Bill Lynch had over 30 years of successful operations management, an MBA, and standout community service on his resume. Before his job ended in September 2010 (he’d seen it coming for a while), he decided to completely retool his skills and experience and pursue another field altogether. “I knew it could be done,” Lynch says, “because I’d met many individuals who ran operations with no functional experience in what the practice did (accounting or health services, for example.) Operations management translates well across every industry. “
Lynch’s idea was affirmed when he attended a WorkSource Professional Network meeting that fall. He met no less than 11 other men with experience that was almost identical to his. “They were all smart, experienced guys with great resumes – and all looking for the same kind of job.” Lynch knew that manufacturing, like many industries, was devastated by the economic downturn. He also knew that higher education, which had always appealed to him, was growing as people enrolled in college to wait out the recession.
Lynch started to research jobs at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) and reconnect with staff members at the college he’d met through his network. He also spent some time retooling his resume to include specific accomplishments. He emphasized the time he spent as an adjunct instructor and elected school board member (in another state) to show that he understood and had experience working with academics and students. He positioned his consulting experience and results to appeal to the college which, he knew from his research, was trying to turn its continuing education division into a profit center. He knew that his experience in reducing costs, launching new products and increasing profitability would be useful to the division.
Lynch sought advice from people inside and outside the college, and felt well prepared for his first interview in late October. By Thanksgiving, he had an offer to become the new director of continuing education. His first priorities will be to look at the current employer services offerings and develop new courses for personal development, which the college thinks will be a growing and profitable line of business. “It’s been a lot of fun already,” Lynch says from his home office during the winter break. “Using my years of experience in a brand new environment has really energized me.”
Could your current experience be retooled for another industry, especially one that’s growing in the current economy? What would you change or add to your resume to appeal to that industry? What’s keeping you from getting started now?