Things to Think about When Switching Careers in This Uncertain Climate

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many aspects of life and planning ahead is difficult while we continue to live under so much uncertainty. Whether you were considering a career move in the months leading up to the pandemic or if the health crisis has given you pause about your current career track, switching careers in this climate means you need to think about issues you hadn't considered before. We have a checklist of what to think through and what risks to consider.

Think about switching careers

What are you striving to achieve? 

As you would in "normal" times, before you make any sort of career jump, do some self-reflection, and do not make any rash decisions. Take time to figure out exactly why you want a change, especially if you are in a stable job in an economy where the unemployment rates are reaching levels we haven't seen in almost a century.

  • Do you fear you will lose your current job due to economic uncertainty and are seeking new opportunities to get a jumpstart?
  • Are you bored, stagnant, or simply looking to pivot from the monotony you have experienced the last several months during quarantine?
  • Has the COVID-19 pandemic shaken up your life to the point where you're ready for a big change?

When considering these questions, be sure to consider any tradeoffs you will be making. You want to ensure you are able to successfully stay employed once you make the leap. Which brings us to…

How is the industry faring through the pandemic?

COVID-19 has certainly rattled many industries and, in some cases, devasted them. Your level of risk tolerance will be an important factor when making this type of decision.

  • Before you get the ball rolling to make a career switch, research the industry you are thinking of transitioning to.
  • Determine if the industry held strong through the pandemic and if it has a good long-term projection—or if it has been struggling to sustain itself.
  • Evaluate if you have enough funds in your savings to get you through any potential rough times or to tide you over in case your career jump does not go as well as you hoped.
  • Assess your skills to see if and how they apply to the industry you are looking to transition to or if you need to get specialized training or education.

When evaluating your career switch, it's important to be realistic. Consider you will probably lose your current salary level and any seniority you currently have. If this matter more to you, it might be better to turn inward and see what opportunities exist in your current industry.

Prepping yourself for change

For some professionals, the coronavirus pandemic is the propellant needed to motivate them to make the switch. For others, it makes more sense to wait. Only you can answer the question if now is the right time. If you do decide to go ahead, be proactive to further your chances of success.

  • Continue to actively network. Before the pandemic, the majority of jobs were landed through personal connections, now networking is essential. However, with social distancing requirements, you will need to concentrate your efforts online.
  • Work on your skillset. Analyze job listings you are interested and if you have got gaps in your experience, be sure to spend time working to fill them as you get ready to make the change.
  • Get projects going. Working on new projects will give you a good feel for your new career and you can pick up experience along the way - plus you can identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Polish up your resume. Rewrite your resume to place more emphasis on the qualifications you have and less on the ones you don't.

Making a big career change during a pandemic probably feels a little scary, especially since the U.S. has officially entered a recession. However, by determining your long-term goals and how they can fit into an uncertain future, now might be the perfect time to find unique opportunities in a field you will be happier in.

Decided you are ready and eager to make a change? Many employers are actively hiring in numerous different industries. Search our job database to see the opportunities are out there.

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