By Joe | Career Advice

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues deep into 2020, the situation should cause many Job Seekers to pause and consider a new course of action.  This is primarily due to the unique nature of the current open job market, which has resulted in many job openings in some industries and positions, while other occupations are still struggling with layoffs.  This is especially true in New York State with the current regulations that we are all trying to live under.

If you are an individual that has been employed in an industry hit hard by COVID-19, such as hospitality or retail sales, then it is probably time to conduct some self-introspection and determine what other jobs are of interest to you.  Special focus should be placed on those positions that will allow you to utilize your transferable skills.  This is especially true if the potential new industry is one that is struggling to generate enough candidates for their open positions.  Despite the dire economic news reports, there really are companies in the area that are scrambling to fill open positions due to a lack of qualified candidates.

The first step to reinventing your career is having the determination and mindset to do such a thing.  It is, by nature, a creation of you stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something different.  For example, for years you have done a specific job (such as Hotel Manager), but now will work in a different environment with another company.  The good news is that you most likely will still be using the same skills  you have developed and become accustomed to using.  This should significantly reduce the learning curve for you, and therefore, will relieve some of the stress you may otherwise have felt.

This is also a particularly good time to use your transferable skills for reinvention because Hiring Managers are probably more open to it than any other time.  With the influx of candidates from certain industries, it has forced them to look differently at these candidates and focus on their transferable skills rather than what makes them different.

There are many skills that are transferable across industries, probably many more than you ever thought existed.  Below is just a small list of those to consider emphasizing in your Cover Letter/Resume and during your interview.

  • Customer Service Mindset – The desire to service the customer (whether internal or external) is a key attribute that is coveted. It is also one of the most transferable of skills that exists.  You should easily be able to explain how you went “above and beyond” to assist someone at the hotel, restaurant, or movie theatre where you worked.
  • Leadership Qualities – The ability to motivate and lead others is another highly desired quality. If you were a successful leader in your industry, there may be an opportunity to show that those skills can be applied just as impactfully in another.
  • Desire to Learn – A key to successfully transitioning is to convince the Hiring Manager that you will easily pick up the areas that you don’t already know. This is a much easier “sell” if you can quickly show examples where you did learn a new skill, system, or technique.
  • Strong Work Ethic – Probably the most coveted, but also most elusive of all attributes. A strong work ethic will create opportunities for you if you can accurately express how you have gone “far and beyond” to support other employers in their success.  You will need to go beyond the cliché of “I am always on time”, or “I work hard” and rather express how you specifically have assisted employers with your achievement.
  • Communication Skills – This is an area that is still in great demand but quickly becoming a “lost art”. If you are someone who can carry a conversation, either in one-on-one conversation or in a group, then a new career in fields such as Sales or Customer Service could be waiting.  Likewise, written communication skills are critical in many positions where reports or notes are required.

There are several other key transferable skills that can also be leveraged such as math, listening, and your ability to work within a team structure.  It is up to you to determine which areas you are strong in and can leverage to assist you in landing a new job.

It is imperative for Job Seekers impacted by COVID-19 to return to gainful employment as quickly as possible.  Recruiters will understand and accept a gap in employment caused by COVID-19 due to the magnitude of the situations.  They also, however, will be extremely impressed by someone who, rather than just passively waiting for a job recall or a vaccine, chose instead to reinvent themselves with a different job.

As always, best of luck in your job search.

The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.

Joe Stein
WNY Human Resources Professional

Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at:
Joe Stein

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