Navigating a career change 

navigating a new career

The COVID-19 pandemic has given people time to reflect on their careers and what they want out of life. The challenge of landing a job in certain industries has also resulted in us seeing a lot of people going after what they want and making career changes in the process. By some estimates, 1 in 4 workers is planning to look for opportunities with a new employer once the threat of the pandemic has subsided.

According to a recent post by CNBC, if you’re in leisure, hospitality, or another service industry, you’ll likely have a much easier time finding a job than in other sectors. There’s also a premium for remote work right now — some 55% of applicants want a remote job but only 10% of companies offer them.

If shifting to a new career is what you need to do now, especially in a field where there’s a lot of demand for new workers, you likely have more leverage to negotiate as the pandemic has changed perspectives on what’s important. 

You should be very clear on what you’re looking for and research to make sure companies align with your needs, be it flexible remote work or higher pay.   

We summed up tips from a career columnist Jessica Howington to help navigate a new career.

  1.  Commit to change

No matter why you’re contemplating switching things up, it is a best practice for changing careers to embrace the decision. Start by creating a career change action plan and setting job search goals to take your career change from dream to reality. Changing a job role or even an industry you have never done before could be terrifying, but switching gears can also be exciting and motivating.

2. Rewrite your resume and cover letter 

Bring value, not qualifications. Figure out your transferable skills and highlight those on your resume. Soft skills are highly sought-after skills by employers. Include examples of when you used these skills and how they benefited your employer.  

Your cover letter is an extension of your resume. It’s one more opportunity to explain why you’re perfect for the role. So try to explain why you’re changing careers and how your existing skillset has prepared you for and will transfer to the new role.

Making a career change doesn’t require creating an entirely new work history. However, it does require a careful and thoughtful analysis of your skills and experience to help you explain to employers how what you’ve gained in your old career path will help you in your new one.

3. Fill in the gaps

There are several ways you can build new skills and gain experience as a career changer. This includes volunteering, part-time/occasional jobs, freelancing, and side gigs. 

4. Establish your brand

When you are starting over and making a career change, you need to reinvent your brand and share it with others. An elevator pitch is always a good idea that explains who you are and why you’re changing careers. When it comes to branding, ensure you modify your LinkedIn and online presence accordingly.

5. Network

Networking is one of the most successful ways to get your brand known and to find new opportunities. Just because you are in the process of changing careers, although that doesn’t mean you have to start networking completely from scratch.

Start from your current and closest connections to see if they have any advice or anyone they could introduce you to. Get involved in groups in your new career field.

6. Upgrade your skills

Specific job functions may require a certification or skills update. Getting yourself retrained adds another value to your brand. Look for career colleges that offer diploma programs that get you ready in a year or so without leaving your current job. If you live in Ontario and have been unemployed, you may even be eligible for Second Career funding towards your tuition fee and basic living allowances including child care and transportation. Visit this page to learn more!

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