Author: Aiden White
The coronavirus pandemic stalled everything in 2020. In addition, the pandemic has shaken many retailers and industries in general. Millions of people have already lost jobs and filed for unemployment insurance. They have no choice other than to make career moves. People who still have jobs may be in limbo; many are getting pay cuts and being furloughed and don’t know if they should stay or start looking into making changes. The decision is indeed a tough one.
Should you consider career moves during Covid-19?
If you have already lost your job, then the answer is an obvious yes. If you are still working then there are several things to consider:
- If you’ve gotten a pay cut, or are forced to work reduced hours, how long will you survive with the federal government’s stimulus paychecks?
- What is the condition of your company during the pandemic?
- Is there any scope for your growth in the company?
- What about employee benefits? Are they still on?
If the answers to these questions are negative, then you should seriously consider making a career change. In addition, I’d also take into account the following:
- Do you have other career interests?
- Is there a side business or job that you can take on during this time?
- Is there an opportunity for you to learn new skills?
- Is there a parallel industry you can enter if your current one is struggling? (For instance, someone in the industry may take on a job as a teacher or a consultant, etc).
If you are in a position where a career change is desired, and doable, but you know where to go from your current position, then take opportunities to figure out your other interests, learn new skills and network, and meet people. This way you will be able to build up your resume, refine your skillset, and hopefully learn about career pathways that you didn’t know before.
Tips to Make a career change during the pandemic
Here are a few tips to consider when you are planning career moves, especially during the pandemic.
1. Be open to all options
Our current situation has made it clear that nothing is certain in this world. There is no 100 percent secure job in the country. So, you have to explore all the options and keep an open mind about the possibilities.
Find out what kind of job opportunities are available. Some jobs may be completely new to you and may seem out of reach. Don’t let that stop you or get in the way of your career goals; apply for those jobs anyway. Anything is possible, and you don’t know what may come your way unless you try for it.
2. Do enough research
Some companies are hiring employees. Before sending your resume to those companies, do a quick research on them. What are the current and ex-employees saying about them? Have they been forced to quit their jobs? If they have been laid off due to the pandemic, then you need to think about your future.
Sometimes, companies fire highly-paid employees and recruit fresh people as a cost-cutting strategy. So, you need to be careful. Next, find out when you would get the offer letter, as that could take several months. Companies may postpone the joining date when they don’t have money to pay the fresh recruits. In medicine, the start date may be changed on your contract. It’s something to be aware of when you’re applying and interviewing.
3. Discuss with people you trust
A career change is a big deal. Smart career moves can help to make your financial life stable. A wrong career move can make your financial life unstable. So, before making any final decision, you should discuss your ideas with people you trust. Tell them why you are thinking about a career change. Discuss what you are planning to do.
Perhaps, your friends can give you insight or give you another perspective on various things to consider during a job hunt, which you have not thought of before. Getting another perspective is crucial, especially when you are considering a career change during the pandemic.
4. Grow your network online
2020 has turned out to be a year of social distancing. You are required to stay at home due to health reasons. This means you can’t go out, meet people, and build your network. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t network with your old colleagues. Call your friends and let them know that you are looking for a job or a career change. Get in touch with your old colleagues and ask them to let you know about new job opportunities. Spread the word that you are ready to make a career change. Lookup contacts on LinkedIn and see if there are mutual connections that you can reach out to. Help may come from any direction.
5. Take control of your emotions
Any kind of change is unsettling. Career change is a massive change and is likely to unsettle you even more. It is as if you are standing on the borderline. Your past is behind you, and your future is unpredictable.
Take control of your emotions. During your job search, take each day one at a time so that you are not overwhelmed with anxiety and negative thoughts. Doubt, fear, and anxiety are three emotions that can unsettle you at this time. Don’t be bogged down. Strive hard and continue to advance amidst all kinds of problems. You will succeed one day.
A great way to get a handle on yourself is to take a step back every time you feel overwhelmed. Take a minute to be objective about yourself; take stock of your skills, re-read your resume and cover letter, and remind yourself of the work experience you already have. Talk to people who know what you’re going through and ask for their objective feedback. All of this can help you re-settle and re-focus.
6. Upgrade your skills and qualifications
Look at the job descriptions listed in various job portals. Find out what kind of skill set and qualifications are required for the career you really want. Do you have the required skills and qualifications? If not, then it’s time to do a free online course and develop a new skill that would give you an edge over others when it comes to getting a job.
If you want to work as an SEO expert, then a certificate in Google Analytics will be good for you. If you wish to work as a graphic designer, then you can do an online course on animation software that has a huge demand in the job market. You have to upgrade your skills and qualifications so that potential employers would love to work with you (and you’ll be able to negotiate a higher salary!)
When you are looking for a career change, there will be a series of new options floating in front of you. Analyze the pros and cons of each new option. Discuss them with your friends. List your strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, the paycheck also matters. Will you get enough to cover your family expenses, reduce credit card debt, and boost your emergency funds?
When you start at a new position, you may have to start from zero. You will be working with new people in new organizations. The work pattern will be different, and the learning curve will be steep. You may have to work hard, in the beginning, to prove your worth, show them that you deserve to be there as uncertain times can bring about uncertain consequences.
Despite dealing with such life changing events, however, it is possible to make it work for you and survive and even thrive. there is a silver lining to every negative thing we deal with. We just have to know it’s there, have to look for it, and find it. Maybe you will have the opportunity to pursue your dream job; maybe the new opportunities you have will provide higher pay or better benefits. Maybe the new job will allow you to work from home or provide you with a better work life balance.
At the end of the day, everything happens for the reason. You just have to make the best of it and make the best decision you can with the information you have at this time.