Are you looking to change into a new career or industry but are worried that now is not a good time? It’s been a turbulent period recently, and more people than usual have had to reassess their career paths and direction.
Although it might feel intimidating to do so, we’re here to give you the best advice on changing careers during a difficult time.
Assess different areas and industries
Starting your search for a new career with an open mind is the best way to begin. It can feel seriously demotivating to try to get into a new field, especially if there is a lot of competition. Don’t let any job rejections get to you though it’s all about your outlook!
We admit it, maybe landing a job isn’t entirely reliant on outlook, but a positive mindset can help massively in the hunt for a new role. One of the best ways to stay motivated is to take a step back and think about where you could apply the skills you currently have, or skills you don’t mind working towards, across industries.
It might well be that your dream job is in a field that you’d never even heard of or an industry that you may not have considered before. In fact, the pandemic has shifted the job landscape pretty radically. Whilst roles in areas like healthcare have predictably remained the strongest throughout 2020, acceleration of technology has meant that AI is now a booming industry. They’re hardly the only options, we’ve put together a list of fast growing skill areas that could help boost your post-pandemic resume.
It’s always a good idea to think about your current interests as well. Is your love of true crime documentaries driving you towards a career in forensic science? Or perhaps you adore all the romance surrounding weddings and have a good grip on the prioritisation skills that would make you a sought-after wedding planner?
Start by looking through some job ads. Many job boards have search functions that enable you to look up a specific skill or keyword. A transferable skill like adaptability (more on transferable skills later!) can bring up results ranging from SEO specialist to ESL teacher, and from there, the world really is your oyster!
Once you’ve plugged in your chosen keywords, it’s time to start speed-reading. Which of these job roles sounds attractive to you? More so, realistically, how attainable are they when compared with competing goals in your life?
You might be reluctant to go to medical school, for example, if you want your new career to kick off quite soon, as course lengths can be relatively long. On the other hand, you might realise that being an orthopaedic surgeon is your dream job and that it’s worth the training you need to get to do it.
Figure out what your transferable skills are
Once you’ve worked out what it is you actually love doing, it’s time to sit down with your CV and have a real editing session.
Transferable skills, like leadership, collaboration and software knowledge, are useful across multiple industries, but you’re going to have to gear up your CV for a career change.
Try to isolate skills that aren’t industry-specific, and focus in your CV and in interviews on how those skills complemented your previous roles.
Create projects and start working on them
There’s no need to have a career inspiration Pinterest board (although… it wouldn’t hurt!). Figuring out your inspiration is actually quite simple once you sit down and think about what your likes and dislikes are in a career path, based on previous positions and the transferable skills you’ve just identified.
Do you love mentoring people or do you really dislike people management? These specifics are key clues in the search for a job that you’ll bounce out of bed for on a Monday morning!
One great way to spend your time is to either create or volunteer for projects that are more aligned with your career ideals.
If you adore UX design, for example, build your own website! It will be a perfect way to show off your work to potential employers. It’s a ready-made portfolio, and chances are you’ll learn something whilst doing it.
Equally, set up an Etsy shop to show off your newfound love of embroidery (and business skills!). Make it your mission to provide every neighbour within a 20-metre radius with baked goods once a week or get writing that novel you’ve always dreamed of.
If your aspirations are a little less on the creative side and a little more on the business side of things, why not look into volunteering?
You can find services that are dedicated to matching talented volunteers with organisations that could use the help and who are often open to hiring burgeoning talent and those with less formal experience.
Having a project is also a really great way to keep some structure in your life if you’ve recently found yourself unemployed or furloughed. As the days blur into one, some semblance of schedule can help to realign your thinking and get you into a productive mindset.
Find out which skills you need
The next step is to figure out which skills you need to land a role, and to succeed at it, in your chosen career.
Looking at job ads will give you some idea of preferred skills and experience, and some will list specific requirements for a role. On the other hand, some will be a little vaguer and won’t tell you that your application could probably be helped by gaining some sort of qualification.
For example, your ideal career path might be journalism. Some job adverts for journalism might just list an ability to write, adaptability to all sorts of situations, and comfort in interviewing. All these skills are helpful and great to have, but what the posting might not tell you is that candidates with an NVQ level 4 in journalism are likely to have the upper hand.
So turn to Google! A little research is necessary to find out if you need any new career skills or whether you can get by with the experience you already have.
You could start by researching common courses in that field, then search further, whether through the web or by reaching out to your network, to discover if those qualifications will be of any benefit.
Reach out to your network for opportunities and advice
Your network is an invaluable resource when it comes to changing jobs during COVID.
Not only will they be in the know about the latest vacancies in their industries, but they could potentially be persuaded to put in a good word for you if they have any contacts at companies you’re applying for. Even if nobody in your network knows of any job opportunities, it can still be a hugely useful source of advice.
Invariably, you may well know someone (or know someone who knows someone) who is in the career field you’re interested in.
So get in touch! Everyone likes being asked for advice, and in most cases, your network will be more than happy to share what they’ve learnt through their various job stages. Not only will you find out how to enter the industry and which skills you’ll need to pursue a career, but you’ll also gain some honest insight into what the job is actually like day-to-day.
In fact, a quick chat might put you on a different path altogether, and who knows, maybe a few years down the line, you’ll be the one giving the friendly advice!