May 19, 2021

The Hopefully Not So Daunting Privot From The Service Industry To The Corporate World


Episode Highlights

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Shifting careers can be a daunting enough undertaking in itself. Still, when you’re trying to find parallels between service and retails industries and more corporate organizations, it can seem incredibly overwhelming – but it’s not. Check out these tips and tricks to pivoting your career to the corporate world.

Episode Transcript

Okay, so we all know 2020 was a tough year for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons. And I think one of the major themes we saw here at Hirewell and especially with people in our network, really starting to struggle with job stability. And we saw that in many industries but I think it was especially prominent in the service, retail and travel industries.


So this brought an influx of folks to us wanting to make a change and shift in their career. And shifting careers I think can be daunting regardless of when you’re doing it but especially during a pandemic and then throwing on top of it, coming from the retail and service industry, sometimes it can be hard to find the correlations between


the work that you’re doing there and relating it into corporate America. And so today, I think we really wanted to break down some tips and tricks for making that career transition because it’s actually not as hard as most people think. So we just want to start to piece together how folks can go about that.


Yeah, for sure. 


Cool. So Jeff, to get started, what advice would you give somebody to make this shift? What’s the first thing they should be doing to get started? 


Yeah. Side note, in my younger days, a hospitality and food service, dishwasher, server, breadmaker, barista extraordinare.


So like I very intimately know what it takes to do those jobs and they are not easy. So anybody who says, if you’ve never waited tables, like you should do it once in your life. That is not a cliche. It is a difficult job. So I think we’d both be remiss to not say that we appreciate like how much work those frontline workers in our retail space do for us every day.


I think the inventory is super important and we’ve mentioned it in a few other videos just for like job seeking 101 but like take it down to like brass tacks. Like what do you like? And start from there.  If you were affected by this in the service industry but you like technology and you tinker with coding on the side or video or gaming or AI or something like that,


finding companies that are in that space and have products that you’re interested in would be a great route to go. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to like actually touch the technology, but maybe you become a customer service representative at that company. Maybe you get into some sort of support role or administrative role.


We see lots of folks and I think you more than anyone in HR and administrative practice, so many folks is a professional kind of trajectory and career started as like the administrative assistant because it’s such a vital key to keeping an office churning and burning. 


Exactly. I think that’s a really good point to make that when you’re thinking about transitioning from these retail and service types of roles into corporate America, it’s looking for the parallels right?


Between the role that you’ve had and the role that you want to have, not certainly setting the framework for you to kind of grow your career and then in a corporate setting. So I think getting more familiar with the language that’s used in corporate America versus the retail and service industries is part of that first step too so that you can start to draw correlations between the work that you’re currently doing and then the work that you want to be doing as well.


So, how would you suggest that folks start to get familiar with that language? Like what’s a good way to start to draw those parallels? 


It’s such a good point. As much as the vernacular of like 86 and like on the fly. I mean I remember this stuff intimately. Learning how to Corp speak is important.


It’s cheesy but when you are interviewing or talking to folks about making this sort of switch, using words like strategy and like organizational skills and just knowing the bare basics are Mircrosoft word competency. Folks like to see that you can open, save, edit Word documents and Excel documents or G suite documents.


It might seem to somebody coming into the professional world that that’s like kind of a given and yet it’s not. Even now to this day, my resume still says proficient in yada yada, yada. Why? I don’t know.  But it is what it is. I guess the overarching advice is look up kind of vernacular Corp speak type stuff and there are good resources online to do so.


It’s as simple as a quick Google search. But moreover, just think about the types of conversations that you want to start to engage in, that to your point, like just assimilate what you already know from like a customer service and relationship perspective and meld it into like what the trajectory looks like in the professional world.


Yeah, exactly. One piece of advice that we give anybody regardless of the stage or role or whatever that they’re trying to be in when they’re starting their search too, is to engage your network. And that means your friends, your family and I think what’s most especially important for folks in these industries is


you are not work at work. So those would be like your clients that come in to visit you all the time or who are your regulars. Starting to have conversations with them around the type of work that they do, what industries are they in? I think that’s also a great place for you to start to get more familiar as well with that vocabulary that’s related more to the corporate environment, but it can also potentially open up opportunities.


And you never know what kind of door that could lead to. So I think leaning on that customer base that you built could also be a really great way to start making some moves. 


Amazing point. Yeah. I think we take for granted being in kind of the office space setting for at least most of my career, that networking kind of comes second nature and leveraging that stuff fosters good business. All of that, even your support network is going to have different flavors of business people and those are the folks that are going to open doors for you. I suspect that it’s –  not that it’s not frustrating for everybody to apply to the black hole but especially so for folks who aren’t used to it because they’re in the service industry and it’s not like a common practice.


If you’re a server, you’re kind of going off of referrals and it’s probably the same idea but it’s just in the professional world like applying with a resume that doesn’t have any sort of concrete experience and you know that, can be a daunting task. And when you’re not getting the responses that you want that could be really really frustrating.


Absolutely. I think it’s important to point out too that that frustration lends itself to folks that are already in a corporate role too that kind of black hole or void that a lot of people find frustration with that’s across the board. And so that’s why it’s really important to lean on your network.


But most especially when you don’t have that exact experience that you’re pulling from. 




One of the things that we’ve touched on a little bit already is talking about like the types of roles to consider. And I think this is where a lot of people end up being really frustrated because it’s like, how am I going to transition this skillset that I have into these corporate roles?


How do I even get started thinking about what types of roles I could consider? So some of the things that I share with folks when having these conversations is thinking about the transferable skill sets that you may have and how does that relate to the corporate role? So if you’re serving for example, you’re relying essentially on tips.


Tips in a corporate setting equals commission. So I think sales roles are always a really good place to get started. You already have the people skillset in terms of being able to talk to whoever, that emotional intelligence piece comes into play really big too because you’re reading the room,


reading your customer base, you’re starting to build relationships and all of that equals the same thing. So that’s always a good place to get started. And then you had mentioned administrative roles as well, and I think that’s also a really good piece too because if you think about folks in the service and retail industries, they’re always multitasking.


You have a million things going on but it’s all living up here as opposed to on a calendar or a document or whatever. So that’s also a really great piece to consider too. We’ve mentioned customer service maybe some operations roles, even social media because I think what’s been really unique about the way service and retail has shifted over the years


is this online presence and especially through Facebook or Instagram. And a lot of people that are working in those roles as in the service industry are also kind of moonlighting at the social media influencer for the restaurant that they work for, the boutique shop. So those are also some things to think about as well.


Do you have any other thoughts on types of positions that folks should maybe consider? 


No, you hit on some great points. That pretty much is all encompassing. I think to just kind of nail the point home is the search engine optimization and like the social app, like these are social administrative, like these are roles that


at a base minimum from if we’re talking about job requirement’s standpoint, so like generally don’t need any sort of real formalized education, which is good. That’s a good thing. Try not to set your sights too high. Like obviously like moving from a concierge to an attorney is not a realistic jump.


Right? You need a Juris doctorate but I mean companies are opening up to the idea that folks can be multifaceted, multi-skilled types of resources and not come with a cookie cutter like university background or a cookie cutter professional experience that exactly aligns. It’s going to be tougher, you know, full honesty to find those types of roles that you mentioned Ryan in larger companies because things tend to be matrix.


They tend to be a little bit more siloed. They tend to be a little bit more refined is the wrong word but rigid . I don’t want that to have a negative connotation but I can’t think of another word. More often it’s like the small to medium-sized players who just want folks who will run through the proverbial brick wall and treat customers with respect, which ultimately builds customer basis.


Like those are the roles that you want to get into. I’m thinking like even customer success or engagement management, account management, like upselling is a key part to any hospitality or food service role. Upselling an extra module in software isn’t that different from upselling from a $50 a bottle of champagne to Dom, right? 


Exactly. I totally agree with you on that. So I think the point of us sharing all of these things is really took start to create the correlation between the work that’s being done in the retail and service industries in corporate America and it’s actually not that different. It’s just getting more familiar with the verbiage


that’s used to describe those things. So in terms of the next step after you’ve gotten started, you’re starting to utilize your network, one thing that we recommend regardless of when you’re looking to make these transitions is making sure that your resume and LinkedIn are up to par.


So I think a good way to get started with that is partnering with folks like Jeff and I, that can kind of help you start to solidify the way your resume should be formatted and the verbiage that you’re using and then also optimizing your LinkedIn profile. Like you had mentioned Jeff, a lot of these folks in the service and retail industries are moving from role to role kind of based on referrals and not necessarily utilizing their LinkedIn to make that change from, let’s say one hospitality group to another, but that is how things


happen though in corporate America. So if that’s a transition that you’re looking to make you have to make sure that you’re also using the same platforms that folks in these industries are to start to make that move. So reaching out to an individual like Jeff or myself who specialize in this space, like we’re really great resources that you can lean on to start to get more familiar with those platforms or the type of formatting that you need to use as well.


Yeah and not even us, like obviously we want to be a help to anybody who sees this and please do reach out. But to your point Ryan, like just as useful as your network will be with actually finding opportunities, they’re also the best sounding board just to like review a resume or like if your cousin is killing it at his or her sales job


ask them what their  resume looks like. Ask them if they’re utilizing any online tools like LinkedIn to network or socialize and you’ll find whether rightly or wrongly that LinkedIn is kind of the white collar Bible right now.


And  a resume for better for worse is kind of that entry document point. So having both of those buttoned up is a really, really good idea. And like I said, leaning on those network resources that are in  our types of seats, they’ll be really really valuable.


Absolutely. And to kind of continue off of leaning on your network, that’s also going to be important when you’re starting to prepare for these interviews because they might be a little bit different than the interviews you’re used to in the service and retail industry. Sometimes it’s just a handshake,


yeah come on over, no questions asked and other times it might be a little more intense but they are a little bit different on the corporate side. So how would you suggest that folks get ready for those Jeff? 


I’ve always been able to pull off like rocking a hairband and going into Matt, our founder’s office and saying like, here I am and interview you ready? 


Take you as you are Jeff.


 That is not how you should do it. Again, rightly or wrongly  you have to – all the cliches of like the professional world apply. The best thing to do is if you secure a conversation with an organization for something that you’re interested in, ask your contact. If it’s the recruiter ask what’s appropriate.


If it’s the hiring manager ask what’s appropriate.  They’ll tell you the real deal. If they say, “Hey, we’re casual, like no need to wear other than sneakers, you know jeans and a t-shirt.” Wear sneakers jeans and a t-shirt.  Don’t roll out of bed and wear sneakers jeans and a t-shirt.


But keep to that aesthetic. If they say to dress up a little bit, dress up a little bit. Keep in mind that if somebody is saying that that’s like something that would be a good best practice for that organization, you have to keep in mind that that that organization is probably a little bit more buttoned up.


And that’s something that you have to take into account is long-term do I want to wear business casual? Some folks don’t want to do that. So it’s really just preparing and asking who your advocates are internally what are the right things to do? 


Yeah, good point. One thing that I like to point out as well is that as much as you’re interviewing for a specific company or role, you’re also interviewing that team in that company to make sure that it’s a good fit for you too.


So hopefully that helps to alleviate some of the pressure that I think a lot of folks I feel when they are trying to make a career shift, thinking that maybe they don’t have all of the skills that maybe they need or the right background. You’re making the decision as much as the organization is. So going into it, really being prepared with the types of questions you need to ask, like understanding their culture, like you had mentioned Jeff, do I want to dress up for work everyday?


Or am I looking for a more casual environment starting to put some thought around what those types of questions are to make sure that you’re making the best decision for yourself when you’re making a shift too. 


Yeah. Another thing popped in my head and it’s every job that you apply to should have a job description


and if it’s not a job description, just like a list of tasks maybe that you’re going to be responsible for. Having just good, solid, like a two to three stack of good solid answers for actual applicable experience. Maybe the job description says works well under pressure, right? 


Just Saturday night at a busy restaurant.


I had XYZ happen with a five top. This is exactly what happened. This is how I mitigated it. And this is how I think it corresponds and is relevant for the types of things that I think I’ll experience in this job. 


Yeah. Great point. So to kind of wrap things up here, we’ve obviously touched on a number of different things but some of the most important takeaways in your opinion, may be what Jeff? Like if you had to kind of put all of this in a cute little package to say this is what you have to keep in mind to make this shift, what would be something that’s the top things that you’d share?


 Be proactive.


And insist on feedback from those closest to you and professionals like us in your network. We really are out there to help.  Will you message folks where you’ll get a dead end? Yes, you will. But by and large, anybody in the human resources or recruiting profession is going to try to go out of their way to assist you in any way they can.


So make sure that you’re being proactive. We’ve got a lot on our plate so the candidates that are constantly jumping into the top of the inbox, constantly asking questions, like those are the ones that inevitably get the most FaceTime. Have somebody review your resume. If you don’t have a resume, you don’t have to get a professional resume writer.


We do offer the service, however, I would not recommend somebody doing like an entry level or entry into professional life, in the corporate setting as that being a necessary step. I think you could Google different templates. Microsoft word has great templates that you can  get a starting point and then kind of bounce that stuff off of  your networks and make sure that that document looks nice and clean.


And then finally just go after companies like make a list of places that excite you. If you’re like really into carpet, go look for carpet companies.


Love a good rug. So in right now. 


Make sure you’re getting into a space that at a minimum you want to get fluent in, that you can see yourself like really advocating. 


Yeah. Great point. To plug Careerwell really quickly because last year we put a ton of thought and time into creating a lot of materials for folks that are either on the job hunt,


maybe thinking about making some moves in their career or industry or whatever. We have a ton of great resources on that website. It’s so feel free to check that out. We also have a resume builder on there too. So if you want to take your current resume, compare it to a job description,


to pull out of the correlations between those or you just need help getting started, it’s totally free right now. So feel free to check that out and use it and as always, you can reach out to myself or to Jeff and we’re always happy to chat. 


Excellent. Anything else we have to cover today, Ryan?


 That’s it. 


All right. Happy hunting everyone. 


Happy hunting! 


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