Are you eyeing up a career change? Or, has one been forced upon you recently, your sector taken a hit during these uncertain times?

Whether it's down to your own personal choice or a situation you didn't see coming - even in the Covid-19 era, where the one certainty is uncertainty - a change in career can be uplifting, enlightening and scary as heck all at once. And if you’ve been through the process already, you’ll know it can make for a bumpy ride!

Opting to change career can come about for many a reason. Perhaps you’re something of a thrill-seeker, one who thrives on change and in need of your latest challenge. Or it’s just the right time to shift into the field you always dreamed of – maybe to move up an income bracket or two. It’s a different story altogether when forced on you, a situation becoming more frequent nowadays with a few sectors finding themselves in crisis mode, having to release their workforce out into the wilderness.

Let’s take a look at both sides of the story – opting for change and having change forced on you.

First up: The Planned Change

So, you’ve been travelling along nicely in your role, happy-as-you-like when, from out of nowhere, BOOM! A little voice in your head suddenly screams out “It’s TIME!!” and, before you know it, the resignation letter is typed up, signed and enveloped.

A little hasty, perhaps? How about you hit the pause button and take time to assess what’s happening here. Ask yourself a few quick questions – like why is now the right time to move, will your new career be of actual benefit to you, and what shade of green do you call that grass over there again? Once you’re crystal clear on your reasons for change, and in complete unison with that voice in your head, then great – you can make a start with your transition toward the new you. Although don’t go quitting the current day job just yet, not before you’ve carved out a plan!

Now, whether money is your driver, better working conditions, an improved lifestyle or all three, you need to understand the skills necessary for the role you’re hoping for – which can often mean training is required. Start by finding out the time it will take you to acquire those skills and how you’ll do so. For example, are we talking weeks, months or years-worth of study here? While keen to learn, you might find three-years of full time education is not an option and that this is something you will need to complete on an extended part-time basis (in which case, staying in your current role or finding one that’s part-time will help to support you for now). Or, can the skills be learned on the job through an apprenticeship-type of arrangement, allowing you to earn while you learn? You don’t need to be a teenager to become one, and more businesses than ever are offering this means of living to adults.

What about if you’re looking for a role where no training is necessary? For some people, a career change is less about advancing up the ladder and more a move toward a role that better suits their circumstances – like when someone starts a family and needs the freedom of flexible working, for example. You may well find yourself attracted to a role that uses skills you already possess – who’d have thought that the customer service experience from your first ever role at the local supermarket would prove so handy one day?! Remember, whatever the type of role you’re applying for, always tailor your job application to focus on the skills required so it’s clear to the hiring team how you fit the bill. It’s no use talking up your ten years in dentistry if you’re looking to draw on your administrative background to land an office job.

And now, to the flipside: The Unplanned Change

Let’s be clear, it is not a nice feeling finding yourself without work particularly if it was unexpected. Yet, however rattled you are, the first point to remember is this one: it is not the end of the world. Sure, with all the necessities still to pay for – food, utility bills, your Netflix account – you’ll want to be back in employment as quickly as possible. The good news is, there are plenty of roles to be had. So, let’s get you one and FAST!

“Aah… just as well I updated my CV recently!” - said very few people ever. First thing, then, is to dig out the old employment ‘biography’ and make it all 2020. It might just be your latest role that needs adding in, or it could be due a complete overhaul, depending on the state you last left it in! Once you’ve completed the easy bit – updating the section on roles held – take a good look through the rest of the document to make sure it is still relevant. Does your introduction need a tweak to reflect any new skills or interests you wish to draw people toward? A carefully put-together CV helps to get you in front of the right people quickly, so take time to get it right.

Next up is pin pointing exactly what it is you want to do. Are you hoping to remain in the same industry, just with a different employer? Of course, this will depend on whether your retrenchment was down to a broader issue within your sector, in which case, finding a similar role with another company could prove tricky. But where this isn’t the case, and you’re keen to stay close to what you already know, start testing the market on who’s hiring. You’ll be aware of your ex-employer’s competitors, so check out their company website ‘Careers’ page or search for their hiring manager on LinkedIn, introduce yourself to the right people and have conversations with those in the know.

Where you’re not having any joy with the job search, why not look to sign up with a recruiter or two, preferably the type who specialise in your industry? Contrary to popular belief, recruiters are not the devil reincarnated and very much about putting your interests first to find you a role that suits. The best part? A recruiter does all of the groundwork for you: reaching out to their sector contacts to see if they are recruiting and searching out companies who are on the look-out for new hires. It is a sure way to getting your CV to the top of the pile and your face in front of the hiring team.

What about if you’ve decided to change tack altogether and go for something completely new to you? Here’s where the tips on a Planned Change come back into play – particularly if the type of role you’re wanting comes with a long list of required skills, none of which are in your kit bag. Training may be your best way forward to acquiring those necessary skills, full or part-time – this, or an apprenticeship where you’ll draw a wage and learn your trade. Or, how about taking a good hard look at the skills you DO have and scanning through the job boards at the types of roles available where these skills are in demand. You never know, perhaps you are the perfect match to a role without even knowing it – with any luck, in a thriving industry with an abundance of opportunities.

Finding a new role can be tough – but it is less tough when tackled as a team! Have you heard the saying ‘A trouble shared is a trouble halved’? If you’re currently undergoing a career change – planned or forced – the team at 121 is on hand to support you.