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The ‘Great Resignation' Could Be a Good Time for a Career Change. Here's What Experts Say to Do

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Courtesy: Hannah Kohr
Hannah Kohr made a career change after quitting her job during the "Great Resignation."

Hannah Kohr started reassessing her career as a library assistant shortly after the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

She had spent the majority of her time at the Cleveland Public Library helping families with basic needs such as food, housing and health care. Yet the 32-year-old felt technology was one of the greatest hindrances for them to access what they needed.

So in March 2021, Kohr decided to walk away and enroll in Tech Elevator's boot camp. She graduated last summer and now works as a product owner for a wellness company. She helps design and build a product geared towards supporting people's health and health outcomes, she said.

"The stress of the work that I'm doing is much less and I am much more highly compensated for the work that I do," Kohr said. In fact, she has more than doubled her salary — she's now making $75,000 a year compared to $30,000 at her job at the library.

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If you've been toying with the idea of trying out a new career, now may be the time to do it, experts say. Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers and there is no sign it is slowing down.

"The Great Resignation is encouraging people to take the time to think about what they are really passionate about and what they want in both a job and employer," said Karen Gaski, human resources manager at CareerBuilder.

Meanwhile, employers are facing many challenges, including a skills gap that has them struggling to fill positions. That is good news for job seekers — 70% of employers are willing to hire and train someone with transferable skills, according to Monster's Future of Work Report, which surveyed 3,000 recruiters and talent acquisition leaders around the globe from Aug. 23 to Sept. 10, 2021.

"Companies are now looking for the right fit, not necessarily the technical skills and those that are on the resume," said Monster career expert Vicki Salemi.

"It is what they bring to the table — their passion, their enthusiasm."

Here's what you can do to land a new job in a new field.

Consider gaining skills

Getting additional training can help you gain valuable skills for your next career, as Kohr did to land her new job. She was recruited by her company before she even graduated.

"It is never too late to go back to school, obtain a certification, set a goal, or educate yourself on something you're passionate about," CareerBuilder's Gaski said.

Highlight transferable skills

Emphasize any transferable skills you have in the executive summary of your resume and in your cover letter, Salemi advised. You can also mention them in a phone screening interview.

Those skills include communication, customer service, problem solving, collaboration and dependability.

Also include on your resume keywords from each job posting, including any lingo the company uses to describe the position or skills.

Have anecdotes ready

Think of anecdotes ahead of the interview so that you can provide specific examples of how you used those transferable skills. Flesh them out by talking about each situation, how you handled it and the outcome.

Practice

Preparing for your interview is key.

"Practice what you'll say ahead of time, but talk conversationally," Salemi said.

Network

Try to have a networking conversation at least once a week.

Ask those who are in the job or industry you seek to join what top three skills are needed to succeed and what you can do to develop them, Salemi suggests. There may be a volunteer role or part-time side hustle you can take to help gain those skills, she said.

"Keep those communication lines open, ask questions, network, keep it moving forward," Salemi said. "Be proactive, reach out to people and expand your network."

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