No, I don't have a crystal ball... and some days I wonder if we are really coming out of the recession, but there is some indication that the worst is behind us. Any time of great change presents opportunities, so, this may be time to consider your next career move. That being said, the following observations are based on the last five years at NETSHARE talking with both senior managers and hiring companies (and recruiters) on a daily basis. Economy labels aside, I offer the following considerations for those professionals who want to grow in their career and those companies who want to build winning teams, not just for this year, but over the longer term.
First, really take stock and think about what you want in your career (i.e. industry, target companies, responsibilities) both long term and short term... then set out a plan to get there. Is there a set of experiences or specific skills you need in order to reach your ultimate goal? Do you have a mentor who can review your plan? This is your life we are talking about; be willing, dare I say enthusiastic, about investing in the planning.
Companies want solutions. Do the research to find out the challenges your target companies are facing and how you might help solve problems. Companies want someone who can increase the top line or improve the bottom line (through cost cutting). Everything in your resume should quantifiably address either or both of these objectives. If working for a particular company is important to you, then it is worth the time and effort to customize your marketing materials (cover letter, resume) to reflect your interest and fit with this target company.
Check your attitude, particularly during the interview process. Many professionals today are understandably depressed and/or angry; the rules have changed, things are far less predictable than they were. I sometimes hear, "Why does someone with my qualifications and experience have to work so hard to get noticed?" An actor I know made this observation about the art of auditioning. "No one wants to interview someone who is anxious or angry or just not pleasant to be around." Your audience will be more favorably impressed with a professional demeanor that supports, rather than detracts, from your credentials.
And last, make networking an everyday/ongoing activity; specifically with people who can further introductions in your target industry, discipline or target companies. The best way to broaden and strengthen your network is to offer to help others. It will come back to you in more ways than you can imagine.Companies
Is there really a labor shortage of qualified professional candidates? From my perspective there are many qualified managers at the middle to senior levels across the spectrum of disciplines and industries. I believe that companies should focus on just two key areas when considering potential candidates; is the skill set/background right for the job and, perhaps more importantly, is the personality/character traits a good fit for your corporate culture? I am also puzzled by companies who will only consider candidates who are currently employed. In today's market, they may be ignoring a viable candidate pool of professionals who may be more qualified, and potentially a better fit than someone who is currently working.
Relative to fit, I encourage companies to consider the good athlete syndrome. If a potential candidate is a good cultural fit with the right experience, assess their ability to learn that technical aspect that they might be missing to make them a 100% on spec. It is my experience that this candidate will be a better long term hire than someone who can check all of the skill/experience boxes, but who does not meet the cultural fit.
Hiring practices that focus on fit and skill set, to the exclusion of lesser considerations will benefit both the company and the employee.About the author: Annette began her career in brand management (CPG Fortune 500 companies); then broadened to executive positions within the consumer electronics industry. She is currently the Chief Operating Officer of NETSHARE, Inc., a membership organization supporting executives, across all industries and disciplines, with one-on-one customized service throughout their career. Annette can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.