Changing Careers in 2020

The New Year is the season for fresh starts, and with 2020 marking the beginning of another decade there’s no better opportunity to turn over a new leaf. If you’ve been thinking about making changes in your relationships, lifestyle, and especially your career, January might be the best time to get started on that. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the U.S. Department of Labor, the average American born in the latter years of the baby boom has held an average of 12.3 jobs in their lifetime. While every generation has different habits, the fact of the matter is that career changes are part of life, and you’re not alone in wanting to try out something new. However, the job market isn’t what it used to be, and the landscape of hiring has changed in the past decade or so. Planning on a job search in 2020? Here are a few helpful tips.

Be Prepared for a Wait

Changing careers can invite a lot of risk into your life, and part of that risk is the downtime between jobs. The Balance Careers found that people looking for jobs usually had an unemployment period of around 22.1 weeks as of August 2019, which can be a long time without an income. While the wait can vary depending on the industry, it’s always a good idea to set aside money and resources in preparation for that period. That way, you don’t burn through your savings as quickly, and you have a bit of a buffer in case you have to settle in for a longer wait.

Develop Your Career Plan

There are a variety of reasons why a person might choose to switch jobs, but one thing most experts suggest is to avoid making career changes without a plan. A career plan lists short-term and long-term goals for your career, and can be helpful in providing concrete steps or guides in your working journey. MIT’s Career Advising & Professional Development suggests eight steps to making an effective career plan, among which are identifying career options, prioritization, making comparisons, and setting “SMART” goals.

Develop Your Soft Skills

Technical know-how and experience will make up the bulk of your application, it’s true, but modern employers are looking for something more. Aviation JobNet lists the search for ‘soft skills’ as one of the top hiring trends for 2020 that applicants should be prepared for. Soft skills include interpersonal skills like proper communication and collaboration, as well as critical thinking. As the world becomes increasingly globalized and interconnected, employers are looking for candidates who are quick on their feet and good problem solvers, so make sure you focus on developing your skills off-paper as well.

Market Yourself

The 2018 Workplace Health Survey found that over 70% of workers are looking for a new job, so competition for any position can be fierce. In order to make sure you stand out among the rest, it’s important to learn how to market yourself to potential employers. Start by making sure that your competencies fit at least 70% of what the job listing is looking for, and then focus on doing things that make you stand out. These can include writing personalized cover letters, asking questions about the company, and creating a rapport with your interviewer. There are tons of ways to make a lasting impact on a hiring manager, so do your homework and give it your best shot.