The entire world hit pause during 2020. We have the time and space to consider why we do what we do in all aspects of our lives. Our careers take up most of our waking hours, and so it’s natural that we consider where it fits into our life, especially now.

Is it time for me to switch?

According to a Harris poll conducted for Fast Company, 59% of middle-income workers are considering a career change, and 44% of them have plans in the works to make it happen. 2020 has certainly disrupted possible career ruts, but don’t leave your job just because of pandemic fatigue. Take the time to consider why you want to make the change.

Don’t make a change on a down day. Take stock when you are at your best. If you still feel like it’s time for a change, then move forward. Consider whether you are at a logical transition point with your current position. If you would leave a project hanging, maybe now isn’t the best time to make a move. A habit of leaving mid-project will follow you into future interviews.

Define your core values, the ones you won’t compromise, then take stock of your current position to see if it still matches what is important to you. Define your core skill sets, too, and evaluate which of those skills are being utilized by your current position and which are languishing from disuse. You learn the most from a job in the first few years, so if your job no longer challenges you, consider a move.

Job seekers in 2021 will benefit from job hunting as a learning experience. Keeping your social media presence up to date and professional, keeping your network alive, and reaching out to companies with that customized resume provides opportunity for introspection about what is important in your career and whether the company embraces your core values. Geography is not always a limiting factor in the new work-from-home world.

Will employers embrace career switch candidates?

Because of the global pause mentioned above, 2021 is a great time to switch careers. Employers are reflecting on how best to move forward, too. They need to do more with less, and as a result, are more open to hiring career switchers. In the past, filling a new position often meant hiring someone with the same skillset as the person leaving the position. Now, employers are looking for AQ, or adaptability quotient. A career switching candidate will bring a wider variety of skills to the business, not just the ones written out on the job posting. They are proven risk-takers and display the willingness to learn and do new things. They will be ready to hit the ground running.

Will switching hurt my career?

Taking a new position can advance your career. A new manager will have a different style of interacting with employees. A new position will present new and different challenges, and if you are lucky, there will be new technology to explore. Hiring managers see these stepping stones as a sign that you enjoy learning new things and don’t shrink from risk and challenge.

If you are considering a career switch, enlist the help of a recruiter. They have the inside scoop on what skills employers need. They can review your current skills and help you identify which are transferable to your chosen target career. Of course, they also have leads to get you in the door for that all important interview.

Everything is different now, including your job search. Take this opportunity to reevaluate where you are, and where you might want to go in your career. 2021 is definitely the time for a change.