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Career Switching

Career Switching During COVID? Three Things to Consider

The pandemic has prompted many women to reassess their priorities and focus their energy on what they really want. If you’re ready to reframe your experience and pivot to a new industry, you’ll find plenty of guidance in a recent Forté webinar.

In Women Lead: Career Switching During COVID – A Coast-to-Coast Fireside Chat, Amy Orlov, Forté’s VP of Programs, spoke with Steve Hernandez and Dr. Dawn Graham, Career Directors for Wharton’s MBA Program for Executives in San Francisco and Philadelphia, about how women can make a smooth, successful career transition, even in these tumultuous times. Here are a few of their recommendations.

Pay Close Attention to Company Culture

Dawn, a career coach and psychologist, is the author of Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers and Seize Success. She believes career switchers can gain valuable insights by looking at how specific companies have treated their employees during the pandemic. For example, some companies understand that their employees’ family responsibilities have changed, and they have used technology to lean into the new normal. Other companies have been reluctant to innovate.

She says, “I think it’s really important, if you’re looking for a job right now or maybe in the near future, to look beyond what’s on the website or what the mission and values are, and look at what’s actually happening in the organization, because what we see in action is likely more realistic. So, do they have a lot of women leaders in the organization? Have they created new policies to help women, families, or anybody who is struggling with the new normal to integrate career-life balance?”

Commit to Being a Lifelong Learner

The pandemic has highlighted how important it is not only for companies to be flexible, but also for individual people to be able to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.

When companies are hiring, Dawn says, “They are looking for people who are continuous learners who recognize the need to be adaptable and agile — so that’s a critical skill when you’re looking for a new job.”  The job they hire you to do is likely to morph into something else over time, so if you’re someone who makes continuous learning a priority, you’ll be more attractive to an employer.

Connect with Your Full Network

Steve encourages the MBA students and alumni that he works with at Wharton to make the most of their networks, and not just on the micro level, like their MBA cohort.  He says, “Think about all the alumni from your program… Think about all the people that you used to work with that have moved on. Are you in touch with them? I think when people start doing an analysis of that they realize how robust their network is. It’s not like you’re reaching out to strangers. Many of these are very strong ties that we’ve just lost touch with.”

He recommends creating a strategic plan to reconnect with people and making check-ins part of your weekly routine.

Dawn and Steve share more in-depth advice for career switchers in the full webinar, Women Lead: Career Switching During COVID – A Coast-to-Coast Fireside Chat. It was recorded and is now available on demand.

A full library of previous Forté webinars is available to Premium Access Pass members. For $50/year, Access Pass members receive exclusive invitations to Women Lead webinars. If your company is a Forté partner you may be entitled to free Access Pass. Check our partners to see if your organization is involved. Access Pass members also have exclusive use of the Forté Job Center; you can browse positions and post your resume to be seen by leading companies seeking top talent.

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