Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

For nine years, Evert Lamb worked as a graphic designer and art director in the marketing department of a travel company. But in mid-March, as the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were hitting the travel industry, Mr. Lamb was made redundant at his job.

Instead of seeking similar roles, Mr. Lamb’s goal is to move out of marketing into a more hands-on sector of design. “What I really want to do is develop the products that actually matter,” Mr. Lamb explains. “Not selling the product, but building the product.” Mr. Lamb is just one many Canadians using their job loss as an opportunity to pivot career paths into a more personally fulfilling direction. Mr. Lamb’s role at the travel company was broad, covering everything from designing apparel to video editing, interior design, logo development and branding. So his challenge now is deciding on his next move. “That's where the fork in the road is for me – what industry to go to. But definitely not tech.”

Knowing your dislikes is just as important as knowing what matters to you in a job, according to career coach Kathryn Meisner. This is often the first step she advises when coaching clients through a career change. She has seen common priorities emerge around work culture. “I’d say the top three are usually working from home, flexibility in work hours and having good managers,” she says.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Meisner has noticed that many career changers she works with nowadays are generalists, such as Mr. Lamb, who have skills that are valuable across several industries. “It’s a blessing and a curse they don’t necessarily need a specific industry,” she says. Instead, Ms. Meisner advises these clients to focus their search on finding a company culture that suits their priorities.

While our instinct may be to hit the internet, Ms. Meisner advises tapping one’s network at this step and setting up virtual coffee chats. “You can spend hours scrolling online and Google can only tell you so much, but talking to humans is where you can explore new careers and simultaneously also job search,” she says. And don’t forget about personal contacts. “My clients often think, ‘My good friend isn't in the same industry as me. How could she possibly help me?’ But people know people.”

While interacting with your network, Ms. Meisner encourages career changers to “lead with skills” as opposed to relying on job titles from a résumé. “Instead of saying ‘I have 10 years of experience as a travel agent,’ say ‘I have 10 years experience in building client relations, business development and sales,’” she advises. “You have a lot of power to change someone’s lens of how they view your skill set.”

Now is a good time for making connections outside of your network too, according to Karin Lewis, an employment counsellor at the non-profit organization JVS Toronto. “Some people are a little less busy than they were a few months ago and they might have time to chat,” Ms. Lewis says. “Get on LinkedIn and reach out to lots of people. You might get two or three out of 20 responding.”

To make the most of these interactions, approach them with some focus. “Don’t bombard people,” Ms. Lewis advises. “Just ask a couple of intelligent questions, like what they think about the market right now.” These casual conversations are also a good opportunity to assess the value of further education in your career change. “Some people just throw money into the first course that they come along to, and very often it’s money not well spent,” she says. She advises verifying that courses and programs of interest are held at registered colleges. Provincial resources such as Ontario’s list of approved private career colleges can be helpful here.

Ms. Meisner is also wary of further education. “I think most people assume that ‘Oh, I’ll just go back to school,’” she says. “But I want to hear from people in the industry, which education, if any, is valuable. And if it is, which schools and which programs. You probably don’t need a degree or a diploma.”

While there can be pressure to emerge from the pandemic with a new career, Ms. Lewis encourages job seekers to have some self-compassion. “Making a change, when it comes at you quickly and when it’s during a crisis, isn’t always an ideal thing,” Ms. Lewis says. “If you’re having to pay bills, it might be worth going back to what you can get into easily while you plan your career change.” Making preparations such as polishing up a résumé and LinkedIn profile and reaching out to folks in industries of interest are all steps that can be taken while working at another job.

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Meisner says that some of the clients she coaches are still employed but are preparing for their next steps in light of their roles changing or in anticipation of layoffs. Like Ms. Lewis, Ms. Meisner shares reassuring words for clients eager for change. “I’ve said this prepandemic, but your next step doesn’t have to be your last step,” she explains, adding that career changes don’t necessarily follow a linear trajectory. “It may be a stepping-stone.”

Stay ahead in your career. We have a weekly Careers newsletter to give you guidance and tips on career management, leadership, business education and more. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies