How to change careers during a pandemic

There are many reasons you may be looking to switch your career in the wake of COVID-19. Perhaps working from home has changed the way your job functions, or staff reduction has altered your responsibilities. Maybe you are between jobs and want to take this opportunity to make a bigger change. The very idea may seem intimidating, but rest assured, it is possible to change your career during a pandemic. Here are some steps you can take to put you on the right path.

Reframe your CV

Think about the job you want, compared to the positions you have had in the past. What do they have in common? Identify any skills that are transferrable or accomplishments that will highlight your ability to make the shift successfully. 

Soft skills are especially important here. Traits like communication, teamwork, initiative, and adaptability are valuable no matter where you work, or what your function is. Highlight skills like these in your resume to make them more relevant for your next opportunity. 

Take time to upskill

While many soft skills and some technical skills may be easily transferred to your new career, you likely have some skills gaps. Identify these and form a strategy to acquire the expertise you need. For example, if you are currently working from home, you can use time you would have spent commuting to take an online class.

This will take some time, so if you do not have that luxury, you may have to be more strategic about learning new skills. However, also bear in mind that some things can be learned on the job and many hiring managers value potential and culture fit as much as hard skills. This expertise will help, no doubt, but it is not the whole picture.

Prepare for virtual interviewing

Standing out and making an impression via a video interview is not easy. Do research about the differences between in-person and virtual interviews, so that you are as prepared as possible. 

Practice with a family member or friend, just as you would for any other interview. Ensure that your background is professional and you are dressed appropriately before your call. Allow yourself enough time to get in the right headspace. A virtual interview may feel less formal than a traditional meeting, but treat it with the same respect and you will be ahead of the game.

Be persistent

A career shift tends to take more time than a lateral move, so prepare yourself for many applications and processes before you find the right fit. This is especially true now, when some organisations are hesitant to hire in the face of uncertainty. Even so, many companies are bringing new people on board and some are even thriving despite the global health emergency. If you are patient and persistent, you will find the right career move. Just allow yourself the time and space to make it happen.

If you are interested in exploring new roles, reach out to our specialised recruiters for an anonymous discussion, or browse our advice section for guidance on related issues.

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