Lindsey Gamard, 38, knew she wanted to quit her job when she saw many of her co-workers leaving.
“It was like a sinking ship,” said Gamard, a data analyst who lives in San Tan Valley, Arizona.
It didn’t help that her employer, a tech company, wanted all of its employees to start back in the office at least three days a week last May.
So Gamard, who didn’t see room for growth at her company, became one of the millions of Americans who quit during the pandemic.
Fortunately, she landed a new job before she handed in her notice.
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“One of the big benefits that affected my choice was that the new job is remote-first,” she said. That means she can come into the office if she wants, but few employees are required to do so on a regular basis.
Many more workers are expected to follow suit in what’s being called the “Great Resignation.” In fact, 95% of workers are currently considering changing jobs and 92% are willing to switch industries to land a new position, a recent survey by career site Monster found.
“The pandemic has created an opportunity for so many of us to reexamine our life, our career, our everything,” said Vicki Salemi, Monster career expert.
Ideally, you won’t leave your job before you have a new employer.
However, if you can’t take it anymore and want to resign without another role lined up, at least make sure you have about six months of expenses saved up, said Tejal Wagadia, a Chandler, Arizona-based career coach and recruiter.
Wagadia says she has helped almost 10,000 people find jobs in the past seven years.
“People think the job search is going to take them a couple of weeks,” she said. “It will not. It will take a couple of months.”
That’s why it’s important to have a plan. Here are five things career experts say you should do in your job swap — and one you shouldn’t.
1. Identify your wants
The most important thing to figure out is what type of work you want to be doing, who you want to be doing it for and the pay, Salemi said.
“Now is an excellent time for people thinking of making a career change,” Salemi said.
“So many companies are hiring and looking for transferable skills, so you don’t necessarily need experience in that specific job,” she said.
Once you know what you want to do, come up with a list of target companies and include the type of company, type of job, company size and revenue, Wagadia suggests.
2. Set up job alerts
By creating job alerts through career websites, you’ll be notified when a new job is posted. If you see a job you are interested in, don’t wait to apply.
“Employers are eager to hire,” Salemi said. “If you see a job opportunity, aim to apply the same day.”
3. Tweak your resume
Change your resume each time you submit a new application so that it matches the job description, Wagadia said.
“Go line by line and read through everything they have listed,” she said.
If it is a large list, pay most attention to the first three to seven duties and three to five skills the company is looking for.
If you are making a career change, highlight your transferable skills in an executive summary.
Reach out to people you know that may be in the industry or company you’d like to join.
“You are looking for the right fit, not just actual job but company values, what they stand for, what their benefits are like,” Salemi said.
LinkedIn is a good way to find out if there are people you know at a given company. Just go to the company’s page and it will show you what connections work there.
5. Explain a gap
If you quit your job to look for another one, you don’t necessarily have to worry about a gap in your resume.
“Gaps are not a deal breaker, as they used to be,” she said. “Right now in the pandemic, anything goes.”
Be prepared to answer questions about why you left your last employer, such as the desire to focus 100% on a job search.
“Pivot and flow the conversation into something like, ‘This is why I’m so interested in your role,” Salemi said.
“Demonstrate your enthusiasm and excitement.”
6. Don’t settle
As much as you want to escape your current job, don’t settle when it comes to your next one. Know your worth heading into an interview.
“It’s a job seeker’s market right now,” Salemi said. “Remember you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.”
Get the sense of the camaraderie during a group virtual interview and see if you have a rapport with your potential boss.
Remember, if it doesn’t seem like a good fit, you can respectfully withdraw your application or decline a job offer.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.