Want to change careers? Get on board!
If you’ve been thinking about changing your career, you’re not alone. Many people are undergoing a career transition right now.
It’s probably not news to you that the pandemic prompted many Canadians to reevaluate their jobs and career aspirations. In fact, as recently as last year, at least one report showed that 43% of Canadians were planning to switch jobs in 2022. That volatility in the workforce led to what we now call the Great Resignation, when thousands of Canadians made the decision to leave stressful or low-paying jobs, and turn to more rewarding careers.
Although much of that turmoil has begun to settle out, many employers still report difficulties with recruitment and hiring, with Statistics Canada reporting that the unemployment-to-job vacancy rate is at an historic low. Recent inflationary pressures also mean that many Canadian workers are turning down jobs with salaries that don’t meet their expectations. So despite fears of a possible recession, it’s still a great time to make that career transition you’ve been dreaming about.
The truth is, it’s always a great time to align your career path with your aspirations and plan for a career transition, no matter if it’s about finding a better work-life balance, landing a better salary, or starting a career that will challenge you to learn and grow. Making change in your career path is simple and complicated at the same time. It’s not just about applying for another job. Instead, it takes a bit of soul-searching, a lot of planning, and finally, it takes a commitment to upskilling yourself so that you can begin your new career journey. Let’s take a look at all of these critical steps.
Reflecting on values and goals during your career transition
What we choose to do for work is important. It sounds simple, but let’s unpack that sentence just a little bit. The key part of the sentence you should be thinking about is about what you choose to do. Many people find themselves in occupations and careers that they haven’t really chosen. We need work, we find a job, and we continue working in these situations even if what we are doing doesn’t satisfy our hopes and ambitions. So the first step to making a smooth career transition is to step back and think about what your hopes and ambitions really are. Again it sounds obvious, but the fact is that for all kinds of reasons, many people don’t do this. Perhaps we don’t feel empowered enough. Maybe we think our ambitions are unrealistic. But here’s another reason: most if us simply don’t take the time to think about what our values and goals really are.
If you’ve been thinking about making a career change, one of the most important things you can do is to think about what motivates you. An easy place to begin is to start thinking about what you don’t like about your current role. But don’t stop there. Start writing down the things that you enjoy most about what you do now, or what you’ve done in the past. Think about what drives you. Think about what makes you happy. And most importantly, start thinking about the career path that aligns with all of these things.
Planning for a career transition
Once you have identified what it is that you want from your career change, it’s time to move ahead into the planning stage. The first thing you need to do is to take stock of your current skills and experience, and figure out the distance between where you are now, and the career you want. Don’t just think about your hard skills. It’s critical to assess your soft skills, as well as the skills you already have that are transferable to the new position you’re looking for.
Do your research and find out what the skills and competencies are that employers are looking for in the field you want to join. Look at all the relevant job descriptions you can, without feeling like you have to apply for any of them—yet. Instead, pay attention to the different hard and soft skills these positions call for. How many of these skills do you have already? How many of these skills will require upskilling?
Already you have begun to map out a real plan. You should have a good sense of what your strengths are, and those should be key drivers for what you do next. At the same time, you now have a realistic sense of what the gaps are between you and the career you want. Now it’s time to talk upskilling!
Upskilling for a career transition
Upgrading your skills for a career change can look like all kinds of things for different people. One person might choose go to go back to university or college to get the training they need. It’s a huge commitment of time and money. But what if the career change you’re looking for doesn’t really require spending four years or more in a university program? What if your dream job is actually closer than you think? Let’s go back to the transferable skills we were talking about earlier. You should have them written down, so let’s take a look at them now. More often than not, you probably already have many of the skills needed to make the career transition you’re thinking about. And this is where upskilling comes in.
Upskilling is not the same thing as training. Traditional training programs teach people a set of new skills, while upskilling focuses on what it takes to get someone into a new job. While learning new skills is undoubtedly a core part of that process, so is gaining the professional acumen needed to successfully navigate the job search and interview process, as well as the many different professional skills you need to succeed in a new role.
Let’s take the SalesCamp program from Palette Skills as an example. The flagship upskilling program gets people ready for a rewarding career in the business-to-business (B2B) tech sales industry. Despite some predictable layoffs in the tech sector earlier this year, the field of B2B tech sales continues to grow, because when it comes right down to it, business needs tech to succeed, and that tech doesn’t sell itself.
You might think that B2B tech sales requires some pretty heavy tech skills, but that’s not actually true. Instead, succeeding in this field means leveraging great transferable and soft skills. B2B tech sales isn’t about building complicated technology. It’s about making connections between people, and the products and services they need. People in customer-facing occupations, from hospitality, servers and bartenders, to receptionists, hotel clerks and customer support workers are all building a future career in tech sales. All of these occupations require great human skills; from there it’s a question of connecting to relevant industry training, building specific professional skills, and finally, linking up candidates to businesses desperate for top sales talent.
We spoke to one of our SalesCamp alumni who helped explain why the popular upskilling program worked so well for him.
“I learned how to sell myself,” says John Woohyun Choi, “and I learned how to emphasize my strengths. Employers helped revise our resumes, and gave priceless advice and insights to us. Where else can I get to connect and chat with these people if it wasn’t at SalesCamp.”
Like hundreds of other SalesCamp alumni, John has made a successful career transition into the world of B2B tech sales. We think you can too, so why not check out SalesCamp today!