A recent Pew Research Center analysis found that over 50% of employed adults in America who quit their jobs in 2021, changed their occupation or field of work. That’s amazing! It shows not only a major shift in career objectives, but also the ease by which working people made the change. My sense is that part of the reason for the high number is two-fold: First, the shift from office work to remote opportunities drove many younger employees to change. Over 50% of those seeking a new or better position preferred a remote job. Secondly, the number of retirements, people starting their own business or high stressed workers downshifting to a better balance of life-to-work adding to the equation.
Two forces seem to be in play.
- There is a skills gap between what hiring organizations need and the skills that are available in the workforce. Technology is a driving change agent, and the numbers that are needed to fill the void are greater than the working population can produce. This dynamic causes employers to have to train new employees.
- With applicants falling short of a fully skilled candidate, the criteria changes to those candidates who appear more enthusiastic, demonstrate a desire to learn, and passionate to be a productive and high performer.
So, taking all that information in, what does it mean for the immediate future? Here are some ideas to consider if you’re looking for a job in a new field:
- Network with people you know who are already in jobs to which you aspire. Those who know the quality of work you’ve done in the past are your best ambassadors. They also know what’s going on in their current company and what companies are hiring. That’s your best bet.
- Hiring organizations are primarily looking for candidates that have transferable skills that will fit their needs. The less training they need to do, the better. Secondly, if you fall short on the skills set and they a large number of new hires, show a great deal of interest in the job and enthusiasm to do a great job.
- During the interim, gain as many new skills as you can. Get a certification, take a course, learn a new application or program or find training on-line that will add value to your resume. Even if you haven’t completed the program, show that you plan to finish by a certain date, or state “75% complete”.
- All of these skills and a compelling resume are not worth much if you don’t have the best skills in interviewing. 80% of questions during an interview are predictable. Hiring managers want to know: What did you do? How did you do it? What were the results? Focus on answering these questions before they’re asked. Practice the answers until they are natural and not scripted, and are the best answers matched to the job description.
Now is a good time to make a change. Hiring companies expect it.
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