Changing Your Career During COVID-19: Steps You Can Take
The plausibility of switching jobs in the middle of a pandemic is stirring conversation. Although we are now seeing a slow recovery in the business world, according to an economic news release by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment is still at 12.6 million. With this significant imbalance between job availability and job seekers, does it make sense to take the risk and change careers at this time?
While it may not sound like a sensible idea to some, there are others who are left with no choice but to switch careers. According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, millions of employees from heavily impacted industries are pivoting or switching careers after their positions have become obsolete, as explained by ABC News.
Why Shift Jobs During a Pandemic?
As risky as it may sound, changing jobs during a pandemic can be a great idea. Here are some reasons why:
- You have more time to plan, re-skill or upskill, and to pursue a different job.
- Despite the massive shutdown, there are still companies continuing to operate and hire.
- Being pushed into unfamiliar territory can be empowering, which can help develop and shape your character as a professional. Job hunting during a pandemic can be challenging; thus, it prompts job seekers to be more creative and resourceful.
Whether you lost your job because of the coronavirus pandemic or you simply want to move on from your current position, here are 5 critical steps that will ensure a successful career change.
5 Steps Toward a Successful Career Change During a Pandemic
Conduct a Thorough Self-Evaluation
You need to have a strong understanding of your current situation before making any changes. This will allow you to prepare yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally for an upcoming development in your career.
This includes understanding why you need a change. If you were not let go, identify what is driving your motivation for something new. Is it a management, compensation, or personal issue? Having a clear understanding of your reason for a career shift is vital as it will determine your next action steps and will ensure that any unaddressed issue does not resurface later on regardless of your new position.
You also need to check into your readiness when it comes to finances, living arrangements, and other personal responsibilities outside of work. How feasible is this change going to be in your situation? If it’s going to be challenging, how much time will you need to get things sorted out before you make the career switch?
It is never wise to just jump in blindly when there is already so much uncertainty during these times.
Do a Skill Audit
Identify your strongest skills and compare them to the prospective job requirements. Is there a gap? If so, how are you going to acquire the needed skills, and how much time will you need to learn and develop them?
The key to a successful career shift is equal parts preparation and determination. Identify timelines, action plans, and resources.
Actively Search for Roles
One positive that emerged from this pandemic is that companies are slowly shifting to the virtual world. Even traditional companies are now seeing the potential of the internet and have moved their recruitment processes online. This means you can make use of online resources to search for jobs and do company research.
You can then compare your skills and qualifications with the roles you want to apply for.
Effectively Rebrand Yourself
It is important to work on personal branding and make sure that it is aligned with the role you are applying for. This includes updating your professional online accounts, starting with your LinkedIn profile.
With a wealth of others aiming for the same job, you need to present yourself as an expert in the field or at least as someone with strong potential for the position.
Most importantly, you need to know how to create a professional, functional resume that you can upload to LinkedIn and send in with your application. Also, make sure to tailor your resume for each position, to help you stand out.
Network within the Industry
Whether or not you are new to the industry, you need to network with the right people. This can help you identify opportunities and learn industry best practices. Also, recruiters use referrals as a main source of generating leads because they rely on others vouching for prospective candidates. It’s always possible that your recent LinkedIn connection could be the link to your dream job.
Job hunting has never been easy and is even more challenging now that the world is still fighting a global pandemic. Although difficult at times, adaptability, flexibility, and determination can go a long way.
Before you make a final decision to switch careers in such challenging times, find the time to research and truly assess yourself. If you feel that this move will give you a more fulfilling life and help you grow as a person, then it may be worth the risk.