Although the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on the economy, the news is not all bad. This is especially true for those who were considering changing careers before the pandemic hit. Stepping away from the usual in-office working environments has caused millions of people to reconsider what they really want to do with their careers.
The time at home has also caused millions of people to seek opportunities to gain new skills that will allow them to shift to a new career when the time is right. Millennial workers, defined as those between the approximate ages of 21 and 40, have especially taken advantage of the unexpected chance to change careers. Another benefit of the pandemic is that it highlighted the need for greater flexibility and benefits that allow people to achieve optimal work-life balance.
Maintain a Realistic Attitude with Job or Career Changes
Carol Camerino, a career coach at University of Phoenix, cautions people from acting too quickly when changing jobs or careers. While the job market currently favors workers, no one should assume they will be able to land the job of their dreams right away. Camerino advises students and alumni not to leave their current job until they have a job offer in hand from a new employer. She goes on to say that providing a two-week notice and not burning any professional bridges is also important.
As the pandemic clearly demonstrated, employment situations can change quickly. People who felt confident that their position was secure may have suddenly found themselves filing for unemployment and looking for a new job. Camerino tells the people she counsels to always maintain an updated resume and remain engaged in their professional network so that they can be ready to act if necessary.
Investing in professional development can be a great idea at any time in a career, but this can be especially important in a volatile labor market. By taking these steps, people can feel confident that they will be ready to seek a new job or career should the need arise.
Keep an Open Mind and Embrace New Possibilities
The pandemic has changed long-held attitudes and practices in the workforce. One of these is that people should avoid making a lateral career move because this type of change does nothing to help them obtain the position they really want.
With employment unpredictable, Camerino stresses that making a lateral move could be a good way for people to get closer to their ultimate career goal. She has seen this happen for the people she counsels numerous times, especially for those whose lateral move within their own company made them a more attractive candidate for a new employer.
Today’s post-pandemic employees can take a more proactive approach to managing their careers. Maintaining focus on the big picture and creating a career strategy appears to be the better way to go in an unpredictable economy.
How to Know When to Start Searching for a New Job
Preparing for a job or career change is one thing, but how can people know when to begin an active search for new employment? Carol Camerino from the University of Phoenix Career Office offers three tips below.
1. Pay Attention to Organization Changes
Has the employer failed to meet its revenue goals for several consecutive quarters? Does the budget for the employee’s team keep shrinking? These are just two of several signs that significant change could be on the way.
Workers also need to look for patterns within their own department. Indications such as not getting a promised promotion could indicate a department restructuring that might not be favorable to the employee. Numerous leadership changes and a shake-up in department or company policies can highlight other indications of job instability. While the company may eventually correct its course, zeroing in on these dynamics reduces the likelihood of feeling blindsided by job loss.
2. Check Industry Updates Often
The Bureau of Labor Statistics can be an excellent resource for people who want to keep tabs on the growth or decline of their industry. The government website also provides valuable insight into the types of positions expected to retain high demand and those that may eventually become obsolete. Anyone with a job in the second category needs to be especially vigilant about putting their backup plan in motion. This resource can help professionals stay up to date with employment trends and the outlook for people with their skills or background. This can also help workers make key decisions about their path and education.
3. Employees Should Understand How Innovation Affects Their Position
Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to grow in both ability and popularity each year. Regardless of the specific position they hold, all workers would be wise to monitor AI developments within their industry. People do not need to view AI as a threat if they can sell their skills as something only a human can do. This puts them in the position of cooperating with technology rather than competing with it. By remaining aware of the potential impact, professionals can position themselves to be more marketable to current or future employers who want to leverage AI and qualified teams in novel ways.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs in a wide range of in-demand fields, with nearly 40 certificate programs available. The University has geared its offerings toward working adults by making course materials available online 24 hours a day. Students can choose from online-only degree programs or those that combine in-person and online learning depending on availability and location.
Students and graduates also have access to career counseling for life, even if it has been decades since they graduated. University of Phoenix feels this is just one small way it can show support for its graduates and their careers. For more information, visit the University of Phoenix website.