SWITCHING GEARS TO SUCCESSFUL SECOND CAREERS
Pack up — let's start a new adventure in your career journey today.
You're in your late 20s. Or perhaps mid-30s, even 40s. Suddenly you feel like the career you've built for years doesn't feel quite the one for you, and you're thinking of swerving to another completely new lane. Will it work?
If you feel this way, you're not the only one. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven people to reflect on their lives and current careers, primarily due to general uncertainty and boredom.
According to research conducted by Microsoft, 41 percent of global workers were thinking of resigning throughout the pandemic. Antony Klotz, a psychologist and professor of management at Texas A&M, even coined the term "the great resignation" from the phenomenon.
For instance, some magazine editors and writers would switch to a career they deem more stable and profitable, such as social media content creator.
Even celebrities switched lanes at some point, such as Victoria Beckham, from a singer to a fashion designer, or Cameron Diaz, from actress to wine producer. The successful designer Vera Wang was once a professional figure skater and a magazine editor before establishing her label at age 40 in 1989.
However, switching careers isn't as easy as changing your clothes at home. Get to know your transferable skills for a more successful career change. Then you can find other roles and industries that you could fit in.
Transferrable skills refer to soft, non-technical skills and productive personality traits. According to a recent LinkedIn study, current in-demand soft skills for entry-level positions are communication, analytical skills, customer service, and problem-solving, to name a few. Even if you're not applying to entry-level positions, you can still utilize the skills you acquired over the years.
Once you recognize your transferrable skills, it is time to browse the job market. Try to take a peek outside of your current industry. When you find one you're interested in but too hesitant to apply to, don't be scared to chat with someone already in a similar industry.
"There used to be a lot of stigma around losing a job and the pandemic has really lifted that stigma and made people more open," said Charlotte Davies, Career Expert at LinkedIn.
"We've seen lots of people posting on LinkedIn asking for help, resulting in everything from encouraging support to new job opportunities."
Apart from that, take a look inside yourself — see if you've got any long-dormant interest. Perhaps, you wanted to be an artist growing up, but you had to take a more stable office job. Now, let's find a middle ground between that lost dream and the transferrable skills you had identified. If you have administrative skills, customer service, or even managerial skills, how about applying for a position at a museum?
Next, prepare for your application with the aforementioned skills highlighted — even better with supporting evidence, such as certificates or other documents.
For example, you were a customer specialist in a bank. Mention how you helped your previous customers and how much positive feedback you received. From there, employers would ask further questions.
Then, compose a simple email application that can be adapted from one position to another for less stress, be careful not to make it sound too "copy and paste", though. Send it to the HR departments of the desired companies, then we wait.
However, be careful not to choose a career that seems "economically promising" without fully understanding the scope of the job. Make sure the new career you choose is what you can imagine yourself doing years ahead.
"I certainly do encounter people who find that they've made a career move that they regret. Either they misjudged a situation or company, or hastily jumped at an offer because of money or status," Mark Strong, a life, career and executive coach based in New York, told Forbes.
To give you a glimpse of the current job trend, LinkedIn found digital content freelancers, data analysts, software and engineering, finance, and customer service as the emerging roles in Southeast Asia in 2021.
Whichever one you choose, make sure it fits your values — so you can finally reach professional fulfillment this time around.
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