Career Corner: Career Pivot

Google offers free training, tools, and resources to help you grow your skills, career, or business. – Courtesy photo by Benjamin Dada on Unsplash

The unexpected pandemic of 2020 has decimated many jobs, and some industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment for June was at 11.1 percent. If you’re one of the millions of people who has been impacted at work by COVID, you are likely trying to decide what’s next. And, I don’t blame you. There is no clear end in sight at this point.

Very often, when someone decides it’s time to switch careers, the very first thing they think of is going back to college. It seems logical that you’d need a certain college degree to do a specific role. But, in many situations, this just isn’t the case. If you ask other people how they got into their line of work, you’ll often find a winding road that did not begin with the perfect degree.

Another reason it is assumed a certain degree is required relates back to the job description. When you search for a new job, the job descriptions you’ll find posted online are very specific. Fortunately, job descriptions are often a wish list of nice to-haves rather than must-haves.

Don’t get me wrong. There are certain fields, like medicine and law, where a very specific education is required. But, there are many more careers where the requirements are quite flexible.

Start by preparing a new resume. Google “functional resume format.” You’ll find a resume that is formatted based on what you know about, rather than which jobs you’ve had. Create a list of both hard skills and soft skills that are transferrable between different industries.

You would be surprised at how people skills at one job might translate into sales skills at another job. Or, how writing for a newspaper might translate to writing business requirements for a technology department. Now is the time to think outside of the box.

If you feel certain that new training is a must, look around for online options that are inexpensive. For example, Google recently announced that they are giving away 100,000 scholarships for online learning. The career certificates take approximately six months to complete and do not require previous experience.

Certificates are currently being offered for IT support specialists. In the future, Google also plans to offer certificates for data analysts, project managers, and user experience designers. The average salary for these roles ranges from $50,000 to $90,000 per year.

If you would like to be considered for one of the scholarships, start by Googling “Google Career Certificates.” Click the blue button that says, “Explore the IT Support Certificate.” Then, click the “Get started” button. You’ll find that the courses are available on Coursera, and although you will pay a monthly Coursera fee, the course itself should be free.

In this unstable and unexpected world of COVID, there is no better time to make a fresh start. A career pivot is never easy, but it’s almost always worth the effort.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at

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