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2020 has brought about huge changes to employment. From redundancies and furlough leave, to the creation of new roles, coronavirus is responsible for some major changes in the world of work. As a result, some people have found themselves in the unfortunate position of experiencing job instability in what was once a previously secure job before COVID-19. 

But it seems that this is not a rare case – in fact, 70% of people are likely to consider working in a different sector as a result of the pandemic. If you’re keen to look for a new position, here are some tips for changing career paths during the pandemic. 

Top tips for changing jobs during a pandemic:

  • Establish why you want to change jobs
  • Consider sacrifices 
  • Highlight your transferable skills
  • Think about training
  • Keep your options open

establish why you want to change jobs.

Before you start looking for a new employer, it’s important to establish why you want to change jobs

Are you looking for more stability, a change in your work environment or circumstances, or do you need more flexibility from your role? Understanding why you want a new job is key to informing your next steps and narrowing your search. 

It’s a good idea to assess your interests and values as part of this process, by reviewing past roles and projects that you’ve enjoyed or disliked, to get an idea of what would make you happier in the future. 

what are you willing to sacrifice?

Every job has its pros and cons and no industry is perfect, so you need to know what you absolutely need to have in a new career and what you’re willing to be flexible on. 

For example, learning a trade can be financially lucrative – but the training can take a long time and may be expensive initially. If time is something you have and you’re willing to invest in learning new skills, this could be a great option for you. 

In order to be happy in a role, passion also plays a key factor, but this may not lead to the most financially rewarding job – are you willing to give up on your passions for a profession that fulfils other criteria? Make a list of the necessities and areas that you can adapt to so you know what to look for when seeking out a new role.


what are your transferable skills?

With every job, you’re guaranteed to pick up transferable skills that can be useful in other positions or even other industries. Think about what you’re good at and where your skills lie in your current role – how can these skills be put to good use by other employers? 

Soft skills, for example, are becoming much more valued, particularly in light of the pandemic. Skills such as leadership, time management, listening and research skills are all incredibly important to employers and play a key role in so many careers. COVID-19 has also made adaptability and the ability to empathise hugely beneficial, so if these are skills you have, they are well worth highlighting in applications. 

how much time can you spend training?

Some careers are easier to move into than others, so it may be the case that you need to invest in retraining for a new role. There are many types of retraining available, from online courses, full or part-time study, internships, apprenticeships and more. 

The benefits of retraining are huge if you can sacrifice the time and money to do so – it broadens your skillset immensely, offers greater career prospects and can even help you feel more valued within a position for greater job satisfaction. If you’re unsure whether you’d enjoy a new industry and you don’t want to invest until you’re certain, it can be a good idea to try it out beforehand. 

Research volunteer positions or freelance jobs in that profession, or ask to shadow a current employee, to get a feel as to whether it’s something you could see yourself enjoying full-time. Not only does it help you determine which roles you’d like to pursue but it also shows initiative to future employers that you’ve invested the time and effort into learning about the industry. 

keep your options open.

The COVID-19 situation is changing all the time – even if you’re certain that you want to change careers and know the industry you’d like to move into, it’s a good idea to give yourself some flexibility. 

Try to train alongside your current job as much as you can before taking the leap, so that you have more security while employment and businesses are still up in the air. It’s also worth remembering that no career switch is quick, but that is even more the case now when so many industries are in flux. 

It will likely take you longer than you expect to land yourself on a new career trajectory, but by staying positive and flexible, you’ll be able to enjoy the journey. 

final thoughts.

There’s no denying that career pivots involve a fair amount of disruption and risk compared to staying on the career path you’re already on. But they can provide much more satisfaction, motivation and even financial benefits if you make the right decision. 

During COVID-19, many people have had the chance to re-evaluate what they want out of their work life and it’s made some question whether a switch to a different career or industry could be the answer. In order to make the leap with as little friction and upheaval as possible, particularly at a time of uncertainty such as this, it’s important to do your research, consider all options and really focus on what it is you want out of the next stage of your career. 

For more tips on how to change your career, see https://www.randstad.co.uk/career-advice/career-guidance/changing-lanes-how-to-change-your-career/ for guidance and how to use your current skills in a different role.

Gemma Hart
gemma the blogger
gemma the blogger

Gemma Hart

guest blogger

Gemma Hart is an independent HR professional working remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Since graduating in 2013, Gemma has gained experience in a number of HR roles but now turns her focus towards growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts.