DEAR READERS: Someone who has had a successful career in management emailed me recently. He has been with the same company for 10 years, but because his industry (hair salons) has been hard hit by COVID-19, he wants to move on. His expertise is in operations and team management, but he has worn many hats. Consequently, he feels his resume portrays him as a jack-of-all-trades rather than a master of one. He is nervous about the job search and looking for advice about the kind of roles he should search for.
I’ve discovered he isn’t alone. According to staffing firm Robert Half, many people are considering career transitions these days.
In the firm’s mid-May survey of 1,000 workers age 18 and over, 57% of respondents said their feelings toward their career had shifted due to the pandemic. Of those, 60% said they are more motivated to work for an organization that values its staff during unpredictable times; 40% said they plan to prioritize their personal life over their job moving forward; and 33% said they want to pursue a more meaningful position.
Ken Coleman, nationally syndicated radio host of “The Ken Coleman Show” and author of author of “The Proximity Principle,” says there are three questions anyone considering a career move should ask themselves before moving on:
1. What do you do best? “These are your natural talents and developed skills that other people would also be able to identify fairly easily,” Coleman says.
2. What do you love to do most? “This is what motivates you to show up every day and makes time fly by,” he says.
3. What results matter most? “This is what you love to create or a specific problem you love to solve or service you want to provide,” Coleman explains.
“Where these three answers intersect is your sweet spot,” Coleman says. “It’s where you will thrive in the marketplace and is the best place to start looking for your next position or career pivot.”
The experts I consulted offered a few suggestions about industries and specific positions the “jack-of-all-trades” of seeking advice might consider:
*Real estate. “Hair salons are physical real estate, so he could stay in a physical market such as housing (Zillow) or commercial real estate (Compass),” Megan Mitzel, marketing director at marketingoveralls.com suggests.
- The beauty industry. Mitzel says this is a good option since hair salons are part of the beauty industry. She suggests considering cosmetics companies like Johnson & Johnson or companies that specialize in wellness products (think CBD, Mitzel says).
- Pet grooming. It’s a different take on the hair market, notes Mitzel, who says a company like PetSmart could be an option.
- Remote work. As Will Ward, CEO of Assistive Listening HQ, notes, the pandemic has opened up a new industry that supports people working from home. “Being a jack-of-all-trades, he can easily get a role as some kind of manager in companies that focus on remote workers,” he says. According to Ward, a job in this growing field can be anything from developing apps that help in productivity to working on communication platforms that help in team building.
- Product manager. Sam Cohen, CEO of Gold Tree Consulting, says a role as a product manager is an option for a jack-of-all-trades because it requires some knowledge about a variety of disciplines. These people, Cohen says, “tend to be quick learners who are hungry for knowledge about how things work” and “will prosper in an environment that requires innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.” Other similar roles worth exploring include software and product testing and market research, he adds.
- *Social media/content marketing. While the COVID-19 crisis has made many industries obsolete, “social media traffic has hit the skies like never before,” reports Ian Kelly of NuLeaf Naturals. “Being a jack-of-all-trades, this person can now easily pivot to a career as a social media manager. If this person has a knack for writing, content marketing is a great option. If the skill for creating content is lacking, this person can focus on the strategy aspect of social media/content marketing and use the management experience in leading a team of content creators.”
(Kathleen Furore is a Chicago-based writer and editor who has covered personal finance and other business-related topics for a variety of trade and consumer publications. You can email her your career questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.)