- The COVID-19 pandemic has left more than 40 million Americans unemployed, made it incredibly difficult for 2020 college graduates to find work, and revealed that employees with full-time jobs have serious plans to exit their current roles soon.
- Full-time employees are seeking to exit their roles for new jobs that offer better benefits and job security.
- Here are seven tips from experts on why it may be a good idea to switch careers amid COVID-19.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
In 2019, I wrote about the value of changing jobs even if you don’t want to or feel like it’s the “right” time to start a job hunt.
There is no way I could have predicted the worldwide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the 2020 workforce. More than 40 million Americans are currently unemployed. College graduates from the class of 2020 are struggling to find full-time work — or land an internship to help get their foot in the door.
Employees that still have full-time jobs also have serious plans to exit their current roles. Quinyx, a leading workforce management platform headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, recently released a study called The State of the Deskless Workforce. Here are a few key findings, according to those surveyed in the study.
- The pandemic has cost one in four (approximately 24%) workers their jobs. 29% of those workers plan to leave their industry entirely. Finding better benefits, including paid sick leave, and job security are among their top priorities.
- What about those that are keeping their jobs? 18% polled plan to leave for better benefits and new opportunities.
- 37% of deskless workers did not feel they received adequate training or direction during the pandemic. One in three polled (37%) believe their employer views them as disposable or temporary in their role.
- Another one in three (31%) of workers have already quit a job due to schedule issues.
As daunting as it may be to look for a new job during a global crisis, there are still opportunities to be found for job hunters. Here are seven reasons to consider changing jobs amid COVID-19.
You’re ready to get explicitly curious about your purpose
Mory Fontanez, a purpose coach and CEO of 822 Group, believes that times of transition are particularly beneficial for corporate employees. It’s an invitation to get curious about yourself and reflect on what is — and isn’t — in alignment for your career.
“Crisis is an opportunity,” Fontanez told Business Insider. “It asks us to pause and look deeply and honestly at all the things we have been doing day in and day out without really thinking about whether those things fulfilled us, played on our strengths, or aligned with our own purpose.”
Being pushed into finding a new career or job is actually empowering. It allows workers to get curious about who they are and how they can do work that aligns with their purpose.
How do you get started? First, Fontanez says to look back at the entirety of your career. Seek out every moment that brought you joy. These may be projects or even one-off interactions where you were filled with joy focusing on this work.
“This is where the saying ‘do what you love and success will come’ comes from,” Fontanez said.
Then, make a list of every moment that brought you joy. Try to think about whether these instances also allowed you to practice a skill set or innate talent you possess. If the answer to that question is yes, Fontanez says you have all the clues you need right in front of you.
“Look for opportunities that match these recollections of joyful experiences that allowed your talents to shine through effortlessly,” Fontanez said. “Once you have this clarity, write it out. ‘My purpose is to do X.'”
This will allow you to lead with your purpose during the job search and interview process.
“Own what you’re good at!” Fontanez said. “Own the fact that you are looking for something new because you want to enjoy what you do and feel a sense of purpose when you show up at you job every day.”
This is also a win for HR professionals reviewing your job application materials.
“It’s refreshing for would-be employers to hear someone have this confidence and sense of purpose,” Fontanez said. “It tells them you are thoughtful, passionate, and motivated to be purposeful in all that you do.”
Taking online classes gives you a chance to build transferable skills
Did you enroll in a free online course during quarantine, like Yale University’s The Science of Well-Being? Great! You’re on the right track for reflecting on your career progression and even considering new directions you may pivot into moving forward.
Janelle Bieler is the senior vice president at Adecco USA, which provides workforce solutions for employers. Bieler says that social distancing measures have given job candidates a great opportunity to utilize their downtime to take online classes to learn new technology or brush up on already existing skills.
“As more employers are looking for transferable skills that can be applied to the position at hand, candidates are afforded more liberties in applying for roles and industries that pique their interest, rather than those that solely align with their past experience.” Bieler said.
People want to connect and network with you
Sharon Belden Castonguay, EdD. is the executive director of Wesleyan University’s Gordon Career Center. She has noticed most job hunters do not find new positions simply by uploading their resumes into job boards alongside thousands of other applicants. The smart move to make is connecting with people in their field and organizations of interest.
The most powerful aspects of our networks, according to Castonguay, are what many may refer to as “weak ties.” These include friends of friends, current colleagues of former coworkers, and members of college alumni networks.
After several months of isolation in quarantine and lockdown, these individuals are eager to assist job seekers in need of help.
“Now is a great time to reach out to people, check in on them, and see if they have referrals for you,” Castonguay told Business Insider. “They want to connect and connecting with people is how you find a new job.”
Job opportunities are rising — and they’re looking for flexible applicants
Debora Roland, VP of human resources at CareerArc, has had several candidates ask if they should try to apply for jobs — or if it’s even worth the attempt in a COVID-19 climate.
Roland’s answer is yes.
“Interviews are still happening, and so is hiring,” Roland told Business Insider. “There are more and more companies that are going to be in need of people. Job seekers should still be on the lookout and will need to be more flexible about what their new role will look like.”
Roland adds that while jobs have been lost in some areas, opportunities are rising in other industries. Think technology, digital entertainment, online learning, essential services, and healthcare. These industries are all currently hiring and actively seeking candidates.
“Be open to new industries and opportunities,” Roland said. “Do your research to explore how your background can add value. This is an opportunity for candidates to grow in their careers and add new skill sets and knowledge to their current backgrounds.”
You can team up with a job buddy to help hold you accountable
Chandra Turner, founder of Ed2010, provides insider career advice, one-on-one coaching, and job postings for individuals interested in pursuing their dream jobs in media. Recently, Turner shared advice on what content creators and editors should do next while they wait for job listings to return.
Turner skipped traditional tips — like revamping your resume — in favor of less obvious strategies that make a bigger impact for those on the job hunt. One of her top recommendations is to get a job buddy.
Searching for a new job is a full-time job, regardless of the economic climate. You’ll need a job buddy to help support you. If you feel like you might lose momentum or decide to stay with your current employer for the time being, that buddy will keep you motivated and encouraged to stay the course.
“Team up with a friend who is also looking and keep each other accountable,” Turner said. “Make a time to check in with each other once a week to check in on what you said you’d do. Share your successes with each other. It’ll make you feel less alone and keep you going.”
The comfort of home is the perfect space to conduct a job hunt
Working from home? Tech career coach Bessy Tam says to seize the opportunity to make the job hunt, and interview process, much more comfortable at home.
Networking? It’s much easier to get on the phone and chat with a connection at home than try to sneak out from the traditional office for a call together.
Landed an interview? In the “before times,” candidates had to burn rubber home on their commute to take the meeting or fake an early out excuse from the office. Now, neither needs to happen now that you’re working from home.
“Companies are spreading out interviews throughout the week and holding interviews through video platforms, like Zoom and Google Hangout,” Tam said. “This holds a great opportunity to be more prepared, comfortable, and personable during interviews.”
It’s time to do what makes you happy
This was the final point I made in my original 2019 article. It still holds true in 2020. I want to include the original quotes from life purpose and career coach Gracie Miller in wrapping up this post.
For over six years, life purpose and career coach Gracie Miller has helped people change jobs — even if they weren’t sure they were ready for the change. Miller finds that her clients do somewhat like their jobs, but feel like something is missing.
What these clients realize is that they wish they had found careers that paid for their bills and lit them up inside sooner. Miller discovers that it’s not always about wanting to change jobs for the sake of changing jobs — it’s the uncertainty that something better exists or that it does exist but you may not get it.
“It’s worth the risk to go for long-term happiness,” Miller said. “You have to act on the fact that deep down you know you could be more fulfilled.”
The trick is to do self-discovery and research. Rather than look at the same terms in your current role, seek out fields of interest to find careers that might be a better fit.
“You will be happier for it, and your family, friends, and coworkers will be happier to be around you,” she said.