If you’ve been laid off, you may find yourself working in a job outside of your industry – for example, in transportation, health care, social assistance, accommodation, food service, etc. – to support yourself and your family. Even if the responsibilities of the job seem far from your chosen career path, this is an opportunity to develop or enhance the skills needed in any industry. The author discusses five soft skills to focus on during your time outside of your chosen field – teamwork, influencing without authority, effective communication, problem solving, and leadership – and how put on your resume.
Getting fired is a shock – even if you see it coming. If you qualify for severance pay, you may feel okay for a while, but there may come a point when you need to work outside of your profession to pay the bills (perhaps in retail, food service, or hospitality). But landing a job outside your industry can still boost your career.
Here are the skills you can practice and learn while working outside of your chosen field, and how to put them on your resume.
Skills to develop when you are in the role
If possible, find ways to practice hard skills from your profession. For example, if you worked in finance at a technology company and now work as a host or server at a local restaurant, ask if you can do late-night housekeeping or financial planning or modeling. order food, drink. , and supplies to reduce waste.
If you can’t use your hard skills, focus on soft skills, which are required in every job in every industry. Consider how you can develop or improve these five soft skills while working outside of your chosen field:
Working in any industry provides an opportunity to improve your communication skills. Being able to take complex problems and simplify them for all audiences is a critical capability. Use the new job to work on adjusting your communication with each audience you interact with and see how they receive what you say. What is working? What’s not? For example, some people want direction and some people want to be empowered. For those who want direction, provide guidance in your communication, and for those who want to be empowered, curious and coached to allow them to create their own solutions. Delivering communication to each audience in the way they want to receive it is critical to the success of almost every business.
Depending on what type of job you find, you may have the opportunity to increase your teamwork capabilities. For example, can you learn and practice new ways to resolve conflicts? Can you improve your ability to align stakeholders? Working with new people with different personalities and perspectives often provides an opportunity to improve these interpersonal skills.
Influence without authority
If you take a job in an industry outside of your current career path, you can use your experience to influence how the business is run. For example, I once had a client who had lost his sales job and was working for his father in his small sales agency while he continued to look for work. His experience in marketing has given him great exposure to which marketing tactics work and which don’t. But his father believed he knew what was best for his company. He had to work hard to influence her to think differently. After two unsuccessful attempts, he works to see things from his father’s point of view and takes him on a journey to change his course. It worked, and his father encouraged him to try his method, which increased the business by 20%. As he succeeded in driving his father’s business, he also succeeded in learning how to influence more effectively, and this helped him in his next career move.
Every job has its challenges, some more complicated than others. Problem-solving skills – which include understanding the problem and root cause, then brainstorming solutions and alternatives – demonstrate structured thinking with logic-based reasoning. Seek new work challenges and actively work to solve problems in creative and constructive ways. Once you have implemented the best solution, determine if changes need to be made to ensure long-term success.
Leadership is guiding and influencing others to maximize their capabilities to achieve a collective goal. Maybe you want to be a manager in your chosen field and haven’t had the chance, or you were a manager before. Either way, you can develop or improve your leadership skills in any job where you want to improve your listening, teaching, and leadership capabilities to align a group of people to work toward in the same direction. You can also use any leadership experience you have to help the next generation develop their own leadership skills, which will help them achieve their career goals.
How to translate these skills to your resume
In the first few months after being laid off, you can leave a new job outside of your industry on your resume. But if you’re still looking for work in your chosen field after six months, you’ll want to demonstrate that you’ve kept relevant skills up to date.
When putting your work on your resume, tie the experience to your career path. For example, if your career has always been in marketing and you work in a retail store, your resume might show your current job like this:
[Retail store name]
- Develop a deep understanding of consumers through in-person observation and interaction, and provide expertise in store displays to promote holiday marketing campaigns.
- Collaborate cross functionally with colleagues in other departments and external vendors to creatively solve problems in innovative ways that drive business.
- Adapt to changing priorities while motivating team members to meet all deadlines and take pride in their work.
This language includes keywords from marketing job descriptions and includes skills needed in the marketing field. This does not include working at the cash register or stocking shelves, which will be most of your responsibilities on a daily basis, as the skills are not directly related to marketing.
To keep your skills fresh, you can also decide take some professional courses this time. If you do, be sure to highlight it in your resume as well. For example:
University of North Carolina
BS, Business Administration
- Digital Marketing Certificate by Google – Coursera.org (December 2022)
- How to Write Copy That Sells – Skillshare (January 2023)
- Content Marketing Certification – HubSpot Academy (February 2023)
. . .
Getting a job outside of your industry shows good work ethic, accountability, and a willingness to pitch in and do whatever it takes to support yourself and your family. It also shows that you are willing to be flexible and can do work that you have never done before because you are determined and resourceful. Never underestimate the value of self-motivation and perseverance. Any new employer will be happy to have someone who shows that they are willing to participate in all aspects of a job and do the hard work to survive.