Many employees in the service industry have been displaced since bars, restaurants, and hotels closed due to the pandemic. Feeling helpless has been a constant theme that I’ve heard during many conversations held with people looking for new jobs. The frustration is even greater if they’ve been working in the same job or similar job for a long time. They feel defeated and unsure of what to do next because that job that they’ve been working for so many years is suddenly gone; they know nothing else. If you’re like one of those people that I’ve spoken to, I’m here to tell you that not all hope is lost. Skills that you’ve learned and developed over the years can be put to good use in a new position in an industry that you’ve never worked in. Regardless if the job search is voluntarily or involuntarily, many people believe that they are only eligible to apply for similar jobs once they start their job search, but that’s simply not the case.
Let’s say Susie Spoon was a waitress at Main Street Restaurant for four years, but soon found herself unemployed when the pandemic hit. It would be difficult to assume that Susie hasn’t developed a set of core skills over the course of four years that can be highlighted on her resume and hopefully later when she’s called for an interview. Instead of focusing on her job title as a waitress, Susie should discuss the skills she’s learned and her accomplishments that highlight those skills. For instance, she’s worked with customers so for starters she can mention her customer service skills and her employee of the month awards for providing outstanding customer service.
It’s probably safe to assume that cash handling, communication, professionalism, and most certainly conflict resolution skills are some of her other skills that can be transferred or used to apply and interview for other positions such as a call center rep, bank teller, or retail store cashier just to name a few. It all boils down to how Susie sells herself to connect her skills to what potential employers need. It is imperative that she clearly communicates her skills and accomplishments to increase her chances of getting a new job in a different industry.
Transferable skills are not only applicable to entry level positions. Skills gained in any position can be used to pursue mid-executive level positions as well. Remember, it all comes down to how well skills are connected and articulated to meet the employer’s need.