Chris Aukland is the managing director of specialist recruitment agency Ambition and is responsible for the growth and management of the Hong Kong business. He has 15 years’ consulting experience in the UK and Asia.
Can I use my helpdesk skills to get into hospitality?
My six years of experience in IT operations – in which I have been running a property company’s helpdesk – have shown me that I enjoy working with people rather than being stuck behind a screen. Which areas are best for a sector switch, considering my skill set? I’d like to be in customer service of some kind, but not at junior level. Would I be able to get a mid-level position in a hotel, for example?
While it’s great to reflect on your career, it can be helpful to take a step back and see it from a business’s point of view. In light of the rapid transformation and acceleration that companies around the world are undergoing, successful firms always take some important steps.
First, they define their purpose, focusing on the constantly changing ecosystem. Second, they strengthen their core and continuously strive to improve while staying competitive and relevant. Third, they invest with confidence in the future. Finally, they innovate with a high level of learning agility, as the life cycle of a winning strategy is shortening faster than ever.
These steps will serve as a good framework for your current decision as it is vital for you to identify the competitive advantages you possess that can help organisations succeed in an increasingly fast-paced and volatile world.
Since you mentioned that you would like to retain your seniority, it may be more viable for you to stay with your current company, where you are already being recognised. To advance your career nonetheless, you need to identify your core skills and the top three competencies and leadership capabilities that you offer. Do these skills meet the key attributes the company requires? In this way, you can identify opportunities to move within the company, or achieve new milestones in your current position.
Companies today are exploring increasingly diverse talent pools in search of fresh perspectives and expertise. Certain companies, such as consumer-centric organisations, are taking a much broader view. It is not unusual to hire senior executives from different countries and less obvious industries that have different core experiences. These companies prioritise the candidate’s open-mindedness, crossover capability and diversity, as well as their willingness to learn, take risks and work hard.
If you are going to look for external opportunities in HR or consulting, you need to consider the potential gaps in your skills and experience and think about how to close these. As a leader in the marketing space, the “people” agenda is fundamental, and it is understandable that you are interested in HR. If you head for HR, it is important to remember that a senior role requires technical skill sets for working alongside line management and delivering on company strategy.
Moving from your role as a corporate intrapreneur to the management consulting field is an option. In this case, it is crucial to stay up to date skills-wise and remain relevant in your chosen sector.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Can I use my helpdesk skills to get into hospitality?