Career Transitioning in the Age of COVID
Due to massive layoffs and pay cuts experienced during the current pandemic, many people are thinking about making career changes. Some believe that it is the right time, while others are worried about their prospects due to the increased uncertainty. So, how do we strike a balance between the need to ensure our basic survival and our desire to move up the career ladder in the middle of a pandemic? This guide provides some of the ways you can reinvent your career during COVID-19.
Start with a personal evaluation
The first thing you should do before you make a career transition is to consider where you are currently. A self and situational evaluation will help you determine whether it is the right time to change to another career, the reasons why you need to switch careers and whatever you need to make it happen. Below are some of the questions you can ask yourself to understand your current situation.
Will a career change provide a solution to my challenges?
Since shifting your career in the middle of a pandemic comes with its unique challenges, you need to re-evaluate why you want a new career. This question will help you check possible alternatives that can solve your problems without necessarily changing your career. For example, if you are not happy with your current roles at work, the problem can be your company or manager but not your career.
Is the change worth the challenges?
Since you will face some challenges during the transition, you need to evaluate whether the benefits of the career change are worth the challenges. Changing careers might be stressful, costly and time-consuming, but it can be worth it if the new career gives you the needed satisfaction.
Am I ready for the challenges?
Making a career transition will require you to build relationships, improve your skills and much more. Therefore, you should ask yourself whether doing so is possible now.
Perform a professional audit
It is important to understand your qualifications, qualities and values before you start your career transition. This will help you identify the career options at your disposal or what you need to do to position yourself as an ideal candidate. The questions below will help you evaluate your situation.
Which skills do I currently possess?
Soft skills help you bond with others in the work environment and are major determinants of how you perform at work. Consider your communication skills, problem-solving skills and any other soft skill that can bring value to your targeted role.
What hard skills do I have?
Hard skills are the abilities you have gained from your education or on-the-job training. They include your programming skills, management skills or various technician skills. Knowing the hard skills you possess will help you identify the industries you best fit and the additional skills you need for the new career.
Which skills am I required to build?
Once you have identified the skills you possess, you need to consider the additional skills you need to become a suitable candidate for the new job. These can be some new skills that require you to enrol in a college or something that you only need to polish. For example, a person who aims to become a medical receptionist can consider online education if they lack enough time for a conventional course.
What is my dream job?
Have a list of your dream jobs starting from the most possible to achieve currently and then your most ambitious ones. This will help you identify the entry positions that can help you gain the experience required for your ideal job.
Conduct a deep analysis of career paths
If you are considering changing your career, you need to conduct a deep analysis of the possible career paths because there may be opportunities that you may be interested in and qualify for but you have not yet identified them. Search for job websites and any job-related websites to learn more and check what is trending.
Reading job descriptions can be better than just focusing on the title as it will help you identify similar jobs with different titles in varying organisations. If there is a position you are interested in, check the job description to determine your suitability and any extra skills that you may need.
Settle on the most realistic jobs
The next step after discovering your career path is to select your best roles based on factors like your qualifications, possible entry barriers and the available opportunities. If you are eyeing several positions, make sure that they have similar job descriptions. This will help you determine the additional skills you need and how to approach your job search.
Getting the skills needed for the job will be easier if you have a particular position in mind. You can consider less costly online courses that will give you the skills that might take you longer to earn in a degree programme.
Start the job hunt
You can now start looking for your dream job in a new industry. However, you should be aware that you may be required to be more aggressive due to the economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can set weekly application goals and ensure that all the applications are customised to meet the job description.
It is also important to follow up your applications through channels like the employees in the companies where you made an application or connecting with hiring managers through social networking sites.
Lastly, you need to keep your interview skills fresh by practising even before you have an interview scheduled. Research common interview questions and industry specific questions and find answers to strengthen your confidence.
Changing careers during a pandemic is undoubtedly challenging, but the desire for success should be the motivator to help you see the process through. The processes may be similar to what will be required of you when switching careers during normal times, but you may be required to work harder due to the current economic hardships. Following the above tips above will help you have a smooth career transition, even in the current crisis.
It’s time to build your career.
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