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Reskilling from One Industry to the Next During COVID-19

If you’re looking for new work amid the COVID-19 pandemic, reskilling for a new industry might help you gain a competitive edge in the job market. [Duration- 2:39]

Reading time: 3 minutes

Thanks to the Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, many Americans are facing job insecurity. If you work in one of the many industries hit hardest by pandemic-related layoffs or furloughs — including travel, hospitality, live entertainment and food service — you may be thinking of switching careers or finding a job in a new industry.

Employment experts note that reskilling — when you assess how your current skills would apply to a different industry — can be tricky, especially in a competitive job market, and it's not a one-size-fits-all process. There are different ways to assess your current capabilities and think about new career opportunities where those skills can help you succeed.

Follow these steps to help start the reskilling process:


  1. Think about the skills you already have

    Start by making a list of what you're already good at, including your technological skills (computer know-how, familiarity with software and online platforms) and soft skills (problem solving, time management, working with others). This self-analysis can help you identify what industries might suit your skill set best.

    You may even find that your skills are easily transferable from your current role to jobs that are in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For example, if you have a background in teaching or mentoring, there may be opportunities in online tutoring. Or if you have great people skills and an interest in public health, you might consider applying to be a contact tracer who helps locate and follow Covid-19 cases.

    It's easier to identify what new skills you might want to learn if you have a comprehensive list of what you're already good at.
  2. Take advantage of any training sessions your employer is offering

    Perhaps you're still employed but are unable or uncomfortable returning to a customer-facing position. In this case, it could be worth seeing if your current employer is offering any reskilling workshops.

    Since the demand for certain jobs has shifted so dramatically in recent months, many companies have invested in retraining employees to fill a wider variety of roles. Your employer might offer things like leadership training, soft-skill building and sessions that teach technical skills. Even if you still end up leaving your current employer for another industry, you can take what you learned into your new job.

  3. Seek out online courses to build up new skills

    Now is a great time to take advantage of online courses to build your personal toolkit. Here are some of the skills that companies are looking for now more than ever:
    • Familiarity with a wide variety of technologies
      Since most positions are currently remote, companies are looking for people who are comfortable with technology so they can be effective remote workers. LinkedIn Learning and modules on Zoom and Skype are great — and often free — places to learn.
    • Ability to work with data
      Industries are rapidly evolving right now, resulting in an increased demand for employees who can understand new trends and changing customer needs. Because of this shift, knowing how to read and analyze data could give you an advantage in the job market. To prepare yourself for data-related opportunities, check out the many online data science courses, including some offered by top universities.
    • Knowledge of coding
      With businesses scrambling to move almost entirely online, applicants who can code are becoming more and more valuable. Different colleges such as Harvard and Georgetown offer online classes, many of which are free (with a charge to receive a verified certificate). Depending on how much time you have or how much you want to learn, you can choose from classes that range from a few weeks to a few months. Coding is a broad term, so do some research to determine what type of coding is most useful for employers in your ideal industry.


Now is undoubtedly a daunting time to enter the job market, but you can still be a strong applicant for the opportunities that are available by applying your existing skills to a new industry and building new skills that are in high demand.

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