Life Stages

Career Change: Reskilling from One Industry to the Next

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If you’re looking at changing jobs or even switching careers, reskilling for a new industry might help you gain a competitive edge in the job market. [Duration- 2:39]

Changes in the way we work with new options for hybrid and flexible working arrangements have opened up new opportunities in job hunting, even for those considering a job or career change. If you work in one of the many industries hit hardest by layoffs or furloughs you may be thinking of switching careers or job hunting in a new industry.

Employment experts note that reskilling — when you assess how your current skills would apply to a different industry and learn new skills — can be tricky, especially in a competitive job market for careers in demand, and it's not a one-size-fits-all process. There are different ways to examine your current skills and think about new career opportunities.

Should I change jobs? What to consider when changing careers

Follow these steps to help start the reskilling process:

  1. Think about the skills you already have
    Start by making a list of what you're already good at, including your technology skills (familiarity with software and online platforms) and soft skills (problem solving, time management, working with others). This self-analysis can help you identify what industries might suit your skill set best.

    You may even find that your skills are easily transferable from your current role to jobs that are in demand. For example, if you have a background in teaching or mentoring, there may be opportunities in online tutoring. Or if you have great people skills and an interest in public health, you might consider applying to a medical practice or center.

    It's easier to identify what new skills you might want to learn if you have a comprehensive list of what you're already good at.
  2. Take advantage of any training sessions your employer is offering
    Perhaps you're still employed but are interested in changing careers and have started the job hunting process. In this case, it could be worth seeing if your current employer is offering any reskilling workshops.

    With a job market that puts different careers in demand at different times, many companies have invested in retraining employees to fill a wider variety of roles. Your employer might offer things like leadership training, soft-skill building and sessions that teach technical skills. Even if you still end up leaving your current employer for another industry, you can take what you learned into your new job.
  3. Seek out online courses to build up new skills
    While any career change can be scary, one of the top job hunting tips involves reskilling. Now is a great time to take online courses to build your personal toolkit. It's no longer about just about finding out what careers are in demand, it's about what skills are in demand. Here are some of the skills that companies are looking for now more than ever:
    • Familiarity with a wide variety of technologies
      Since most positions are currently hybrid, companies are looking for people who are comfortable with technology so they can be effective remote workers. LinkedIn Learning® and modules on Zoom® and Skype® are great — and often free — places to learn.
    • Ability to work with data
      Industries are rapidly evolving right now, resulting in an increased demand for employees who can understand new trends and changing customer needs. Because of this shift, knowing how to read and analyze data could give you an advantage in the job market. To prepare yourself for data-related opportunities, check out the many online data science courses, including some offered by top universities.
    • Knowledge of coding
      Applicants who can code are becoming more and more valuable. Different colleges such as Harvard® and Georgetown offer online classes, many of which are free (with a charge to receive a verified certificate). Depending on how much time you have or how much you want to learn, you can choose from classes that range from a few weeks to a few months. Coding is a broad term, so do some homework to determine what type of coding is most useful for employers in your ideal industry.

Job hunting, especially when changing careers can be stressful, but you can still be a strong applicant for the opportunities that are available by applying your existing skills to a new industry and building new skills that are in high demand.

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