Changing your job during the pandemic: EMPLOYMENT ADVICE COLUMN

Dear Joanna

I would like to start looking for another job. I’m afraid to do this during Covid. But, I would like to make more money and grow my career to the next level with more responsibilities. At my current company, there is no opportunity for this. How do I switch to another job during the pandemic without risking my current employment?

Signed: Job Switcher

Dear JS, According to blogger Towey in, at least one in four people have quit their job in 2021 [USA statistic], fueling “The Great Resignation”. But people aren’t just quitting, Linkedin CEO Ryan Roslansky explained in a recent interview with TIME. “They’re transitioning jobs and switching industries entirely, otherwise known as “The Great Reshuffle.” So you are not alone in your job search during Covid!

Towey interviewed six professionals who successfully “pivoted” into another job this year and they recommend the following six tips to do this in your own job search:

1. Highlight your transferable skills and network. Leverage your skills and talents are aren’t industry-specific. For example, in your current job, you had to meet many deadlines. As a result, you had to create your own scheduling and organizing of your time to make sure you finished your work on time! Time management is a critical “transferrable skills”. That’s the sort of thing that I would leverage in my interview experience. Also, doing your due diligence and speaking to people in the industry will be really beneficial. It doesn’t have to be on LinkedIn, it could be someone that you played soccer with in college or an old friend.”

2. Assess your risk tolerance. Never be in a rush or desperate. Slow and steady wins the race. It’s important to take your time, be strategic, and prepare a plan of action – step by step. Be careful. You can always ask the potential employer (HR or department head) for an information interview or perhaps to job shadow for a day. And it’s always much easier to look for work when you are working. You have to really sit down and ask yourself if you are comfortable with that kind of risk … explore your identity and how you want to spend your day. Really think about the pros and the cons.”

3. Take advantage of free resources online. There are free courses on YouTube, Linkedin Learning, TedTalks, and other online job boards as well as the public libraries. Also there are softwares that you can download a free month trial to start learning the new software if it’s a computer skill required for the next job you are looking for. Identify and analyze the job postings of positions that you dream to have and find out what skills, requirements, qualifications and experience is required. Which ones do you need to learn? Before you pay for a course, you have to try and check if it is really for you. Trying some projects by yourself and studying for free gives you a little bit of an insight into what the correct career is and if you can go through with it.”

4. Create a budget and fallback plan. Figure out your budget — how much money you need to spend on your mortgage, your utilities, food, debt, and all your expenses. How much can you comfortably live with while you transition to your new role? Make sure you have at least six months of savings. If it’s possible, having a part-time position you can lean on is super helpful so that anxiety can be kept at bay. Then with the worst-case scenario, figure out at the beginning what to do if you run out of money. Will you sell your car? Will you default to your 401k? Will you sell your stocks? What type of skills can you lean on to make money in a part-time capacity?”

5. Keep a positive mindset. Having a good attitude goes a long way! Live by it, try to smile and keep positive. You need to know that it’s okay to fail or make a mistake. The key is to knowing that you can keep on applying for work, researching and learning. No one can take that away from you! Just try to learn and know that you’re going to stumble, but then you just get yourself back up.

6. Balance creative freedom with financial security. Keep your full-time job until you have some confidence that you get a job offer from the new position. In the meantime, consider doing some freelancing jobs or part time contracts on the side. You can also develop your portfolio, expand your network, and build your skills with volunteering in the community.


Please send your questions and comments on employment and career issues in confidence to Joanna Samuels, Employment Supervisor, REENA at