Business Miscellaneous

Career Change Ideas for Jobs Lost Due to COVID-19

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For some of us, the pandemic has brought a grim new reality. Unemployment rates have hit new records not seen since the Great Depression in the 1930s, and the impending economic crisis, possibly the worst we’ll ever experience, is something no one is looking forward to.


Some of us took a bigger hit than others. 

Using a data science team, Zety looked at industries and professions with the highest job losses. They analyzed over 130 thousand real-life resumes created in their builder to unearth what alternative career paths people could transition to in a heartbeat.

Below is a quick rundown of Zety’s key findings:

  • Two most popular alternative careers for any profession.
  • Top five alternative career paths for each profession hit hardest by coronavirus: retail workers, dental office employees, film and TV production, actors and performance artists, food servers, chefs and cooks, hospitality and front-desk staff, flight attendants, real estate and property management workers.
  • Industries and careers least affected by the pandemic that are still hiring and are worth looking into.

Jobs Hit the Hardest by the COVID-19 Pandemic

We all know someone who’s lost their income source due to the pandemic.

Chances are, their job title fell under one of the following categories:

  • Retail clerks (53 percent)
  • Dental office staff (53 percent)
  • Film and TV production specialists (48.5 percent)
  • Food servers and waiters (48 percent)
  • Performing artists (45 percent)
  • Cooks and chefs (44 percent)
  • Hospitality and overall front-desk staff (42 percent)
  • Air transportation workers (39 percent)
  • Real estate and property management specialists (38 percent)

But—all isn’t lost.

Even if you held and lost a position in one of the said professions, you’ve probably accumulated a sweet blend of hard and soft skills that are transferable—skills many companies will bend over backwards to get.

In other words, there are alternative career paths you can transition into with ease.

Most Popular Alternative Careers for Any Profession

One of the first things the data science team at Zety noticed was that for each occupational group hit by COVID-19, two professions rose above the noise.

  • Administrative assistant
  • Customer service specialist


First, the two professions are extremely popular across the US (even amidst the wrecked economy), which means these jobs will remain in demand for the foreseeable future.

Secondly, customer service and administrative jobs have a reasonably low threshold because they mostly require soft skills (e.g., time management, communication, problem-solving.) Hence, regardless of whether you’re a retail specialist, a flight attendant, or anyone else who’s lost a job to COVID-19, there’s a good chance you’ll find new employment in an administrative or customer service role.

But—what if you don’t have “people skills”?

Zety thought of that. Keep scrolling to find robust alternative career paths if you’re struggling with finding employment amidst the COVID-19 crisis.

Alternative Career Paths for Most Affected Jobs

Retail Workers

For retail professionals that lost their source of income due to the crisis, Zety presented a few alternative career paths.

  1. Intern (most retail employees who successfully changed careers, started as interns in other industries.)
  2. Junior management (teamwork and leadership skills gained while working on a retail team can easily be transferred to a junior managerial position in another industry.)
  3. Accountant (operating cash registers, stocktaking, and basic budgeting learned in retail can be invaluable in an accounting job.)

Dental Office Employees

While it’s rather intuitive that dental-office employees can transition to other medical fields, there are also non-medical jobs they can consider, such as:

  1. Project manager
  2. Research assistant

Having tangible experience working in a fast-paced, technically complex environment makes it possible for dental professionals to apply their skills to one of the above-mentioned fields.

Film and TV production

As someone who works in video production, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with event management, digital marketing, cinematography, stage management, etc.

If you’ve been let go as a video production worker, you can use your transferable technical skills to transition into such careers as:

  1. Graphic designer
  2. Photographer
  3. Marketing specialist
  4. Account executive
  5. Writer

Food Service

What are the top five career alternatives for food-service specialists?

  1. Junior management (soft skills you’ve picked when getting new hires up to speed can quickly help you thrive in an entry-level assistant manager position.)
  2. English teacher (can be done online.)
  3. Driver (as long as you have a valid driver’s license.)
  4. Nanny/Babysitter
  5. Secretary

Actors and Performance Artists

One of the core strengths of a performing artist is confidence. As a result, you can easily find new employment in fields like:

  1. Sales Representative
  2. Teacher/Teaching Assistant (while taking a break from your active acting career, you can share your knowledge in an acting school.)
  3. Brand ambassador

Food Preparation

If you’ve been terminated from a food preparation job, you might find it hard to find new employment because your skills are so industry-specific. It’s tough to translate them into another field.

That said, you can still make income in general-labor jobs that haven’t declined:

  1. Delivery driver
  2. Housekeeper
  3. Security officer
  4. Warehouse associate
  5. Caregiver

Hospitality Workers and Front-Desk Staff

If you held a hospitality or front desk position in the past, you have a wide range of new career opportunities to choose from.

The most popular options include:

  1. Sales representative (make use of your friendliness and demeanor—it’s a career primarily based on building and maintaining relationships.)
  2. Executive assistant/personal assistant (skills such as scheduling, making appointments, and dealing with administrative tasks will make you the right candidate for such roles.)

Other career paths worth considering even if temporarily:

  1. English teacher
  2. Nanny/babysitter
  3. Project manager

Flight Attendants

If you’ve lost your job as a flight attendant, you can still find employment in other positions related to travel and entertainment:

  1. Executive assistant/personal assistant
  2. Travel agent
  3. Safety coordinator
  4. Event manager

Real Estate and Property Management

If you have difficulty finding a new job as a former real estate agent or a property manager, you can successfully apply for mid-level managerial roles such as:

  1. Project manager
  2. Sales manager
  3. Operations manager
  4. Business owner
  5. Executive assistant

The skills you’ve acquired in juggling multiple projects, negotiating with tenants, licensing, and supervising maintenance will come in handy in project or operations management.

So—What Do You Think?

There you have it. 

A handful of viable career opportunities for professionals that have lost their job in the wake of COVID-19.

Now—have you been affected by the crisis that’s been ripping the whole world apart? Did you manage to transition into a new field?

About the author


Kuba Koziej

Kuba is the founder of Zety—a career advice site visited by over 40 million readers a year. Zety delivers solutions for job seekers: a professional resume builder and data-driven career advice curated by certified experts.