Career change after a pandemic: Questions to ask yourself

11 min read | Roddy Adair, Director, Hays Personal & Executive Assistants | Article | Career development Resigning | Starting a new job

Man with glasses sitting at lap top reflecting

Has lockdown got you thinking about a job or career change? Ask yourself these questions before you take the leap.

The coronavirus lockdowns gave us an invaluable opportunity to think about whether we really are happy in each area of our lives, including our careers. Use this time wisely by intentionally taking a step back to reflect on the trajectory of your career.

In this blog, we’ll look at the factors to consider if you’re thinking about a job change after the pandemic, including:

  • Finding the purpose in your job
  • Addressing new skills you have learnt
  • Weighing up your options with remote and in-house working.


Making a career change during a pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic had us all re-evaluating our work, play and lives in general. If it’s time to weigh up your priorities, you should ask yourself the following questions.

1. Can you be your authentic self at work?

Think about your professional life and reflect on what inspires, moves and drives you. This will help you to understand how you could make changes to your career that will boost your professional fulfilment. Why not commit now to bringing more of your authentic self to work?

Signs that you are your authentic self at work:

  • It doesn’t take considerable effort to work each day
  • You have like-minded colleagues who you have a good rapport with – whether in the office or working remotely
  • You feel motivated to improve and better yourself in your job.

2. Does your current role still bring you job satisfaction?

We are all guilty of getting wrapped up in the sheer business of life. We might fail to ask ourselves whether we’re truly satisfied by how we’re filling our days. 

Ask yourself:

  • What parts of your job do you enjoy?
  • What would you change about your job if you had the chance?
  • Does your current role allow you to take steps towards fulfilling your long-term career aspirations?

It may seem like a big place to start, but your job should bring you satisfaction. Whether or not you pursue a career change after the pandemic could be guided by the answers to these questions. 

3. Is there meaning and purpose in your job?

Perhaps the uncertainty of the pandemic forced you to realise what brings the most meaning to you personally. Maybe you’d like to consider a post-pandemic job change as a result.  

It’s important to question what truly matters to you and whether your work aligns with this.
Try to go beyond looking at your company’s slogan. Dive deeper into its values and mission. Your job should feel rewarding, meaningful and fulfilling. If you come to realise that your job doesn’t make you feel this way, now might be the time to find a role that better aligns with your own moral code.

4. What kind of employer do you want to work for?

Times of crisis often reflect on the employer. Perhaps you’ve been disappointed by your current employer’s internal and external response to the pandemic. Maybe you were impressed by that of another brand. 

Ask yourself:

  • If you were the CEO of your organisation, what would you be doing to manage the impacts of the pandemic?
  • Do you agree with your organisation’s internal and external response to the pandemic?
  • Did your organisation make you feel as supported as possible throughout this period?

Look at other brands to gauge how employers are approaching this differently. Can you bring this into your own organisation or is it time to think about moving to greener pastures?

5. What is your preferred way of working – remote or in-house?

Lockdown forced many people into home working for the first time. While some people prefer the routine of commuting and interacting face-to-face with their colleagues, others enjoy the greater flexibility of home working. 

It’s important to think about whether you would like to keep some of this flexibility in your working life. Agile working comes in different forms, such as:

  • Job sharing (where two people do one job and split the hours)
  • Working remotely (at home or away from the office)
  • Part time (working fewer hours per week)
  • Compressed hours (working full-time but over fewer days)
  • Flexitime (having flexibility around the hours you work, usually around ‘core’ working hours)

If your role doesn’t ordinarily offer this level of flexibility, perhaps the time has come to talk to your boss about long-term flexible working options. If that’s not possible, it may be time to look for a new job that offers regular remote working.

6. Are you using your skills effectively in your job?

The pandemic caused many people’s roles to shift in scope. Many were given more autonomy and freedom to craft their roles than they’ve ever had before. 

If this sounds like the position you’re in, think about whether or not you’re using skills you didn’t realise you had. Maybe you’re developing entirely new competencies, or building on those you already had? 

Ask yourself:

  • How well have I handled new tasks and responsibilities?
  • Do I get the opportunity to upskill in my job and improve my work?
  • Do I need to find a new job that gives me the opportunity to utilise my new skills?

7. What are you naturally good at and where could you improve?

The lockdowns may have given you time to realise where you were lacking in skills. Are there certain roles that you aspire to move into, but need extra skills? Maybe you’re a marketer, for instance, and could do with developing your technical expertise in such areas as data analysis, marketing automation or search engine optimisation. Or perhaps you’d appreciate this refresher on how skills and competencies differ. Look into the online and virtual courses, events, conferences and webinars that could enable you to develop these skills remotely – this blog will help you. 

You may also realise that you’re naturally good at things that have cropped up during your career. Think about the tasks that put you into a flow state. It’s likely that the duties you most enjoy are also the ones you’re good at.

Now may be the time to consider a post-pandemic job change, focusing on a role that’s more suited to your skills.

8. Are your career goals still relevant?

Much of the post-pandemic change is likely to be lasting and permanent. This, along with your career self-reflection, may have led you to realise how out-of-date your previous long-term career plan has become

Take this time to reassess where you want to take your career, starting by setting some short-term goals to achieve over the next 3 months. Some examples might include:

  • “In three months, I want to have learned how to use [a particular computer system] and use it day-to-day without needing support.”
  • “In three months, I want to have built my contact base on LinkedIn by [x] people.”
  • “In three months, I want to have started a new job which is more rewarding than my current job.”

If you need to revise your career plan, now is the perfect time to do so. Our Job Search Planner can help you strategically plan and define your goals for better career progression.

9. Is your CV still relevant?

Updating your CV is often a task we put off for another day, especially if we aren’t actively looking for a new job. Why not use the results of your self-reflection to update your CV? 

When you do, be sure to add the skills you have learned and projects worked on during the pandemic. Whatever your status might be right now, our CV Guide will help you get yours into shape.


Make self-reflection a habit throughout your career

We all need to learn lessons from this crisis, one of which is the importance of regular self-reflection. Carve out time to regularly reflect on your career so that you make the right decisions moving forward. Commit to making this a habit.


Thinking about a job change during the pandemic?

If you’re considering your next step, get in contact with one of our expert recruitment consultants for a confidential chat about your career options. Or to access a host of resources for helping you adapt to the new way of working, visit our Inspire Me in the New Era of Work Hub. As your lifelong career partner, we are with you every step of the way and will be updating this site regularly with new guides, blogs and information to support you.


About this author

About Roddy Adair

Roddy joined Hays in 1999 as a Recruitment Consultant. In 2012 he took over operational responsibility for Hays in Scotland, managing dedicated teams providing expert temporary and permanent recruitment services for a wide range of sectors and professions. From 2017, he has been the lead for Hays Personal & Executive Assistants business across the UK, providing strategic leadership to over 200 consultants.

articleId- 49191590, groupId- 20151