outside the norm. After all, who knows where the future of money is going?

3. Intense Focus

Known as hyperfocus, this trait involves deep concentration, often to the extent of tuning out external distractions.

Hyperfocus enables individuals with ADHD to devote sustained attention to tasks, enhancing productivity. Hyperfocus can significantly contribute to workplace efficiency.

Consider Sally Price, a marketing specialist with ADHD and autism working with an agency, but at home. She writes blogs about the finer points of law topics for legal firms. In her words:

"I love working from home, being able to make my own schedule and take time for my kids or my own hobbies when I need to. At the same time, I can lose myself in writing about almost anything, even law topics. Hours will go by writing a blog and I'll forget to eat because I'm so absorbed."
a person holding a phone and writing on a book

If you have a creative knack for explaining complicated ideas to others, like Sally, consider a technical writing certificate. Technical writing isn't just about manuals for software. It also includes fields such as medicine, law, and grant writing. Consider this course from Unmudl to get started: Technical Writing Certificate

4. Rapid Problem-Solving Ability

The impulsivity associated with ADHD can be redirected into rapid and effective problem-solving. When harnessed and managed appropriately, this trait allows for quick identification and resolution of issues.

This aspect of ADHD, when understood and utilized correctly, becomes a valuable skill set in various professional scenarios.

a person pointing at a machine

If you have an interest and hyperfocus in an area, you can likely make it work for your job search. Maybe you want to try your hand at marketing? Here are some ways to get started:

Preparing for a Career Change

Embarking on a career change with ADHD isn't just about choosing a new job. It's about aligning your career with your unique strengths and needs. Let's explore the essential steps of preparing for a successful career transition.


All you need to start seeing yourself in a new light is something to write with.

  • Start with a thorough self-assessment. Reflect on what you enjoy doing and what you're good at. Don't worry about organizing it yet. Just get your thoughts down.
  • Consider how your ADHD traits have influenced your work preferences and performance. What do you need in a workplace? What prevents you from getting things done? Is it boredom or lack of focus? A need to be constantly moving? A need to create your own environment?
  • Identify the environments where you thrive. Do you prefer fast-paced settings? Consider roles where your unique approach to problem-solving and ability to think on your feet are valuable.

Setting Realistic Goals

Set clear, achievable career goals and then break down goals into smaller, manageable steps to maintain focus and motivation.

Let's say you'd like to become a realtor. You like to think on your feet and be around others. You might write down your first step as taking a course in Real Estate Principles and Practice.

Once you finish the course, you may gather momentum by joining social groups and meeting other realtors who can help you get started in your new field. Then, you may decide to work toward real estate licensing in your state. Each step brings you closer and helps you see that you can keep moving forward.

a person holding a key and winking at the camera

Exploring New Opportunities

Research potential careers that align with your self-assessment. Look for roles where ADHD traits are an asset.

Consider Leana Tran-Le and her journey to a suitable career path.

"My educational background is in engineering but it did not work well with my ADHD. With my ADHD, I can only hyper-focus for 30 minute increments, but thrive when I have a million small tasks to manage.
I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2018 but was already on my career journey as a project manager. [One] misconception about ADHD is that we cannot thrive in high-pressure environments, but I found that it made me more focused and work better. When Covid-19 hit in 2020 and my company went remote, I actually found that a remote work option was so much better for me.
I now run my own blog giving career advice to help people find their ideal career path. Here are some other jobs that I personally think would suit individuals with ADHD."

For Leana, she needed to find a way to make her ADHD diagnosis work for her and her career. She did some self-awareness work and learned what worked for unique struggles and strengths through trial and error.

Acquiring New Skills

Identify skills or qualifications you need for your new career. Consider online courses or workshops.

a group of people standing next to a wall

Let's say you enjoy helping others get along. You naturally come up with innovative ways to nurture others and help them connect. Here are some ways to continue learning and gaining credibility in this field from the comfort of your home.

Preparing Mentally and Emotionally

Acknowledge the emotional aspects of a career change. It's normal to feel uncertainty or anxiety. You may want to develop coping strategies for stress. This might include mindfulness techniques or regular exercise.

Looking for an ADHD coach or counselor specializing in ADHD could also help identify your strengths and career goals. Don't let low self-esteem from past struggles get you down. Remember, failure is only a stepping stone to learn what doesn't work for you!

If your ADHD symptoms prevent functioning, even in areas you enjoy, consider an ADHD treatment like nootropics or other medications.

Remember, a career change is not just a professional move; it's a step towards a more fulfilling life. So take this step with confidence and clarity, understanding that your career options are wide open!

Navigating the Career Change Process

The process of changing careers with ADHD involves more than just applying for new jobs; it's about strategically positioning yourself in a role where your ADHD becomes a strength, not a hindrance.

a person holding a camera

Here, we'll explore key steps to navigate this process effectively.

Job Searching with an ADHD Diagnosis

The job search can be overwhelming, especially when managing ADHD.

  • Start by creating a structured plan.
  • Set aside specific times each day for job-related activities.
  • Use tools and apps to keep track of applications and follow-ups.
  • When looking at job listings, focus on roles that match your strengths and work style.

Remember, it's about finding a fit for you, not just fitting into a role.

Staying Organized and Focused During Your Job Search

Organization is crucial during a career change. With ADHD, this might seem challenging, but there are effective strategies for achieving success with your ADHD brain.

  • Use visual aids like calendars and to-do lists to keep track of your job search activities.
  • Break down each task into smaller steps to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Set realistic deadlines for each step

Remember to celebrate small victories to maintain motivation. Every time you accomplish a task or work for a longer period of time than usual on something you find boring, do a happy dance or at least give yourself an acknowledgment that you are thriving despite your unique way of thinking!

Crafting Your Resume and Cover Letter

Your career change resume and cover letter are a potential employer's first impressions.

  • Tailor them to highlight how your unique traits make you an ideal candidate for the role.
  • Focus on achievements that demonstrate your strengths, like problem-solving skills or adaptability.
  • Be honest about your career journey, showcasing how your experiences have prepared you for this new path.

Consider the skills you already have that will transfer into a new job search and the personality traits that will help you in your new endeavor.

"The first step to making the most of your ADHD-related strengths is to pinpoint the positive aspects of your symptoms... However your ADHD presents, there are steps you can take to leverage your strengths and find greater success."​

Preparing for Interviews

Career change interviews can be challenging, but with preparation, you can turn them into opportunities to shine! Practice common interview questions and prepare concise, impactful answers.

Think of examples from your past experiences that demonstrate your strengths and how you've managed challenges. During the interview, don't be afraid to ask for clarification if needed, and be open about the work environments in which you excel.

Navigating a career change with ADHD is a journey of self-discovery and growth. By staying organized, focusing on your strengths, and preparing thoroughly, you can make this transition a successful and fulfilling experience.

So move forward with confidence and resilience, ready to embrace the new opportunities that await.

We Can Help

At, you'll find a learning approach that's tailored to your unique needs, especially if you're considering a career change and have ADHD. This platform offers online and on-demand classes, giving you the freedom to learn new skills at your own pace.

It's perfect if you prefer a self-directed learning style, allowing you to focus deeply on subjects that interest you, free from the usual classroom constraints and distractions.

With a wide array of courses from Unmudl's network of community colleges, you have the opportunity to explore various skills and industries. This variety is crucial as you seek to find your niche.

The flexibility of online learning, combined with practical, skills-to-job training, makes Unmudl an invaluable resource, empowering you to venture into new industries or enhance your current skills, paving the way for success in your chosen career path.

So, if you're ready to take the next step in your professional journey, Unmudl is here to support you every step of the way.

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