The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic has Albertans rethinking their career choices, job search and priorities. And while it may seem scary to start thinking differently about what you truly want to do with your life during such turbulent times, it is a worthwhile risk to seek out opportunities that offer meaning, substance and value.

With Canada Career Month upon us, we want to encourage those who are grappling with unemployment or underemployment to evaluate what’s not working. In the age of COVID-19 and beyond, you can pivot, reinvent yourself, and claim a new career path of purpose that aligns with your values, needs and desires. Don’t lose hope.

If you no longer wish to continue on your current path and are ready to make a move, here’s what you need to know to start the process.

1. Tap into your talents and dreams.

Your second act should bring you meaning and purpose. But, before you make the leap, it’s crucial to investigate your career pivot. When you were young, what did you want to do when you grew up? Do any of those dreams still resonate today? What are you passionate about? What interests have you ignored for far too long?

Before choosing an industry, company or role, tap into your intrinsic talents and dreams and consider how you can monetize them.

2. Know what you bring to the table.

What are your strengths? Based on all the jobs, internships, and volunteer roles you’ve held, make a list of the kind of work you enjoy, what you are great at, and what you are most passionate about. Ask your colleagues, managers, friends or family for feedback. Too often, we don’t recognize our own talents.

Need help? Calgary Library’s Job and Career Accelerator is a great place to start exploring career options that suit your interests and skills.

3. Match skills to new opportunities.

The pandemic and world oil price collapse have had a profound impact on Alberta’s economy. Now, as the needs of organizations, customers, and employees evolve, jobs are being reshaped and redefined. Scan the market to explore new trends and opportunities and how your skills portfolio compares.

Are you looking to transition out of the oil and gas industry? Explore the transferability of oil and gas skills, knowledge and experiences across a sampling of occupations and industry sectors at www.careertransitions.ca.

4. Address skill gaps.

Once you’ve created an inventory of your skills and passions and scanned the market for opportunities that align, it’s time to assess and address your skill gaps. While you don’t need to possess all of the skills and competencies on a job description, you do want to prioritize mastering the skills that will be in demand in the industry that interests you most.

Explore new learning options at www.alis.alberta.ca or www.lynda.com.

5. Build your new brand.

Are you prepared to answer the question: “Why you?” Can you communicate your value, why you do what you do, and how you do it differently and better than others? When was the last time you Googled yourself? Do your social media accounts portray a professional image that is authentic to you? In a competitive economy, your brand is what makes you more hireable than someone with similar qualifications. Don’t sell yourself short. Be your own best advocate!

6. Be prepared for challenges.

We’re living in exceptional times: changing paths today and reinventing your career can be liberating and a little scary, and results can take time. Staying patient, upbeat and positive during a transition can be challenging enough without the added pressures and worries brought on by the pandemic.

If you are experiencing challenges, know this: you are not alone. Now, take a deep breath and ask yourself:

  • How do I keep myself physically fit and healthy?
  • Am I clear on my financial situation, and am I doing all I can to manage my cash flow effectively?
  • Reinventing my career might take time. Do I have a roadmap for what I need to do, and am I mentally prepared for the ups and downs I might encounter on the way?
  • Which communities and professional groups can I join to help me during the transition?

If you are considering new career possibilities, don’t let the current situation discourage you. Now may be the perfect time to shift your career and change the trajectory of your life. Unprecedented simply means that we are living in a way that is unlike anything we’ve previously experienced. In a world that is constantly changing, embrace change, hold on to hope, and don’t be afraid to carve out a new path for your future.

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