Career Advice

5 Tips on Upskilling for a New Industry Post COVID-19

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The global job market has recently undergone a massive amount of upheaval. COVID-19 was one of the influencing factors that contributed to the dramatic changes, but there have been other factors aside from COVID-19 that have played an even more significant role. Taken together, all of these factors have converged to create one of the most challenging job markets in history.

Despite the challenges, there are numerous opportunities available. However, to qualify for the majority of them, the average job seeker would need to make a career change. In many cases, this would also require an investment to be made in upskilling.

Do you need to make an unplanned career switch? The following tips are intended to help you navigate the most prominent complexities in the current job market as you upskill for a new career:

1.   Consider the Possible Future Effects of Automation When Choosing a New Career

Prior to the start of the COVID-19 crisis, automation was already creating major shifts in the global job market. Numerous jobs were already changing or being entirely lost to automation technologies. This trend may accelerate in the wake of COVID-19 as employers scramble to find ways of minimizing their virus-related risks. Since robots don’t get sick or make any demands on their owners, they seem like attractive prospects to many employers.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, there are numerous opportunities available. However, to qualify for the majority of them, the average job seeker would need to make a career change as well as making an investment in upskilling.Click To Tweet

It would be prudent for today’s career changers to make an effort towards understanding which jobs are likely to be lost to automation as the 2020s progress. This is because it doesn’t make sense to invest a massive amount of effort in upskilling for a job that will not be viable within a few years’ time.

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2.   Identify Employers Who Are Actively Hiring

In the current conditions, there are some employers that are thriving and others that are floundering. It would be a waste of time and resources for you to target floundering employers when you conduct your job search. It would be ideal to focus your efforts on finding work with solid employers in essential industries. Since upskilling for a new job in a new industry will likely require you to make substantial financial and time investments, it’s worth making sure those investments will be made with realistic and viable employment prospects in mind.

In some locations, you might not be able to find suitable employers who are actively hiring for full-time work. In that case, you may need to get creative in determining your best path forward. You could consider moving to a more advantageous location. Another possible alternative would be to consider accepting a part-time or temporary job while continuing to hunt for better prospects. You might also want to seek out an online job that could be done from your location, or consider becoming self-employed. Another possibility would be doing work that significantly reduces your expenses, such as starting a garden to grow a portion of your own food.

3.   Figure Out Where Your Current Skills Could Best Be Utilized

If you’ve spent any time at all in the workforce, you have no doubt cultivated some skills that enabled you to get your work done. These skills, or at least some of them, are likely transferable to a new job. Give some thought to what skills you already possess and how they might be useful to employers in other industries.

4.   Determine Which New Skills You’ll Need to Bridge the Gap Between Your Old Career and Your New One

The skills you’ve already developed may not be sufficient for obtaining employment in a different industry. If that’s your situation, you’ll need to assess which skills you need to acquire in order to get hired for a job you want in another industry.

5.   Research Appropriate Training Opportunities

There are multiple viable ways to acquire the skills you’d need to work in a different industry. You have almost overwhelming numbers of options including university, college, certifications, online courses, apprenticeships, and (in countries like Australia and New Zealand) vocational education and training courses.

There are numerous resources that can help you save time on this aspect of your career transition:

First and foremost, our resource center includes helpful links to a broad variety of resources you can utilize for every aspect of your job search. We’ve posted a section that’s specifically dedicated to helping you find great training resources.

For job-seekers in New Zealand, Training NZ maintains an academic portal that provides a one-stop resource for obtaining information about training opportunities within the country.

In the United States, some state governments make training resources for job seekers available. For example, the state of California has an Employment Development Department (EDD) available that provides no-fee employment and training services for job seekers within the state. The state of Maryland’s Department of Labor maintains a Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning. If you’re a USA resident, it could be worthwhile to make use of the services offered by these and similar state governments.

In Canada, the government has announced Workforce Development Agreements (WDAs) to make funds available for training Canadian workers. The specifics of these agreements may vary depending on the state or territory of your residence; you can find links to further information by state or territory here on this page.

We hope this information is useful to you as you plan and execute your career transition. Best wishes for a smooth and productive career switch.

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