The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our lives through job losses, business shutdowns, lockdowns, quarantines, hospitalizations, and unfortunately, even death. It has forced us to make tough decisions. Over 50 million Americans have been laid off and the unemployment rate has been in double digits each of the past three months. Although White House adviser Ivanka Trump was swiftly criticized for her tone-deaf advice urging out-of-work Americans to simply find something new, the reality is that many Americans will have to make a career change due to the pandemic.
If you’ve found yourself wanting—or needing—to make a career transition, here are five keys to successfully find something new:
- Assess your skills. Everyone should take time to make a list of their skills. If you have a resume, break down what you do. Then, look at your interests, awards and achievements and the skills needed to attain them. You’ll probably be surprised to learn about skills you didn’t know you had. Then, ask someone who knows you well to make a list of your skills. Then, combine the two lists. This is your starting point.
- See which skills are transferable. Success leaves clues. Whether we realize it or not the career we want to enter is usually not totally unrelated to our current career. For example, a speechwriter can be a great marketer because both require the ability to sway opinion. However, some skills are very specific to a particular profession. Finding this out will determine how you can make your shift.
- Identify your strength. From your list of skills pick ONE strength. Not two, not three or four, but one strength. Choosing more than one strength divides your focus and often paralyzes you and you change nothing. Many get stuck here because they don’t identify one course of action. When you answer the question, “What is your strength?,” you’re also answering the question, “Where do I start?” This begins the movement in your journey.
- Ask yourself how far you are willing to go back. Some transitions require additional schooling and/or training. Depending on the profession you may have to start further down the totem pole. However, if you have transferable skills you don’t have to start at square one. How far you have to go back, if you have to, depends on your transferable skills.
- Ask yourself if you’re ready to be an entrepreneur. Events like the Great Recession and the coronavirus outbreak make entrepreneurship a more attractive alternative. You don’t have to do it full-time but the skills are almost imperative. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone but for those frustrated by their job or lack of one, this is an alternative. It can be risky but for those looking for independence and more income, this is a viable option.
This is a very tumultuous time for millions of people in the United States and around the world. It was this way before the coronavirus and even more so now. Technology, outsourcing and layoffs have changed the world as we know it and the coronavirus has accelerated that change. The decisions and the thinking behind these decisions will have a big impact on our future. The only thing that is constant is change and how quickly we can find something new will steer the direction of our careers and our futures.