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Half of Americans who quit their jobs last year made a career change. Here are 5 steps to take to do the same

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If you want to change careers, you are not alone.

It turns out the “Great Resignation,” also known as the “Great Reshuffle,” has many Americans rethinking the type of work they are doing. Some 53% of employed U.S. adults who quit their job in 2021 changed their occupation or field of work at some point last year, an analysis from Pew Research found.

Younger workers were more prone to make the leap. Of employed adults ages 18 to 29 who said they quit a job in 2021, 61% shifted their field of work or occupation, compared to 45% of those ages 30 and older, according to Pew. It based its analysis on 6,627 non-retired U.S. adults, including 965 who say they left a job by choice last year. The data was collected as a part of a larger survey conducted Feb. 7 to 13.

Companies are now looking for the right fit, not necessarily the technical skills.
Vicki Salemi
career expert at Monster

Now may be the time to make a change, if that’s what you are contemplating, experts believe.

“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.

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“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 job in a new field.

1. Feature 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 terminology the company uses to describe the position or skills.

2. Gain new skills

J_art | Moment | Getty Images

Getting additional training can help you gain valuable skills for your next career.

“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.

3. Have examples ready

Think of anecdotes ahead of the interview so 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.

4. Practice, practice, practice

Preparing for your interview is key.

“Practice what you’ll say ahead of time, but talk conversationally,” Salemi said.

5. Don’t forget to 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 get 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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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

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