There is a big difference between getting a job and changing career, although the two often overlap.

We usually understand “getting a job” as something that happens when you finish college or a training course, want to move up the career ladder or lose the job you are already in. And it’s often related to whatever you were doing before, either as a student or in the workplace.

Changing career, on the other hand, involves making a decision to move into a completely new area of work and often involves retraining or further study. So there is a lot more to it than simply applying for jobs.

However, the problem with changing career is that it takes time. Yes, sometimes a once in a lifetime opportunity to do something new and exciting will arise and if that happens, you’ll go for it. But hanging around on the off chance, could involve a very long wait.

However, it is possible to plan a career change and to do it without starving in the process.

First things first, if you need to pay bills or support a family, you can get a job for that express purpose. In fact, if you know the direction you want to move towards, you could look for something related or that at least will give you relevant skills. If you don’t know what you want to do long-term, look for a job you would enjoy and where you can develop skills and gain good experience.

This will give you financial security and time to look at new careers, and to research and plan for the future you want.

At the moment (2021) things aren’t great for jobseekers, with many sectors still in the grip of the pandemic and this could mean you have to look for something different as your temporary job. But just remember, it won’t be for ever – unless of course, you discover you love it! And you might – it’s important to remain open to all possibilities.

So if you are looking for a job to pay those bills, which sectors are flourishing?

This will vary, depending on the situation in your area. For example, in the UK we are just coming out of lockdown at the time of writing (May 2021). Pubs and restaurants are re-opening soon and many can’t find staff because those who previously worked for them have got jobs elsewhere. This does open up an opportunity for people who need to get a job as soon as possible to keep on top of those bills. And it’s worth remembering that although it may be a while before we see the end of lockdowns, life will eventually get back to normal and there will be a big demand for people to work in hospitality. So as a temp measure, it would be a good move and if you’ve ever considered a career in hospitalilty, there will be jobs and training on offer, making it an even better choice.

Anything to do with delivery has thrived over the last year – check out companies that do this, but look also for the behind the scenes jobs. You don’t necessarily have to do the actual delivering. For example, check out admin positions if you have relevant experience.
Hospitals employ all sorts of people, not just doctors and nurses. Research non-medical posts available locally.
Anything to do with online learning – if you have any skills or school subjects you can teach, you could join an agency, contact local schools or colleges or advertise on various websites. Search for tutoring websites and agencies.

If you don’t feel qualified to teach school, college or work-related topics, how about hobbies? Lots of people have taken up new interests during lockdowns. You can create video courses or offer to do one on one teaching via zoom. An alternative is to find online learning platforms and enquire about jobs, especially if you have tech experience or sales – you don’t have to be a teacher.

Which brings us to anything to do with technology, especially if it’s related to working from home.

If you have specific skills and could work from home, research companies which will give you that option.

A final tip.  One of the best ways to find a job is by word of mouth. So if you aren’t having much luck with online job boards and newspaper ads, it’s worth telling everyone you know that you are looking for something. Often a friend’s sister, brother, mother or father will know someone who knows someone who has a vacancy. So don’t be afraid to tell people the type of job you’d consider.Another good strategy is to ask friends who are in work if there are any jobs going at their workplace. Some employers find that asking existing staff is a reliable way of finding new employees.

If you are applying for jobs, make sure your applications are targeted and be sure to update your CV or résumé. I’ll be adding articles to help you with that soon.
And once you’ve found a job to keep things ticking over, you can move on to start planning your career change.