The sudden disruption to the job market is forcing many people to reconsider their career options and apply their skills to sectors that haven’t been as affected by the pandemic. While the government continues to promote re-skilling, the truth is it can be a hard thing to do. Not only does it involve stepping outside of your comfort zone but it often means giving up an industry that you love – hospitality, for example.

Whether you’re looking to temporarily move industries or make a longer-term career, we’ve put together a five-point plan of career-change tips to make the transition as painless as possible.

Be open and positive about your options

Swapping career paths can feel like a big task, even more so during a pandemic. So it’s vital to approach the switch with the right mindset. Even if it’s temporary, aim to see the change as an exciting opportunity to expand your skills, meet new people and refresh your environment. With a positive mindset you’ll be more open to exploring different options and get more out of the experiences that come your way.

Evaluate your skills, honestly

Write down a list of skills you’ve gained from your current job or past jobs. Then write a list of skills or strengths you’ve gained from activities, hobbies, or inherent traits you have outside of the workplace. If you’re struggling, you could ask a trusted coworker, friend or family member what they think your key strengths are.

Once you’ve assessed your skills, consider which ones are transferable. For example, if you’ve built up great people skills while working in hospitality, consider the roles in other industries that also call for those skills – such as care or telecommunications.

On Placed, you can take quizzes to discover which industries your skills and talents are most suited to.

Reach out to your network

Once you have some ideas for where you could apply your skills, get in touch with your closest contact in that industry and ask whether they’d be willing to meet for a virtual coffee. Explain your situation to them and that you’re serious about making a change – people generally enjoy giving advice and being seen as an expert in their field so don’t feel embarrassed to ask.

If you’re still undecided on that industry, you could ask them questions such as what they enjoy about their job, which skills are important, or to describe a typical day at work. Once you’re sure it’s the right sector for you, ask them what their pathway into the profession was and see if they can refer you to any roles or other contacts.

Make the most of online courses

There are hundreds of low-cost or free courses led by industry professionals available online (we listed a few here) – so use them! They will help you develop the skills required for a new industry and many provide certificates on completion.

Not only are courses valuable for strengthening your application, they can be a helpful way to gain a better understanding of the industry if you’re still figuring out whether it’s the right choice for you. Courses can also be a fun way to network and generate discussion with like-minded people – people that might be able and willing to refer you for jobs.

Follow leading brands and people for insight

This may seem like fairly basic advice, but it can actually make a big difference. By following influential people or brands, you are passively building up your knowledge and understanding of that industry through them. Plus, you’ll be first to any job opportunities, too.

Placed’s follow feature allows you to subscribe to specific companies and get alerted when new jobs and content are published. An industry switch can feel challenging, especially at this time. But keep in mind that with the right preparation and perspective it can be the start of fresh new inspiration for both your professional and personal life.