4 Pros Share How Their Non-Traditional Experience Landed Them Jobs at a Top Hospitality Startup

Industrious is the largest premium flexible workspace provider in the U.S. with over 80 locations across more than 40 U.S. cities. The company is known for its professional atmosphere and thoughtfully-designed spaces that can accommodate teams of all sizes and stages, from solopreneurs to enterprise-level businesses.

Meet Industrious recruiters and leaders at our exclusive event, Level Up with Industrious: A Night of Career Development on Wednesday, May 29th and at Hustle Summit on Thursday, June 27th in NYC!

Check out the latest career opportunities at Industrious on the FindSpark job board here.

Oftentimes, what you studied in college or the job or industry you started in is not the best fit for you long-term. And that’s ok. Let me repeat, it’s ok to change your mind about what you want to do. This is especially true once you’ve finally experienced that thing you thought you wanted to do— ie had a job or internship — vs. thinking you wanted to do it based on the college or major chosen by your high school self.

Maybe you’re not enjoying the work or “world” of the industry, maybe you’re looking for a career change for the sake of change, or maybe you want to find a place where your skills are better suited for your growth.

Whatever the reason for wanting to change careers — it’s stressful. You feel the pressure of competing with people who have more “directly” related experience — either in the role or industry — than you.

Luckily, there are companies out there like Industrious that appreciate people with “non-traditional” backgrounds. At Industrious, they realize that people with different experiences and outside perspectives can add immense value to a role and team.

That said, you still need to work hard and spend time making sure you demonstrate and articulate throughout the application process how your experience is transferable and that you’ll kill it when you land the job.

Read on to get tips on how you can best position your background, skills, and experience when making a career, job, or industry change from three people who did it and landed sweet jobs at Industrious.

What is your role at Industrious and what were doing prior to working at the company?

Krissy Sheehan, Area Manager, New York City: I have a background working with start-ups and did freelance marketing and social media management for a variety of companies and restaurants.

Alixandria Arungah, Community Manager, Brooklyn: I managed operations and sometimes taught at overnight, 2-week long public speaking camps across the country.

Sarah Jacobelli, Community Manager, Park Avenue: I had my own clothing line two years prior to starting at Industrious.

Brit Gossett, Operations Associate, Brooklyn: Prior to Industrious, I worked primarily as a café manager while doing various other freelance jobs, including social media content, event planning, and office temping all while pursuing acting. Known to most actors as the “survival job blues.”

Industrious team members Sarah Jacobelli, Brit Gossett, Alixandria Arungah, and Krissy Sheehan

What attracted you to Industrious?

Krissy: I was attracted to the concept of coworking and having exposure to such a diverse and interesting community myself. I was really impressed with the team.

Alixandria: To me, Industrious was doing something I personally loved — the idea that going to work in a nice place doesn’t have a be a luxury afforded only by the Googles of the world. I also wanted to be in an environment that appreciates my love of design meeting function.

Sarah: I was immediately attracted to the community aspect, not only with other entrepreneurs in the space, but also with the local community in Union Square. The concept of coworking was so fascinating to me, as it is a one-of-a-kind experience having individuals from all different industries under one roof.

Brit: I had the opportunity to temp at Industrious for several months before going through the interview process. I was attracted to the community immediately. I liked being apart of the bustling environment surrounded by members with so many different backgrounds and careers. As a temp, my responsibilities were somewhat limited so I got to focus on just getting to know the members and that was a really enlightening experience.

How did you gain the confidence to apply for a role that didn’t seem like an exact match based on your experience?

Krissy: You’re not always going to have the exact experience. Here, I had a personal interest in the Industrious product and mission, so I brought passion and told a story of how dedicated and hard working I would be. I trusted myself to learn what I needed to fast.

Many people have a mental block or are afraid to pursue a role or industry different from what they studied in school/got their degree in. Was that something you had to get over before applying to Industrious? What’s your advice for people facing that fear?

Sarah: For me, the hardest part was letting go of the fact that I had invested 4 years in college and almost 10 years in the fashion industry and considering embarking on something that was completely new and different. I was faced with questions of self-doubt. Had I wasted my time? Is starting over even possible? Am I starting over?

When faced with self-doubt, it’s necessary to break down your strengths that may be applied to any position and reflect on what you want in a career that isn’t specific to the position or industry you’re currently in.

What is the best way to present your transferable skills when you don’t have the exact experience a job description asks for?

Krissy: You have to acknowledge and understand the gap between what you know, your abilities you have been able to prove, and what you’re saying you can do. Show an understanding of the potential learning curve and tell a narrative of your past that shows your strengths to get through it.

What was the most challenging part of the application and interview process for you, and how did you get through it?

Alixandria: The most challenging part of the interview was the series of real-life examples given during my second round. My future manager asked me questions about situations that other Community Managers had faced in the moment and asked me to role play with him as the member. It was surprising to so quickly delve into some fairly sensitive matters and know I would be responsible for these conversations.

Brit: The most difficult part of the interview process for me was the second interview which at the time was conducted by an Industrious employee located in another state. I remember being nervous about this because there was no previous interaction with this employee and there would be no face to face contact whatsoever, which can be a bit intimidating. It’s definitely a blind test for someone to interact with you and you want to make a good impression. I remember being nervous I would flub and say a word incorrectly or wouldn’t have a good answer on the spot.

There’s always the fear that a better example will pop in your head immediately following the interview or in the middle of an interview. To eliminate some of these pressures or nerves, prior to taking the call I took a few minutes to myself to just clear my mind in a nice quiet spot and the interviewer was really kind to understand what this feels like because she had been through the same thing before.

Alixandria Arungah, Community Manager, Brooklyn at Industrious

How is this hospitality role and working at Industrious different from a typical hospitality role, like your previous work managing a coffee shop?

Brit: I would say that my unique job history prepped me for taking ownership of the OA role combining Industrious’ company values and molding it with my personal strengths. Having a background in coffee, office administration, childcare, camp program managing, and planning theatrical events have shaped not only the skill set I bring to the table, but amplified how one can approach hospitality through finding means to serve the whole person.

I think the Operations Associate role is unique in this aspect as you develop relationships with members while providing their basic needs of operations to make their jobs more productive. The Operations Associate role is not just about passing someone coffee or being a smiling face at a desk to check them in like other isolated hospitality roles where the quantity of people you serve allows for few genuine interactions. Rather, this role develops from taking the list of responsibilities and being your own person. A good candidate for this role is someone who can listen, who can move forward with a smile, and who will find the nuances to serve the individual.

I feel strongly that hospitality is unique to who you are serving so getting to know someone is imperative to know how they like to be approached, the limits of how they like to communicate, and their preferences for an ideal work environment.

What is something unexpected you love about your role, especially coming from the fashion world — a totally different industry?

Sarah: I didn’t realize how diverse the Operations Associate and Community Manager roles would be in terms of responsibilities. When I was in the fashion industry, the positions I held were typically siloed within a specific department and interactions with new individuals were few and far between.

Here, every day is different from the next, the number of new people I meet is endless, and the company allows me to get involved and support other roles outside of operations. For example, I’ve supported the HR team with the hiring process for the Operations Associate role.

Can you share anything specific you remember doing that you think made you stand out during the application process for your Industrious role?

Alixandria: I was really upfront about this being a new and challenging endeavor for me and what my motivations behind it were. Really challenging my emotional intelligence during the role-play definitely made me stand out — I didn’t just approach the questions in a logical way.  So much of the role is about your ability to make people feel heard and served.

Sarah: Just be yourself from the time you apply to the time you get hired. I knew my application was a long shot being that I had no prior experience within the coworking or hospitality industry.

Instead of going into the interview process trying to overcompensate for my irrelevant work experience, I went in confident in my personal strengths and goals. I wasn’t afraid to express who I was as an individual and what I was looking for in a career.

Brit: It sounds cliché to say, but at my final interview I was just myself. I remember I was participating in a video interview in which the screen was frozen for a majority of the call. I, as per my nature, thought the image that the interviewer was frozen on, was a silly face and therefore took a screenshot. Following the interview, I sent an email thanking them for their time and attached the screenshot with a “PS. This is what you looked like through the entirety of the interview. “

Later on, I would come to find out that this was interpreted as a power move when in reality, it was just something I thought was charming and funny. No games or premeditated moves involved. However, it made a bold move, a bold start, and showed that I could take things very professionally and seriously while also being intuitive to the person who was interviewing me and what they would find funny as well.

What do you love most about working at Industrious?


1) The team. Our team is an incredibly unique group of smart, kind, and inspiring people including our leadership.

2) Making waves in an industry that is rapidly growing.

3) Our relationships with our members.


1) The team and culture. We are encouraged to try, even when the result is not perfect, allowed to fail if it means we are one step closer to finding the best solution to a problem, encouraged to be honest to get to the next level, and always encouraged to get to the next level but also ask for help.

2) The ability to meet so many cool members. My time here has introduced me to Fortune 500 stakeholders to small business owners who are starting from scratch. It’s inspiring at every level.

Sarah: There are two things I love the most about working at Industrious:

1) Our team of incredibly talented, supportive, and passionate people. Never have I worked in an atmosphere where I’m constantly learning and challenging myself.

2) Our diverse community of members who are moving mountains in this world and allowing me to be a part of it.

Brit: I love the creative freedom Industrious provides that makes the space your own. It pushes the boundaries of what the typical office environment standards were in the past and sculpts them to be healthier and productive for all those involved — both members and employees. Each Industrious you visit reflects the people who inhabit it while umbrellaed under the same standards and that is an amazing treat to witness.

Industrious team members at company outing

Industrious is the largest premium flexible workspace provider in the U.S. with over 80 locations across more than 40 U.S. cities. The company is known for its professional atmosphere and thoughtfully-designed spaces that can accommodate teams of all sizes and stages, from solopreneurs to enterprise-level businesses.

Meet Industrious recruiters and leaders at our exclusive event, Level Up with Industrious: A Night of Career Development on Wednesday, May 29th and at Hustle Summit on Thursday, 27th in NYC!

Check out the latest career opportunities at Industrious on the FindSpark job board here.

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