Lost Your Job? Should You Change Your Career

by | 15.04.21

There is nothing quite like a pandemic to prompt people into having to rethink their career. Lots of people are having to question their purpose or career path. For some people economical uncertainty has triggered a reappraisal of priorities. For other people faced with a drop in income due to loosing their job and struggling to find a position that is right means they are forced to change their career. Changing course Is never easy but with the right strategy you can force a fulfilling new career. Here are some tips:

Perform a skills audit

Firstly identify your transferrable skills. These are the professional competencies you possess which could be applied to a new role or industry. Use a template to help you complete a list of your transferable skills. Add your abilities and qualities as you reflect on your career history and include every professional proficiency you posses. The sort of skills you should be including are communication, research, planning, investigating, customer relationships, supplier relationships, organization, management, leadership, decision making, financial management, accountancy tasks and problem solving. Match these skills with jobs you see advertised. The job may not be in your sector but you will have the ability to do the role so its worth a bash.

Do you research

In the midst of your job search, especially one you haven’t chosen it’s easy to succumb to self doubt and panic that there is nothing out there for you. But examining your options methodically consolidates what you have to offer and convinces you of the truth, there are plenty of opportunities out there for you. But you need to do your research in order to find them. Research organizations in which your top five skills could add value. Additionally look on Jobs Sites and LinkedIn, ask friends and family for suggestions, read publications that cover your field of interest and look at websites or start ups, leave no stone unturned in your quest.

Analyze your skills

Set your imagination free. Equipped with your list of skills now prepare another list of the roles or organizations where these skills will be used. Be expansive, there is no wrong answers. Connect with relevant people who work in these type of organizations to see if there could be the possibility of there being a vacancy available that could suit you.  Mastering the confidence to do this isn’t easy but you’ll be surprised how willing people are to help others. Its scary to contact with someone on LinkedIn, but don’t wait for the fear to go away and don’t focus on trying to develop confidence; instead recognize the fear and take confident action in spite of it. A conversation with someone on LinkedIn who works for an organization which could benefit from your skills could lead to a job offer – so be brave.

Fill the gaps

It can feel as if you’re falling at the first hurdle if the job you want requires qualifications that you don’t have, but gaps in your skills are inevitable and it doesn’t mean that you should not apply for a job if you lack some of the skills or attributes listed on the job spec. as long as you have 70% of the skills or attributes listed its worth a go. Focus on what you have to offer A prospective employer might be willing to look beyond the qualifications gap if you have impressive and relevant skills. If you need to do a couple of short courses to obtain qualifications, particularly software knowledge, be prepared to do it. There are lots of quick and affordable courses available out there

Plan your attack

Divide a blank sheet on paper into three columns. Plan A, Plan B and Plan C. In the first column write down your ideal job role. Be realistic about this, it isn’t “dream job” territory but a realistic, achievable goal. Under Plan B write your second choice of ideal job something that would be good enough, would get your foot in the door and hopefully lead to something bigger and better. Under Plan C write what you would be prepared to do if you don’t achieve Plan A and Plan B. For instance learn new skills, return to education, do charity work in the short terms or set up your own business. Keep in mind that you don’t have to completely change your career its better to go down a new parallel road where your skills and experience are used as there will be more opportunities available for you

Asses your options

Now you have a plan you will have a clearer sense of the jobs you should be applying for. So attach the market. Remember a job is not going to come to you, you have to be an explorer and unearth job opportunities. Adopt an explorers mindset and follow your nose. Use all the common methods such as Job Search Sites, LinkedIn and Agencies. But also think outside the box. Use friends and ex work colleague, see if they know of any job openings which may suit you. Try listing companies you would like to work for or large employers in your local area, check out their websites to see if they have a recruitment page, don’t give up if they don’t or if there is nothing on the page that would suit your skills and experience, send the employer your CV anyway – you never know. Additionally don’t forget the Job Centres – many employer do use them to recruit, probably more then you realise.

Try to be confident

Everyone has a sense of what they want out of life and it’s the same with careers. Everyone is different. Some people aim for the sky and want to be the next CEO of any organisation they join. Other just want an income to pay the mortgage , bills etc . Whatever your motivation for working, be confident that there is a job out there for you. You’ve worked before and you will work again. Confidence is multifaced and we all have areas that we feel very confident about and others that we completely lack confidence in. Few people are devoid of self doubt, but try not to let your worries trigger self criticism. Its easy to convince yourself you are not good enough for a job and as a result you don’t apply but by believing in your strengths you never know you could change your career.

Be clear about what you want

If you know you need a new direction but feel confused about what that might look like you need to make some decisions. If the role you have had has been very specialist and its unlikely that you are easily going to obtain a new position you definitely need to be clear about what type of position you would accept. This time could be a major life change. It can be hard not to feel panicky and its easy at this time to make bad decisions but this won’t happen if you have clear objectives. When you have to change direction it can feel like a struggle but provided you are focused it will be easier than if you just used a scatter gun approach.

Do not panic

Getting a new job is not easy at the best of times but at the moment it is as hard as it gets. It takes energy, focus and a definite plan of attack. A calm mind is essential if you’re going to make a significant change in your career. If you are used to living on adrenaline and buzzing through your days you may have to learn to slow down and accept that it may take a little while to obtain a new position. Its hard not to be stressed particularly if you have lost a demanding job or are facing serious financial problems but you must not panic. Neither should you be desperate and accept any old job just to have one. That’s not a long term answer, it’s a sticking plaster, a short term fix and it could damage your future career prospects.

The circumstances we are in now are unprecedented, we’ve never experienced anything like it before and many people will have to think outside of the box in order to obtain a new role. It may mean changing career. The key though to making a change is to ensure that the skills and experience you have is relevant to the position you are considering. There is no point if you have worked as a Customer Service Assistant applying for a job as an Accountant however if your last position was as a Cashier in a Bank you could obtain a job as a Receptionist with any company. Think about your options, remember that your skills and experience are what will get you a new job, but it doesn’t have to be an identical role to the one you’ve had, it probably needs to be in a similar or parallel role.

Good luck

Angela Burton