When your industry goes belly-up, here's how to find a new job.
Nothing sucks more than to find your workplace has become a flurry of pink slips. But switching gears doesn’t have to mean starting over from scratch. We looked at three at-risk industries—journalism, real-estate and retail—and asked job guru Michael Jogerst, director of career services at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, how workers can take their existing work experience in a new direction.
Newspapers are going nowhere fast (so if you want to be an investigative reporter—better start your own blog, kiddo). But there’s hope. A journalist’s ability to amass a variety of information, synthesize it and make it accessible to the general public translates into several successful job jumps.
1. In-house magazines
These are the kinds of publications that major corporations create to facilitate internal and external communications (think MOTONOW, the online newsletter from Motorola). While it’s unlikely you’ll be asked to cover the opening of the Art Institute’s modern wing, what they lack in cachet they make up for in security.
2. University work
Academic institutions need instructors and editors for university presses. “I just saw a job yesterday for a journalism adviser at a college,” Jogerst says. Check out higherjobs.com and academic360.com for job leads.
When Barack Obama appears on the cover of The New Yorker dressed in Muslim garb and fist-bumping his wife, someone from the campaign has to draft a response—and that person needs a writer’s ability to spin a story. “You could be a spokesperson in politics, sports, city or state departments, or for the police department,” Jogerst says.
Having trouble selling houses? Instead, try selling your skills elsewhere. Real estate agents with a for-sale sign on their résumé have plenty of options.
1. Relocation expert
“When a large corporation needs to move its employees around the world and cross-country, they need relocation experts,” Jogerst says. He also suggests commercial or residential building management. “More and more of us are going to live in condos for the rest of our lives,” he says. “We write that monthly check to our association management company.”
2. Property manager
Nonprofit facilities like Hull House, Bonaventure and low-income housing also need property managers. “You could be instrumental with the process of helping these folks transform their housing,” Jogerst says.
This sector of fund-raising involves managing relationships with people who may want to invest in, be on the board of or set up a charitable arm with an organization or university. For example, you may be asked to set up a mentoring program, which might involve getting employees in senior sales, business and marketing to mentor folks.
As consumer confidence ebbs, so does spending power. So spend your time ferreting out a career that will boost your own confidence.
Hotels and restaurants provide great transition tracks for people who have honed their customer service skills.
2. Special events management, program manager or meeting planner
Like hospitality, these positions require top-notch people skills. Jogerst recommends a certification process for any of the aforementioned positions to beef up the résumé and points to the International Special Events Society or the Convention Industry Council as good places to start hunting.
3. College admissions
According to Jogerst, schools constantly look for qualified candidates with good sales experience to become part of their admissions staff.