Living through a pandemic for more than a year has put everything — including our careers — in perspective. While some may be considering a career change because they’ve realised they’d rather spend their time doing something else, for the estimated 114 million people worldwide who lost their jobs in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 or the lockdown, it may be more a matter of necessity. Either way, research out of Microsoft’s Work Lab estimates that nearly half of the workforce (46%) are planning to make some type of career pivot or transition.
But there’s a difference between deciding to make a career change in a general sense, and actively taking steps to make that happen. To make that process smoother, FlexJobs has created a career change checklist to help you figure out your next move. Here’s what to know.
Do you actually want to change careers, or do you just hate your job?
Anyone who has had a terrible job or boss understands the enormous impact it can have on other aspects of your life. But just because you’re not a fit for a particular role or a certain company doesn’t necessarily mean that you’d be happier in an entirely new career.
On the other hand, maybe you got a job when you were younger — thinking it would be a temporary thing — and then all of a sudden 15 years have passed and, without realising it, you stumbled into a career you never chose. And while it may be tempting to jump right into the job hunt, it can be useful to take a step back even further, and evaluate whether changing careers is your best option.
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This is the first of three parts of the FlexJobs career change checklist, designed to help you determine whether a change would, in fact, do you good, and if so, which fields might be the best fit:
- Evaluate and identify your reasons for making a career change.
- Determine if your intended career matches your lifestyle, and if not, what might need to change.
- Take any assessments that will help you discover more about your goals.
- Reach out to people in your networks (family, friends, and professionals) to find others who do the work you’re interested in and ask for their tips and advice.
- Consider working with a career coach or career counselor.
- Create a timeline and game plan for yourself to help you stay on track as you make your career transition.
- Decide on the type of flexibility you want and how you will incorporate that in your job search.
- Analyse your current skills and experience to find transferable skills.
- Think about which soft skills you possess that you can use in your new career.
- Create a strategy to address your career change in your resume, cover letter, and interviews.
- Identify avenues you can take to gain more skills and experience in your new field, such as volunteering.
The next two sections of the checklist focus on the actual job search, and those are ready for you if/when you’re ready to take the next step.