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    How to change careers during a pandemic

    The coronavirus pandemic brought the entire world to a standstill in 2020, forcing huge changes upon the way we live and work. Industries which were previously considered relatively stable, such as hospitality and events, were suddenly no longer able to continue within the so-called “new normal”, and many people were left out of work. This caused many to reassess their careers, as they struggled with watching their industry collapse, or even decided that their job wasn’t what they wanted out of life. Indeed, 70% of workers admitted to considering a change in career, according to a survey by TotalJobs.

    But looking for a new job in the midst of a global pandemic is daunting. Searches for “I want a new job” rose by 194%, with “how to move jobs” rising by 138%, so it’s clear that not everyone knows exactly where to begin looking. If you’re one of those people browsing job listings, but aren’t sure where to begin, let us help you.

    Find alternative work to keep you busy

    If you’ve been left completely out of a job altogether, rather than put on furlough, it’s a good idea to seek alternative work that may not be in your chosen industry to keep you busy, guarantee an income, and even pick up some new skills for your CV template. Many supermarkets are looking to hire extra staff to keep shelves stocked up with essential supplies, especially with the end of year rush. This can help you work on your customer service skills and, if you’ll be behind the till, can give you experience with cash handling. Alternatively, you may look at working in a warehouse or as a courier to help companies deal with the increasing reliance on online sales.

    However, if you’re looking for more freedom, why not consider becoming a PCO driver, which covers things like Uber and Bolt. This allows you to set your own hours, making it perfect as a side hustle if you already have a part-time — or even a full-time — job. However, you will have to apply for a PCO license and have access to a car you can use for your trips. If you don’t have your own vehicle, you can hire a PCO-approved car, with prices starting from as low as £150 per week. You just need to organise your hours to be able to afford this while still having time to focus on your career pivot — unless you find driving to be a good fit for you in the long term.

    Think about your long-term goals

    If you’re unhappy with your current job role or career path, take the time to think about what it is you actually want out of your working life. You may have realised that you’re unhappy with your work-life balance, and looking for a job that offers you more time to yourself rather than stressing about work. However, you also need to take your own lifestyle into account, and how expensive it is, ensuring that whatever job you choose will give you the salary you need to continue living the way you’re used to.

    It’s also a good idea to take job stability into consideration. As 2020 has proved, some sectors aren’t as essential or resilient as previously thought, and the last thing you want is to be left without a job due to further industry redundancies as the economy recovers.

    Reassess and work on your skillset

    Spend some time going over your qualifications, certifications, technical and soft skills, work experience, and career achievements. Maybe you’ve led an industry-specific conference, qualified in a specialist course, or enjoyed regular promotions before the pandemic hit. Ensure that all these skills are clearly outlined in your CV, and on your LinkedIn page, for any recruiters and potential employers to see.

    Many people have chosen to work on their skills during the extra downtime provided during lockdown, and searches for ‘online courses’ rose by 192% between February and March 2020 alone. If you haven’t already done so, take a look at how you can work on your own professional development and add to your skillset to make you more desirable to employers. This can be anything from learning to code to learning a new language. In fact, bilingualism may be more beneficial than ever before in a post-Covid world, as remote working can naturally lead to a global workforce. Now that most industries are working virtually, businesses are even less bound by the confines of a local talent pool, so being able to communicate effectively with people around the world can make you incredibly attractive to recruiters.

    Remain patient and don’t rush into it

    Take your time with applications, ensuring that you’ve filled them all in correctly, and have carefully highlighted your skills and experiences. Have a friend or former colleague check over your CV before you send it out, ensuring that you’ve got everything factually correct, with no spelling errors. It may even be helpful to work with a recruiter, as they’ll have more information about the hiring process, a relationship with a number of potential employers, and may even be able to give you interview tips.

    You should also remember that hiring managers and recruiters are also working remotely, and decisions that could have been easily discussed and quickly made during a meeting will likely take much longer during virtual meetings. This makes the overall hiring process much slower, so maybe hold off on sending any emails asking after the status of your application if it’s only been a few days, especially if you’ve already received acknowledgement that your application has been received. In the event that you’re still itching to find out more, use your initiative to gauge when a good time to reach out is. If the company is looking for someone to start in the role immediately, then it may be worth emailing after a week. However, if it’s for a junior level with many applicants, or even a senior role that requires a more thorough interview process, it would be a good idea to give it a little more time before expecting a response.

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