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Making a career change. When is it the right time?

Key events gives us time to take stock, but when do we go for it or plan for change?

The start of any new year always provokes reflection, but this year the urge is even stronger. Lockdown, remote working and homeschooling are certainly prompting us to think more about life and making a career change.

During times of uncertainty, it’s natural to seek change to try and regain control and do something different. You don’t need us to tell you about the surge in flexible working requests and the increase in people planning to make a career change.

Research from Aviva highlights that half of the UK workers plan to make changes to their careers as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, during times of unpredictability and uncertainty, is now the right time to make a career change? How do you know when it’s best to take that leap? Should you wait for more settled times?

We take a look at the pros and cons of moving careers in challenging times.

What do you want to achieve?

The first thing you need to understand is why you want to make a change? What are the factors behind this desire? Is it just your job or your company that you are unhappy with it or is it something more fundamental?

As you can see on our website, the jobs market is still active. Admittedly, it’s not as lively as it would be in “normal” times, but it is moving.

However, on the one hand planning for change is still very much an option, but we are noticing that employers are being very targeted in their approach to recruitment and requirements, so make sure you consider the brief carefully and how you can meet it before taking the plunge.

Cover all bases and meet the brief

If you do decide to take the plunge and go for a career change sooner rather than later, think carefully about the job spec and how you can meet it. You’ll probably have to work harder than someone who already has the skills, so do the groundwork before applying.

Another solution could be to look at a role that enables you to acquire those much needed requirements before making a step-up. That way, you take the pressure off a little and give yourself the scope to grow and learn and establish whether this new career is the right fit for you.

Don’t panic

The market is very competitive at the moment, and sometimes financial urgency outweighs the need to take time, but it’s always good to take stock and give yourself a little extra time to think about next steps.

If you’re head’s not in the right place then that will come across in your job search, so instead of thinking of big career changes, then maybe a sideways step in your current role could help give you the tools and the breathing space to make a more considered change.

Upskilling to get ahead of the curve

Lockdown has really thrown the digital skills shortage into relief. Automation and workflow are certainly are areas that are showing an increase in jobs and skilled candidates, as well as the tech sector in general. We’re seeing more demand for marketing and finance roles, which re

Instead of an immediate career change, this may be the perfect time to re-train and upskill to meet growing market needs, which will also put you ahead of the curve when it comes to applying for roles when we resume normal working lives.

Think of other options

If you think a new career may be the right option for you and right now, then there are ways in which you can test the waters to see if it is right before diving straight in.

This is where a contract or interim role could be the answer. With many organisations uncertain about their future and unwilling to take on too many new permanent employees, an interim role is a lower risk way to explore what a new career would be like without completely turning your back on your past life.

Coaching and consultancy

The current situation has prompted many people to think about their lives and consider what they want from their careers. If you have the time and financial resources to plan ahead, then this is a great time to get your ducks in a row.

If you’re keen to plough on, then, like anything in life, ‘all good things’ and all that…so be prepared for the fact that you may encounter more rejections than you would normally. To overcome this, however, look for opportunities where you may not have to dilute your CV as much some other applications.

Alternatively, you could hire a career coach to help you put a clear plan on place or talk to a recruitment consultancy who can help you target those roles you want and can represent you better than a generic jobs board application. This is particularly important for senior level hires.

At Capability Jane, we work with candidates to find them their next flexible role. Whether that’s permanent, contract or interim, we can help you find the career you want.