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How to Shift Careers in a Changing Economy

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Are you looking for work after a stint on unemployment or being furloughed during the pandemic? If you’re considering a career change, there’s no better time. As the U.S. economy shifts, there is an increased need for jobs in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, and construction, according to a study released by analytics firm Chmura

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But what are the steps you can take to get into some of these growing careers? Several experts shared with us their best tips for how to shift careers at any stage of your life.

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Look for Companies Willing to Train You

Whether you’re thinking about entering a field like nursing or putting your creativity to work in web development, many companies are willing to pay for some or all of your training or certifications, said Kathy Kristof, editor of SideHusl.com. “Because there are more openings than applicants in many tech fields, companies are willing to train you for free or exceptionally cheaply,” she said. “IBM, Google and Apple are all subsidizing tech training programs that can be done online in as little as a few months. In this field, certifications are more important than college degrees.”

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Keep an Open Mind About What You Can Do

If a job in tech seems scary because you needed your tween daughter to show you how to use your iPhone, don’t worry. “Technology is not just the purview of engineers or the so-called geeks, anymore,” said Sarah Boisvert, co-founder of The New Collar Network. 

The tools and technologies are everywhere and, just like you eventually picked up your iPhone and can swipe like a pro, you can pick up any tech-based job with the right training. “We have to open our minds to the fact that these kind of jobs are really available to anybody willing to give it a whirl,” Boisvert said, advising people to look for training with a hands-on component.

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Look for Transferable Skills

“The first step for anyone changing careers, especially when considering an emerging market, is to take stock of your transferable skills, experiences and values,” said Olivia Sod, a career coach. 

She recommends creating a list of these things before pursuing training or certifications in any new career. “Research positions that fit with what you’ve learned about yourself,” she said. “Too many people fall into the trap of getting more education to kill time until they figure out their next step, but that usually leads to job dissatisfaction and a mountain of student debt.”

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Connect with Others in the Fields You’re Considering

To dive deeper prior to a career change, speak with people in the field, Sod advises. Ask about job shadowing opportunities and try to discover the day-to-day expectations as well as growth opportunities in the field. “It’s important not to make any investments until you’re sure the next step you’re considering aligns with your passions and values. Once you’ve gotten a complete picture of your options, you can make an informed decision about your next career move,” she said.

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Connect with Mentors Willing to Train You in Every Aspect of the Job Hunt

Once you’ve explored the possibilities and decided on a new career path, connect with the people who can help you in your new pursuit. Sean Rogers, author of the book “Refactored: My Attempt at Breaking into Tech During the Rise of the Coding Boot Camp” made sure to work with a company that offered not just training in coding, but other skills that were equally important. “The boot camp I went to helped me write my resume and build my online presence on LinkedIn. We also did mock interviews,” Rogers said.

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Tailor Your Resume to the Transferable Skills

“The most important part of adapting a resume for a career change is to emphasize the transferable skills mentioned in the job description,” Sod said. She advises looking at the action verbs and skills from the job description and then incorporating those skills into both your resume’s bullet points and your cover letter. “You can customize your resume directly to the position and show the similarities between your past experiences and their job opening,” she says. 

For Rogers, retail management experience propelled him to a management position in the software development field within a year. “I think customer service translates to other fields more than you think it would,” he said.

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Network, Network, Network

With the skills you need, a tailored resume and a good idea of your next career move, it’s important to get the networking machine moving in your favor. “Studies show that 85% of jobs are filled through networking,” Sod said. “By creating a consistent networking routine, career changers can unlock an entire world of exciting opportunities.”

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