Ep. 78

The Importance of Transferable Skills w/ Jeri Rosenberg

In episode 78, we talk with Jeri Rosenberg who makes a strong case for exploring new types of work, stepping out of your comfort zone, and using the skills you have to transition to your next role.

Jeri Rosenberg

Corporate HR Director
CASSIA
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Doing the same thing for years on end doesn’t offer much opportunity for growth—and it quickly gets boring. Jeri Rosenberg, corporate HR director at CASSIA, knows how important balance is when making career decisions. On one hand, we all have skills and abilities that set us apart—and that’s great! But on the other hand, it’s important to stretch ourselves, get out of our comfort zone, and use our skills to do new things.

In this episode of the HR Mavericks podcast, we talk about:

  • Why people resist branching out in their careers 
  • How to transition our existing skills to new roles
  • Utilizing transferable skills to help your company thrive
  • Why organizations benefit from hiring people with diverse skill sets
  • Ways to refresh your skills and gain new ones

Connect with Jeri on LinkedIn

Episode 78 Transcript

You’re listening to HR Mavericks, a weekly podcast, featuring leading small business HR professionals who share their experiences and insights to help you know how to turn your HR processes and employee experience into a strategic business advantage. Let’s get into the show. 

[00:00:00] Garrett Jestice: Welcome to the next episode of the HR Mavericks podcast. I’m Garrett Jestice and today I’m joined by Jeri Rosenberg, who’s a corporate HR director at Cassia out in Minnesota. Jeri, how are you doing today?

[00:00:14] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: Great. Good to see.

[00:00:16] Garrett Jestice: Good to see you too. It’s great to have you on the show today. I know you and I were chatting before we jumped on here about beautiful Minnesota.

I love it. I lived there for a couple of years just hoping that you’re staying warm in the kind of cold winter weather that often hits Minnesota. You doing okay?

[00:00:30] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: I am doing okay. It’s all, all of 20 degrees now, so it feels a lot better today.

[00:00:35] Garrett Jestice: I know it’s kind of funny, some people listening to that 20 degrees feels better, feels warm. Right? But , that’s kind of, that’s kind of what happens when you live in Minnesota so well, Jeri, it’s great to have you on the show today, like I said, and super excited to jump into this topic. But before we do, tell our listeners a little bit more about you and your career background and also what your company Cassia does.

[00:00:56] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: Yeah, I’ve been, in, in HR forever, [00:01:00] but I actually started, I kind of like my, my beginning story, I started working for McDonald’s, which is a great company to work for, and I walked into the, vice president’s office and I said, Hey, I have a idea at a pitch to you for a regional training team, and here’s what we’re gonna do.

And, and so at 18 I was starting a regional training team for Mac. So that was a lot of fun. And then, I think I, I kind of specialize in that employee relations training area. I love for people to just love what they do and, and to get all of the skills that they feel, make them feel like they’re a good employee and, and really thrive.

I like to also make sure that their whole life is. Is valuable, you know, that they have the skills to help them with whatever struggles they have. my company, Cassia, is a senior living company. we have sites in, five states. [00:02:00] in, mostly in Minnesota. We have about 53 sites in Minnesota and some other entities that go along with the aging population.

it’s a great company to work for, it’s faith-based nonprofit and, I oversee sites in Iowa and Minnesota and do some work with some Colorado. I also, run our mentorship program and our, reward program and help international nurses get settled and, and I run part of our, diversity and inclusion program as well.

[00:02:36] Garrett Jestice: I love it. Such a great background and thank you for being with us today. I, I love hearing especially about, you know, what drew people into the HR space, right? So you kind of talked about that seems like you kind of. Had this interest kind of fell into it early on in your career, but I guess the second part of that question is what’s kept you in kind of the HR space throughout your career?

[00:02:59] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: What’s [00:03:00] kept me here is. Just helping people. I just like to help people and I like to use my skills in, giving back as well. I do HR for our large church. I like to volunteer with different groups that I can share my skills with, whether it be, you know, helping, helping people with their resumes or, just lifting up those people that just need that little extra boost.

[00:03:29] Garrett Jestice: I love that. I think that’s pretty common. I think when to, you know, with so many people in the HR space who I’ve spoken with, HR people are some of the best people, goodhearted people that just want to help and give back. So I see that in you too, Jeri. So thank you for being with us today and I think that’s a perfect act.

Actually, it’s a perfect lead in to our topic today, because as you and I discussed, you know, what do we talk about today? you kind of proposed this idea of using skills and experiences that you have to transition into a new role. And I think this is [00:04:00] especially an important topic today. As you know, there have been lots of layoffs recently across the board, across industries with some of the challenges that companies have faced in the last few years, especially the beginning of this year and the economy and everything else.

And so there’s a lot of people who are looking for work and thinking about, do I want to do the same thing? Or do I want to try to transition into something new, into a new role? And so you have a lot of experience helping people like that. And I, you know, you shared some of those examples. We’re gonna talk through some of that.

But I guess just to really start us off on, this topic, tell us a little bit more about why you wanted to talk about this topic today.

[00:04:39] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: I wanted to talk about this topic because I, I oftentimes will talk to, different groups about transitioning skills, and I. I, when I’m helping somebody with their resume or I hear somebody talking about how they just aren’t passionate about their work anymore, I’d like to bring, bring [00:05:00] things to the forefront of, you know, what are you passionate about?

Let’s see what, what you’re doing outside of work that can lead to a great job for you or, or how can you use those skills within your current company or your current position?

[00:05:17] Garrett Jestice: Yeah, I love that. And I know you’ve worked with lots of people and it, you know, going through this process, whether it’s veterans, whether it’s single moms, and kind of helping them discover that. So I guess the first question I have for you on this topic then, is why do you think people typically stay in a silo?

When it comes to their job searches, you know, what is it about, that process of kind of branching out and looking for something new and exploring something new that prevents a lot of people from doing that.

[00:05:45] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: I think people get afraid.

[00:05:47] Garrett Jestice: Yeah.

[00:05:48] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: They find their comfort zone. They stay in their comfort zone. They think they’ve been doing something for so long that that’s what their skillset is. And people just have, there’s just so [00:06:00] much more of those people to offer. also, I don’t, you know, I think people need to realize it’s, it’s, it’s good to be fresh, not just for them, but, but for the companies good to be fresh and get some different skills into the, into play, I guess with their.

With their jobs, and really to give good ideas and feedback.

[00:06:24] Garrett Jestice: Yeah. Yeah. So it seems like it’s a mix of, you know, fear. I think all of us have been nervous about, can I do this, you know, It’s something new. It’s stepping outside my comfort zone, but it’s also sometimes it could be a, a lack of knowledge about what other opportunities are out there. You know, I have these skills and experiences.

I may have been working in a role or similar roles for a number of years, but, you know, what else can I apply those skills to? This is all I really know what else is out there? So I guess, second part of that question then is what, what are the benefits of not staying [00:07:00] siloed of being able to branch out and being open to new opportunities.

[00:07:05] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: I think not only does it, it’s gonna bring joy to the person that’s, that’s looking for new opportunities. But it’s good for the companies too. If you have somebody that has been doing the same thing for many years in the same industry, how is that gonna make a company grow? How is that gonna make their people grow?

I mean, how do you get new ideas if you have the same people giving the ideas? so, but, but for, for that, when you’ve been in a role for so long, think of the skills that you’ve learned. you know, maybe, maybe you need to branch off of what your current role is and just really know, be confident and know what you can bring to a company or.

What you can bring to what, if you like gardening, maybe you need to be working for a garden center instead of a big corporation. Or, you know, maybe you need to start something where you [00:08:00] can consult or be of value to somebody.

[00:08:03] Garrett Jestice: Yeah, I love it. And at the end of the day, it’s about finding value and enjoyment and fulfillment in the work that you’re doing and as an individual. And also there’s a benefit for the company as well in hiring people who are really passionate about what they do. And sometimes people. May lose fire throughout their career and need to transition into something else.

So we’re gonna talk a little bit more about how to do that, and I know you have some tips to share, but before we do that, tell us, I know you’ve worked with some other people who have kind of gone through this transition. What are some examples of skills you think could transfer into a new role or new areas?

And share some examples of some of the people you work with. I know you mentioned maybe some veterans or some single moms.

[00:08:44] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: Yeah, I’d love to speak to veterans groups, about transitioning those skills and, and how they can, work on the, on the outside. but I’ll use the Marines for example, because I have a Marine vet, so, But you know, they, every single marine learns leadership skills [00:09:00] and they all use it differently, which is great.

I mean, you need to know how to use those skills. But even, you know, somebody that’s working in a mail room, they need to have leadership skills. They need to have organization, they need to have courage. and who wouldn’t wanna hire somebody that doesn? Hasn’t been trained on courage, honor, and commitment.

Uh uh, wouldn’t that make a great employee? but then the skills they learn in their m o s is, you know, they need to bring some of that to, to the outside world. And how, how can you transition some of that, some of that fight, some of that, knowledge to the outside world. I just like to bring. To bring that to that group, to make them feel confident in their job search.

Maybe, maybe they’re, looking to get into a leadership role and they were, you know, they were in charge of a unit. I mean, that, that’s a perfect supervisor.

[00:09:55] Garrett Jestice: Mm-hmm. . Yeah, I love it. And so I think the point you make too is a lot of [00:10:00] times we have these natural skills and experiences. So you know, with the military, obviously there are these skills and experiences that they’ve learned that really do translate really well to other roles. And so I think the first part is really identifying what are the skills and experiences that I have, and then starting to look at what are other roles that could fit with that.

Is that right?

[00:10:24] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: Yes, yes, yes. I work with, I, I often work with, young single mothers who are really in a tough place and they’re trying to either not be so dependent on services or, you know, they’re just trying to make a better life for, for them and for their, their children, and maybe are struggling to get out of a rut.

But I like to, you know, help them with their resumes, of course, help them find positions, but also to realize and to get confidence in. I, I mean, think of a young, a young single [00:11:00] mother that’s in a, maybe in a tough neighborhood or a tough spot. They have to have organization skills. They have to have resilience, they have to have drive.

and, and just, I mean, Just anyone staying at home with kids learns a lot about about those skills and just so much more being a supervisor.

[00:11:23] Garrett Jestice: Yep. Yep. Totally. I, I totally see that. so I guess let’s talk a little bit more then about some of the tangible tips that you have. If, if there are people out there who are listening, who are considering applying for a new role, what tips do you have for them? Where, where should they start?

[00:11:41] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: I think I encourage people to sit down and write out your knowledge, your skills, and your interests. I think that, and, and to really dig deep inside, if you, you know, you might have a skillset in, working with your church [00:12:00] on, feeding everyone on a Wednesday night or, you know, really think about some of that.

Are you, are you leading those efforts? Are you organizing those efforts? Are you the one that sets up the tables and so, I mean, that’s usually using a lot of math and precision and, and just making that right. So I think just really dig deep and get some of that thing, some of that down on paper. Not only will it help you in what you’re looking for and what companies are looking for, but it’s gonna give you a good confidence boost as well.

And, and it can be a working document because you’re gonna think of a whole bunch of things that you have done and skills that you. that you want to attain. some other things. I think, you know, if, if there’s skills that you need to freshen up on or, or you want to gain or you have an interest in volunteer, there’s always somewhere to volunteer that’s gonna help you [00:13:00] get what you’re looking to attain and it makes you feel really good. 

.

And you’re helping other people out. take a class, take a community class, you know, they don’t always have to cost a ton of money. You can usually find some in inexpensive versions of, of some sort of class that will help you. I just think those are some good tips to, to get people kind of moving in that direction.

[00:13:26] Garrett Jestice: Yep. Yep. I totally agree. So it starts with first writing down the skills and experiences that you already have. And second is starting to think about where could you apply those. And then you also mentioned, you know, talking or thinking through the, the gaps in skills that you might have, and looking for opportunities to strengthen some of those, especially once you’ve identified.

Okay, I have these skills. Maybe I could apply a lot of these skills to this new role, but I might have a gap in some of these skills that are necessary for this new role. So how can [00:14:00] I volunteer? How can I take some classes or do something to freshen up? I love specifically the, the volunteer, thing because I, I hear often.

From, you know, new college graduates who are looking to get into, you know, the, the, the job force that they, they want some, they want a specific role, but they don’t necessarily have the experience and they don’t know how to get it right. And I love that suggestion of. . There are so many ways to get applicable experience for free out there.

I mean, you can go to companies and say, I will do some work for you for free, or just like you said, in your own spare time, you can volunteer in your church, in your community, whatever it is to strengthen some of those skills so you can point to that experience and say, Hey, I’ve done something similar to this before.

When you go into that interview,

[00:14:46] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: Yes. Yes, and, and I, on the flip side, I encourage companies too. Look at your job ads. It’s supposed to be an advertisement to encourage people to apply. It’s not supposed to be a job [00:15:00] description . So look at your job ads, make them exciting. Open it up to people with different skills and experiences that aren’t gonna bring the same old, same old ideas.

[00:15:13] Garrett Jestice: Yeah. Perfect. And then so to transition and talk a little bit about that. We’ve talked a lot about, you know, the individuals applying for new roles, but tell us a little bit more about, you know, in your experience, what are the benefits to companies in really broadening their job requirements when hiring?

[00:15:29] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: Well, I just, I just would, you know, I think of. Making sure that you have a broad base of people, you know, people with all different backgrounds and skills and experiences that are, are, coming in to give new, fresh ideas. You know what? There’s so many areas that that could help with. I, I’ve been dabbling a little bit in philanthropy.

Our, our philanthropy department has been very gracious in, in teaching me how to, you know, get some of those [00:16:00] skills. And I feel like I have given them different ideas because I don’t know specifically how that works, but I do know. are gonna, you know, utilize that grant or, you know, whatever, by using different skills.

But, you know, that goes for, for any department really, marketing or, anywhere, just get some fresh ideas and, and people with varying skills. I had a, I, I’ve hired some, hotel managers to run some of our senior living sites. So, and those skills transitioned great and they loved it. You know, I mean, just, just really for companies to just really reach out to, to people who might have skills that can really contribute and move them forward.

Cuz you’re not gonna move forward if you don’t have good, I good. Different varying ideas and skillset.[00:17:00] 

[00:17:00] Garrett Jestice: Yep. Amen. It’s the same thing that I know, you know, businesses have talked about for a long time, that that diversity of people and experiences and skill sets are really what help drive innovation at companies, help ’em continue to move forward, continue to evolve and stay relevant, right? And so making sure that you don’t get stale as a company, this is one of the best ways to do that.

Is broadening your job requirements a little bit, thinking a little bit broader about who are the, people who might have experiences that are different than the traditional path, but they could apply really well and bring a unique perspective. And there’s so many benefits for companies doing that, like we discussed, right?

[00:17:38] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: Right. And do you, do they really need 15 years of skills and the same thing?

[00:17:44] Garrett Jestice: Mm-hmm. . Exactly.

[00:17:45] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: not

[00:17:46] Garrett Jestice: Probably not. Probably not. You’re absolutely right. It’s good. Well, Jeri, this has been such a great conversation and I think it’s super applicable for so many people who might be searching right now and so many companies that might be hiring and looking for people and thinking about how do [00:18:00] we fill the roles that we have, and this might be one of those ways is thinking about broaden.

Those job requirements and looking at some of those groups of people who might have applicable skill sets who are a little bit non-traditional. So thank you for being with us today and sharing some of your thoughts and insights on this topic with us. If there are listeners out there who want to get in contact with you, maybe they have follow up questions on the topic, or maybe they wanna learn more about working with you or your company, what’s the best way for them to connect?

connect with me on LinkedIn. I would love to connect with people on LinkedIn.

[00:18:30] Garrett Jestice: Awesome. We will drop the, the link to your LinkedIn profile in the show notes. So if you’re listening and wanna connect with Jeri, you can find it there. But Jeri, thank you again for being with us today and sharing some of your insights with us. Hope you have a great rest of the day.

[00:18:43] Jeri Jean Rosenberg: Thank you.

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