There is no “right time” to change careers. Sometimes, a person would want to shift careers out of the blue, caused by a massive change in their life.
One such massive change is the pandemic that struck 2020.
Several employees were laid off or furloughed due to lockdowns and the closing of establishments.
Across the globe, unemployment rates are going up. Even some of the most powerful nations were not spared. For example, in the U.S., the current unemployment rate is 8.9%.
Switching careers in the middle of an economic crisis and a global pandemic are not impossible, but it’s going to be difficult.
Thus, before you make the shift, you need to do a few things:
Reflect on Yourself
When making any decision, big or small, self-reflection is a must. You need to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. For example, what are you good at? What is your expertise? What are your weaknesses? Among the skills you currently have, which ones do you still need to develop?
You will also need to ask yourself what your goals are and what you consider to be your life’s purpose. Identifying them can help you narrow down the fields you might consider pursuing.
Acquire Relevant Skills
When you’ve identified that career that you want to pursue, you’ll need to sharpen yourself as a professional. You need to acquire new skills relevant to the career you want to pursue.
If you already have those skills, then you’ll need to further develop them. For example, if a person is currently in the customer service industry and wants to pursue journalism, they will need to develop their communication skills further to fit into the field.
Sometimes, the best way to learn and develop new skills is through a mentor. But finding one can be difficult, especially given the limits of physical interactions imposed by the pandemic.
One alternative is online education. You can take free or paid classes online to learn new skills. You can also watch videos for free on YouTube.
Expand Your Network
Networking is an important part of professional development. It’s a great way to learn about the career you want to pursue and develop related skills.
Networking can also increase your chance of shifting to that career. In 2016, a survey found that 70% of its respondents were hired at a company where someone from their network is employed.
Networking is usually done face to face, but given the current climate, you will need to connect with people online. You can join online communities or groups and link with people through LinkedIn.
You can even send out emails to experts in your field and ask for advice or tips. They might not respond, but there’s no harm in trying.
Try On-demand Jobs in the Field
No matter how much you want to pursue a career or how much you read up about it, there’s no certainty that you will fit in easily. Thus, before fully shifting careers, you might consider trying freelance or on-demand jobs in the field first.
Think of it as a test run. By trying a short-term engagement, you’ll get a glimpse of what it’s like to work in that career. You’ll also better understand the skills you still need to develop and the things you need to learn.
This way, you won’t be diving blindly into the new field that you want to pursue.
Changing careers is never easy. It’s also a very big event that can affect all aspects of your life. But if it’s really what you want or needs, you’ll need to take certain actions to prepare for this shift.