The onset of the pandemic in 2020 and the disruptions that followed thereafter revealed how dissatisfied most are with their jobs. Now that the economy is regaining its footing, people have begun to reassess and reinvent their careers. The question is, where should they go next and how do they get there?
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Career Reinvention in the Time of Coronavirus
People are quitting their jobs at record rates. The root cause: pandemic-related epiphanies.
With working professionals having had time to reevaluate their careers, questions such as, “Is this really what I want to be doing?” and “Is this how much I want to be earning?” have become commonplace. For four million people, the answer has been a resounding ‘no’.
A recent Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary from the US Labor Department reveals that around four million people quit their jobs in April, emboldened by the belief that they will find better opportunities, better work-life balance, and perhaps a new career path elsewhere.
The problem is that those who might be ready to shift careers may not know where or how to begin. Indeed, this problem has been around way before today’s so-called resignation and reinvention boom.
Polling research conducted in 2020 by Strada Education reported that many American workers wished to change their career circumstances. However, more than half of these workers found it difficult to pull this off.
Several reasons contributed to the sentiment. Some said their employers did not provide training opportunities. Others felt they didn’t have the right skills to advance their careers, while some admitted to feeling lost about where to begin.
Built to offer some much-needed guidance toward clearer career paths is the Career Navigator, a tool developed by 2U, Inc. brand GetSmarter in partnership with analytics software firm Burning Glass Technologies.
GetSmarter Career Navigator: What Is It and Why Is It Important?
The GetSmarter Career Navigator was built out of a simple vision: to allow professionals of all levels of jobs, industries, and verticals to own their career development and build the future that they want.
“Many big organizations lay out career paths and the required skills needed to get there in their HRIS [Human Resource Information Systems],” says Steve van der Westhuizen, Product Strategy Division Lead at GetSmarter. “But these are set by the employer and the context is—understandably so—for that of the employer.”
“However, people are now taking back ownership of their careers and reassessing the role that their work plays in their lives [as well as] the opportunities available to them. [And so] we wanted anyone to have a view of potential careers and what was needed to take one’s career to the next level, irrespective of their current employer,” Steve adds.
This mission paved the way for the development of the Career Navigator. Armed with real-time insights from Burning Glass Technologies, the Career Navigator seeks to help users identify the skills that employers of their prospective careers are looking for right now, among other features.
So, what else does the Career Navigator offer?
GetSmarter Career Navigator: How Does It Work?
A quick click to the Career Navigator tool presents you with four questions, all of which lead to the resulting career roadmap.
- What’s your career motivation?
- Where are you based at the moment?
- What’s your current job title?
- What’s your desired job title?
Based on your answers, the Career Navigator will generate individualized results. Particularly, you will be redirected to a page that gives you the essential information and resources you need to get from where you are now to where you want to be. These include the following details.
1. Required Education: “What Education Do I Need?”
The Career Navigator provides a snapshot of the qualifications of those already in your prospective field.
Why is this important? Education plays a key role in finding a job, with many professions requiring a certain level of education from applicants. Having the right credentials, therefore, is what will get your foot in the door.
Knowing what credentials the majority holds also gives you insight into how you can ‘match the competition.’ Do most of them hold a graduate degree? Or does the majority have bachelor’s degrees? Either way, you’ll have an idea of how much upskilling you’ll need to catch up.
2. Required Experience: “How Important Is Experience?”
The Career Navigator analyzes how much experience is needed in a certain role for you to be considered a competent candidate.
Why is this important? Both education and experience play a pivotal role in your career advancement, although some employers may lean more towards the latter.
This is because many jobs require specific skills that you would not have otherwise acquired by simply sitting in a classroom. Speaking in a class of 15, for instance, is different from presenting a proposal to a panel of stakeholders (although it can be good practice).
By gaining some experience, whether through paid jobs or internships, you get to apply the skills you learned in class and further hone them. This, in turn, gives your prospective employer some confidence in your competency.
3. Salary Comparison: “How Do the Salaries Compare?”
The Career Navigator does a side-by-side comparison of the median salaries for your current and target roles. It also shows the current demand for both roles through the number of job postings on job boards and the projected growth in employment.
Why are these important? When considering a career move, you’ll have to answer questions about money. Will your move lead to a higher salary or will you be looking at lower pay? Is your target industry growing or shrinking?
Having the answers to these will help you decide which career offers more stability and opportunities for further advancement. These will also come in handy during salary negotiations.
4. Related Careers: “What Other Jobs Could I Look At?”
The Career Navigator doesn’t just show you a map of your target position. It also shows where else you can progress in the future.
Why is this important? Because not only is a career change the new normal, it’s also become an imperative in today’s dynamic workforce. In fact, the average person goes through 12 career transitions in a lifetime, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Having a picture of the opportunities available to you will therefore be crucial to developing a career strategy, which is key to smoother transitions and sustained success in the workforce.
5. Relevant Skills: “What Skills Gap Could I Fill to Improve My Earning Potential?”
Will you require additional skills and knowledge? If so, what would you need? The Career Navigator shows you the skills that employers of your prospective field are looking for.
Why is this important? Economic disruptions brought by accelerated digital adoption and the pandemic have given rise to different expectations in the workplace, including which skills are in high demand.
After reading through the Career Navigator’s skills assessment, take stock of your skills and determine whether you have attributes that are transferable to your next career. Then, identify which skills you lack. Limited skills can set you behind so craft a plan on how you’ll acquire the skills you’ll need.
While on the subject, devote some time to honing your digital capabilities, analytical and critical thinking skills, and leadership and interpersonal skills. All three have proven quite popular among today’s employers and will be useful in any career move, as highlighted in our GetSmarter 2021 Career Guide Review.
6. Upskilling Opportunities
Lastly, the Career Navigator provides you with a list of courses you can take to upskill for your chosen career.
Why is this important? Taking the leap to an unfamiliar industry can prove daunting, especially if you lack the right expertise to perform your tasks in the workplace. GetSmarter bridges the skills gap by delivering close to 200 online short courses, developed in collaboration with 18 premier university partners.
“There are tons of courses and learning opportunities out there, but people do courses to move their career forward,” says Steve. “[So] along with getting an understanding of ‘Where to next?’ or ‘What are my options?’, we also spent time with our Data Team and partner Burning Glass mapping our course portfolio to relevant skills and roles.”
“We want to proactively help people navigate their careers and then be there for them—when the need arises—to help them learn a new skill or make the next jump on their career journey.”
Put simply, GetSmarter matches you with programs that will help you learn the required skills of the trade so you can fulfill your duties with confidence.
GetSmarter Salary Calculator: What Is It and How Does It Work?
Now, what if, instead of shifting fields, you’re only looking to advance in your current field? GetSmarter gives you a similar tool as the Career Navigator: the Salary Calculator.
Its function is implicit in its name. After inputting your current role and region, the Salary Calculator gives you the median salary in your field as well as other factors that may influence your pay like education and experience.
Just like the Career Navigator, the Salary Calculator also identifies what skills you may need to gain more visibility in your field and then presents curated courses should you need to upskill.
Navigate a Career Change With Confidence
In a job market full of uncertainties, the best thing you can do to stay relevant is to make informed choices. GetSmarter helps with this by taking the role of a modern-day career counselor.
First, it gives you a snapshot of the workforce at large with the GetSmarter Career Guide. Who do the employers seek? What do employers need? GetSmarter takes all of these into account and delivers the relevant insights through its annual report.
From looking at the bigger picture, GetSmarter lets you zero in on your target career with the Career Navigator and the Salary Calculator. With these, you get to scope the field and gather information on the skills, education, and experience you’ll need to be a competitive candidate for your dream role.
Once you’ve gathered all the information you need, take action. Start with getting the training you need with online short courses from top-tier universities, delivered in collaboration with GetSmarter.
With the economy changing due to disruptions from all fronts, the workforce is changing with it. Embrace the change and own your career development with GetSmarter.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.