Since the pandemic forced most of us to start working from home, we also ended up with a lot more free time on our hands. With no more commuting, no lunch breaks to Pret and no social activity whatsoever, we gained a few extra hours to watch Netflix and read books.
Some of us may have used this time to work on new projects, gain a new qualification, discover a new hobby or work out. A lot of us chose to spend that quality time getting well-needed sleep, taking time to relax or catching up with friends and family via Zoom quizzes.
Some people however, took a good look at their current career and job situation and decided to try something different. Others didn’t have a choice as they lost their jobs, were furloughed or made redundant due to the pandemic.
When it comes to choosing a new career, there are many things to consider.
1. WHERE ARE THE MOST JOBS RIGHT NOW?
As you are probably well aware, there are less and less jobs being advertised right now given the current climate. However, there are certain sectors that are growing because of the current climate.
Let’s look at Amazon for example. We all now that Mr Jeff Bezos made an absolute fortune when the pandemic first hit, when everyone was going to Amazon for their everyday needs. In June, only three months after the pandemic hit America, Amazon had already grown its headcount by 34%.
Now think of the grocery sector. While all non-essential stores were forced to close, grocery stores remained open and saw an increase in revenue (thanks to everyone stock-piling toilet roll) and employed extra shelf-stackers and delivery-drivers.
And the most obvious of all, the health sector. With hospitals all over the world being inundated with patients and running at over-capacity, the health service needed all the help it could get. This meant that workers furloughed or made redundant were able to seek jobs working in hospitals from reception staff to nurses.
However, if you were searching for a job in the hospitality, events, or tourism industry, you may not have had such luck.
2. WHAT SKILLS ARE EMPLOYERS LOOKING FOR?
It seems with every new trend comes a new wave of skills needed. The internet was born and so everyone needed to learn to use it. Then came social media and now it seems we must all be up-to-date on the latest apps and hacks.
Related: Five New Social Media Features to Know About
We learnt how to text, we learnt how to tweet, we learnt how to use WiFi and we learnt how to use Skype.
With the introduction of a pandemic, the world was turned on its axis. We were suddenly all working from home, learning how to use Zoom and learning how to adapt to an entirely new situation very quickly.
From March 2020, I would guess that every job description required competency in Zoom and self-motivation. According to Adzuna, here are the top list of skills employers are looking for right now:
3. SHOULD I CONSIDER FREELANCING
Freelancing sounds like a very lucrative career, doesn’t it? Choosing your own working hours, working for yourself, choosing your clients, deciding when and where you work and just living life on your own terms while earning as much as you would like to charge.
Well, the ability to work from where you like and doing work that you enjoy at the time that you choose, sounds like a dream to me.
On the other hand, it’s probably one of the most risky careers to have as financial security doesn’t really exist. Freelancers were one of the first to go when the pandemic hit as businesses made business cuts where they could, meaning the freelancer they hired was top of the list.
Many freelancers live month-to-month and no month is ever the same income-wise. Whether you would like that no month is ever the same, you are constantly chasing invoices or searching for work, that would be up to you. Perhaps the benefits outweigh the negatives?
Averagely speaking, freelancers earn a lot more than people in the same roles within an organisation. Freelancing is definitely something I’d love to look into doing in the future (not for the salary but for the ability to work from wherever and whenever).
THE DOWNSIDE OF FREELANCING
Before we all jump ship and climb aboard the freelancing boat, there are quite a few downsides to the freelancing life.
For starters, benefits are very, very limited. All of the benefits you would expect to gain by working for a company (think health insurance, maternity pay, sick pay, holiday pay, redundancy notice etc.) you don’t get when you’re a freelancer.
For those that don’t get sick very often, maybe don’t have any kids or like to work while on holiday, this may not deter you from becoming a freelancer, but it’s definitely something to consider.
Read how these women changed career paths due to COVID-19 for more insight. And of course, read here for CV and Cover Letter help as well as a guide to securing a placement/job.
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