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Are You Transitioning Careers (Or Thinking About it)? You Have An Exciting Career Story To Share

Written by: Michelle Schafer, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


In my six years as a career coach, I’ve never seen so much churn in the job market. It's called the Great Resignation for good reason – people leaving jobs (some of them very well-paying ones) to pursue new opportunities – and reasons include an awareness that their work is no longer fulfilling, a dissatisfaction how their employer has responded in COVID, or a deep desire to continue working from home versus returning to an in-person office environment. This shift has created a lot of new opportunities as people think about what they want. Now people are acting, and the impact is being felt across businesses of all sizes in all sectors.

I’ve been steadily working with clients who are part of the Great Resignation, and are interested in exploring fresh career options. Reinventing yourself is a daunting task and you may not know where to start, not to mention the fear of exploring possibilities in a new field. The good news: you have developed a number of valuable transferrable skills that will serve you well in your next career. And you have an exciting career story to tell.

The Steps In The Transformational Process

So – where do you start if you are looking to move out of one industry (such as hospitality) to another? Here are some steps to get you going:

  • Take stock of what is important in a job and a company: This pandemic has provided us with opportunities to reflect and hit the “pause button” on our careers. Give some thought to questions such as “What work gives you energy?”, “What work are you skilled at (and maybe even known for) that doesn’t give you energy like it used to?”, “What have you wanted to do in your work but haven’t yet?”, “What is the profile of a company that believes what you believe?”, “What are your non-negotiables?” and “What is important to you that you would be willing to compromise on for the right fit?”. The answers to these questions will help you pinpoint the target roles and organizations which would be good fits, allowing you to intentionally seek out these opportunities.

  • Tally up the transferrable skills: Think about your skills that are portable to other roles and other industries. For example, a restaurant owner has developed skills such as client service, sales, relationship management, negotiation, event/project leadership, recruiting, training, and contractor management – to list a few. This individual would have the skills to look at roles in project leadership, client service, business development, and operations. A server can showcase his ability to gain a deep understanding of client needs and recommend menu selections that meet those needs, in addition to generating revenue through up-selling. A hotel front desk worker can outline how she is known for promptly resolving customer issues and creating an exceptional customer service experience.

  • Transform the resume: Be open to shifting your resume from chronological to skills-based. A chronological resume will pigeonhole you for a specific type of role and industry; a skills-based resume can help you be seen as marketable for new work. Create a profile summary that tells a career story full of value and impact, and showcases your career legacy to date.

  • Develop a job search strategy: Remember the days when we went away on vacation? You likely developed a plan for your trip that included accommodation, transportation, and activities. Looking for work also requires a plan and one that incorporates a mix of activities. Create a strategy that includes not only online job boards, but also a large dose of relationship-based search activities such as reaching out to recruiters/search firms and networking. And very important – ensure your strategy includes time for “you”.

  • Reach out and network: If you have been in one industry for a long time, you likely have a supportive network to draw on. Look “through” your network versus “at” your network. Each person you know (even if your network is closely tied to your industry) likely knows hundreds of people – and any one of those people can help. This principle is especially important to action when applying for jobs. Your network can help get your resume into the right hands, which may possibly land you an interview. It can also provide valuable assistance to explore possibilities with companies of interest and to identify job leads.

COVID-19 has dished up plenty of loss, including job loss. It’s also served up lots of new opportunities to evaluate. As excited as we may be to contemplate new work, we may be overwhelmed by the volume of new opportunities to consider and stress over which ones would be good fits. One of my clients sold his restaurant (a family legacy) and has found new work in a role that excites him, with a company that believes what he believes and in an industry that offered him his non-negotiables – the things deeply important to him. The next chapter in his career journey is off to an exciting start. You too can find that same path.

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Michelle Schafer, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Michelle Schafer is an International Coaching Federation-certified coach and facilitator, specializing in career transition and leadership. She is the owner and founder of Michelle Schafer Coaching, empowering people to achieve career fulfillment. Michelle has personally experienced two significant career transitions through restructuring and has reinvented herself for new careers both times. She deeply understands the physical, emotional and mental impact associated with a job search. Michelle is passionate about people and inspired by their progress, working with clients at all levels of an organization and across sectors including federal and municipal government, high tech, not-for-profit and financial services. Michelle offers coaching 1:1, in groups and recently was certified in the foundations of team coaching with the Global Team Coaching Institute.



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