By Gabriella Rodrigues
It has been widely stated that pandemics changed many habits, perceptions, and aspirations. And when it comes to the latter, the topic career seems at the top of the current discussions. As has been pointed out by the media for a while, a significant amount of workers have been revaluating their professional paths, questioning whether their previous choices are still valid or if it is time to choose a new route. According to recent studies, the second option has been sparking the interest of many.
Aiming to get a sense of workers’ preferences and attitudes, Boston Consulting Group, along with The Network, released, in 2021, the survey Decoding Global Reskilling and Career Paths. The companies interviewed over 200 thousand workers in 190 for the study. The findings confirm what the market thermometer had been indicating for a while: 68% of the respondents, or more than two-thirds, are willing to retrain to new jobs.
Among those workers whose job roles face a major risk of technology replacement – service sector workers, customer service people, and salespeople -, willingness to make a career change is even higher, exceeding 70%. As stated by the research authors, “the interest in switching careers is tied to both the disruptions of COVID-19 and the threat of technological change, which many workers believe is accelerating”. Income is also a reason once 36% of all workers have been laid off or forced to work fewer hours during the pandemic.
Regardless of the sector one may choose to start a new path, retraining, or simply changing careers, is always a challenge. Concerns about money, lack of knowledge, and unforeseen situations are some of the things that usually make people hold back. However, it is possible to sail a new territory and succeed in it if you plan the steps ahead and do it calmly. Here are 7 tips for those who want to make a solid career change:
- Make a list of why you want to change
The first step is understanding what you don’t like in your current job that is motivating you to look for a new one. Ask yourself what pleases and what bothers you at you current job or field and make a list of it. By doing this you will be able to see what is a satisfactory job for your situation and use this list as guidance in the search for a new job role.
- Brainstorm careers and find a mentor
Experts advise making a list of your skills and values to visualize the jobs and industries that might be a good fit for you. Having this list in mind may be helpful when doing a shortlist of potential careers since it will help you in narrowing the research. It is also recommended to seek advice from people who have been successful in the field you are looking at to understand how your profile fits into today’s workforce.
- Be financially ready
Money is usually one of the biggest obstacles for those who want to make a career change since, in the beginning, a new job role in a new industry normally means a lower income. Therefore, to overcome this barrier, make a financial plan that will allow you to invest time in your preparation, pay the discretionary living expenses, and not put your retirement savings at risk – ideally, one shouldn’t withdraw money from a retirement account.
- Invest in new abilities and knowledge
It is not uncommon that people decide to change industries after assessing the job opportunities that some fields offer. Regardless of why you want to make this change, starting in a different field usually requires a new set of skills. If that is the case, it is important to seek additional education beyond your work experience. Colleges, continuing-education classes, and massive open online courses are some of the options one must consider.
- Be ready for setbacks
Making a career change is not a continuous, progressive line. Be aware that you will probably find some bumps down the road, but always keep in mind that they are part of the process. Also, talk to your family and friends. They won’t be able to do much for you, but having support of our beloved ones may be encouraging.
- Try to volunteer
How to be sure that the chosen field is a good fit for you, gain experience, and build a network? Volunteering might be the answer. There are many NGOs and institutions that accept people from different professional backgrounds to help achieve their goals and make the world a better place. Latincouver is one of these places, where you can become a volunteer and develop the necessary skills to begin a new path. Check out the website to see the positions available: https://www.latincouver.ca/become-a-volunteer/. Also, check out sites like idelist.org and volunteermatch.org to see other opportunities.
- Be patient and track your progress
As mentioned before, making a career change requires time and planning. Therefore, it’s important to be patient and remember that setbacks are part of the process. To keep yourself motivated, consider creating a spreadsheet to track the progress you are making towards your goal. Recognizing the small steps you have already taken is an incentive to make you go on and don’t give up when facing obstacles.