How can I repurpose my skills for a less stressful job?

I’m a care worker and was working in a local care home – I did the job for years and loved it. Several of our residents died during the pandemic. I kept going throughout, but it was very traumatic. I was eventually forced to leave to care for my own mother who has since passed. I’m now having to look for another job, but I don’t feel I have really processed all that happened during Covid. I feel like I need to avoid stressful situations for the time being if possible. I’m not sure whether I can return to the care sector. How can I repurpose my skills for a less stressful job and is there any help out there for people like me to help rebuild my confidence while searching for a job?

elder care


What a lot you’ve gone through both at work and personally over the last couple of years – I’m sorry to hear it has been traumatic.

I’m sure it’ll take time to process what you experienced during Covid; please focus on looking after yourself as nothing is more important than self-care. Ask yourself two questions:

  1. How are you?
  2. How are you really?

The majority of people answer ‘fine’ to the first question, but once re-asked, people tend to think more about it and be more honest.

To help avoid stressful situations, it’s helpful to press pause on your day. Relaxation is a vital part of managing stress. Use STOP

  • Stop
  • Take a moment
  • Observe
  • Proceed

Whilst job searching, my first tip is to start with the end in mind. Ask yourself some questions:

  • What is your career goal?
  • Do you plan to stay in the same role and same sector?
  • Do you want to take this opportunity to do something different?
  • What constraints do you have to consider – location, family circumstance, pension and salary expectations?
  • What timescale are you working to?
  • Do you have a Plan B?

Your CV will be strong in the care sector, but if you feel you’re not quite ready to return to it just yet, there are plenty of other areas to look and focus your job search.

Ask yourself these questions and then brainstorm a list of other roles/sectors that appeal based on your answers.

  1. What did you love about working in a local care home?
  2. What were the skills you used?
  3. Which skills were you good at that you’d like to develop in your next role?
  4. What are your transferrable skills into a new sector?

Confidence is a belief in oneself, the conviction that one can meet life’s challenges and to succeed – and the willingness to act accordingly. Most of us suffer from a lack of confidence from time to time. We may have a good level of self-confidence in some areas and low confidence in others. We can tackle low self-confidence by acknowledging every emotion, including difficult emotions; speaking up for ourselves; and limiting self-criticism. Improving your body language will improve your effectiveness when communicating.

Other areas to reflect upon – have a think about where you see yourself in three to five years’ time, and what the very best candidate needs by way of skills, knowledge and expertise. Then do a skills gap analysis of where you are today before putting a strategy in place to eradicate those gaps.

Reflect on your strengths at work – from what you’ve described tenacity and caring are clearly two strengths. What are your other strengths? Where do you get your energy at work from?

When job searching, make sure your CV and LinkedIn profile are fit for purpose, create your elevator pitch (your 60 second intro) communicating who you are, what you do, your credentials and what you can offer. We all have a ‘personal brand’ – even if you don’t know it! Ask for feedback from people who know you well and are willing to and feel comfortable with telling you how you really are perceived. The aim here is to come up with an honest and accurate assessment of how others see you.

Whilst you’re currently looking to avoid stressful situations at work, at the right time, you might feel ready to explore working in the care sector again, and I’m sure you’ll know when that will be.

*Liz Sebag-Montefiore is a career coach and Director of 10Eighty, a strengths-based HR consultancy. For more information, please visit

Comments [2]

  • Gita Patel says:

    Hi. I have worked as a preschool manager for the past 22+ years. I am 60 and would like to find a part time job but am looking into trying something different like admin/ clerk job. i have always wanted to work for the NHS.
    I would also prefer to talk to someone in a job agency rather then online!
    What type of agency would be best to support me to look for a job locally?

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