A few years ago, I attended a seminar about changes in the workforce relating to retail and hospitality – two fields that are all about customer service. The panelists talked about looking for candidates with core skills; transferable skills that could be supplemented with training.
They also reminded us to keep thinking one step ahead – enhancing your current skills to find your next job. One panelist suggested looking for synergies in industries and roles and to be open to possibilities as you never know where the next “right fit” for you might be.
One fact I thought quite interesting was that assisted living facilities were recruiting people with hospitality backgrounds. General managers, front office managers & sales people were being sought out as they had complimentary skill sets that would work well in that environment. It was a novel concept to me but did make sense, as assisted living communities are really residential hotels just catering to an older population with some additional needs.
I had forgotten about that seminar until recently when I recently got an email from a colleague who has spent over 25 years in hotel sales & marketing. She decided to make a change, and where did she go – to a senior living community! She’ll be the resident services manager – working with residents and their families, coordinating move in/move out, making sure new residents are adjusting, planning activities, overseeing the ‘outlets’ (hair salon, marketplace, fitness center). What a perfect fit! She gets to use many of the skills she’s honed in her hotel career and transfer them to this new type of hotel. She’s excited to be able to spend more time in the ‘front of the house’ interacting with the residents than she had in her other positions.
That got me thinking about another friend who had also spent many years in hotel sales and always had a dream of running a country store. She too made a switch, here combining hospitality skills with retail, using her transferable skills of managing budgets, selling to customers, understanding inventory and weathering seasonality (literally for her as her store is in Vermont!). While she enjoyed her hotel career, this reinvention has allowed her to use some of the same skills in a different way and learn new ones as well.
Hospitality and retail are both parts of the service industry – if you work in one of those fields, where could your next step be? When was the last time you stopped and took an inventory of your core skills and thought about how they could be transferrable to other industries? How could you reinvent yourself? What can you do to improve your quality of life in your next phase of your career?
While I’m not ready to make a jump yet, my friends’ recent changes have certainly given me a lot to think about. I’ll be asking myself some of those questions as I start imagining my next steps. Who knows where they might lead!