Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Few Words about Transition

I think we can all agree we’re in the middle of transitional times. We don’t know what the Bay Area employment situation is going to look like a year from now, but it’s a good bet it will look different from what it is now.

The big question is where will you fit? For many, things may not change at all. They will have the same job, with the same organization, and will remain on the same career path. However, for those of us whose organization or company didn’t survive the downturn, or whose career/industry specialty fell out of favor with the marketplace, transition may be in order. For these folks, searching for a new job is merely part of the equation; they may have to make an overall career or industry shift as well.

If this scenario describes you, my first bit of advice is don’t panic. One can have a two pronged game plan that presents short and long term goals. If you find yourself unemployed and your career path or industry is struggling, stop and take a step back. Look at the big picture what’s happening in your local economy. Even in these tough times, people are still getting hired. Conduct research on who is getting hired, what skills are still in need, and what types of companies and organizations are hiring. A good place to start your research is at the bureau of labor statistics website: Also, one can exam multiple on line job boards, and make note job opportunity trends in your preferred locales. I’ve also found that reading local business publications will give you the latest trends on what types of organizations might be fairing better then others in your marketplace:

Once, you’ve made your observations about what jobs are currently viable in your marketplace, then make a general assessment about your own skill sets, and connect them to what’s in demand and available. Remember, the job you seek on the short run, doesn’t have to represent your long term career plans. Give yourself permission to take a short term step back in responsibility, or pay. You won’t be alone. Sometimes, it’s just about getting a job.

Once you’ve found a place to work during these difficult times, you can then start researching and planning your long term career adjustment. As this point, enlisting the help of a career coach may not be a bad idea. For ideas about career transition, visit:

--Steve Hernandez,

Monday, February 16, 2009

Networking Amnesia

Last week I facilitated a workshop for 40 professionals and managers in transition called, “Getting Back to Business in Uncertain Times.” In addition to focusing on the usual job search strategies and techniques, we spend a fair amount of time talking about the challenges facing job seekers in this market.

There was, of course, a great deal of stress and anxiety, and most of the participants realized that managing their emotions and keeping a positive attitude might make the difference between a receiving a job offer and being “candidate # 2”. We also spent time talking about how those who are willing to work the process with discipline and courage are the ones who will be re-employed sooner.

The one theme that repeated throughout the session was that networking, practiced regularly and with finesse, is a real difference maker and is the one thing people can do to maintain a sense of hope and control in an otherwise non-rational process. As sophisticated as most of the participants were, many did not fully appreciate the power of networking, both in making meaningful connections, but also in building momentum into the process.

Furthermore, even though most in the room had gotten virtually all of their previous jobs through connections, they seemed resistant to that fact and some even claimed “networking amnesia,” having forgotten how effective the process was during earlier transitions. Fortunately, by the time the workshop was over, there was near unanimous agreement on the power of networking and everyone in the room stood up at the end to make a verbal agreement to make networking a core strategy in getting back to business.

Let us know if we can help with your networking efforts or anything else regarding your transition or career issues.

Best wishes.

Mark Guterman

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Job Market Update Q1, 2009

Back in November I wrote that we had seen a trend of a steady decrease in new jobs for 10 to 12 month period and then in September/October we had seen a significant drop in new search activity. We needed a number of things to take place to turn the job market around. They were:

1. Better than expected holiday season and better than expected Q4 corporate earnings resulting in more confidence that the worst may be over.
2. With better than expected results in Q4 a change in the volatility in the capital markets will need to take place if it hasn't already.
3. Companies who have been able to stay profitable will need to have the confidence that business will continue to do well and the investment in human capital will not result in layoffs 6 to 9 months down the road.

Well.......I don't think any of that happened in December and January. So where are we now? Hopefully near the bottom of a hiring down turn. We don't expect the job market to get much better over the next three months. It may stay down until the end of summer. We are optimistic that by the end of this calendar year it will improve and 2010 will be a good time to look for your ideal job.

We believe that a significant increase in hiring will not take place until corporate America has the confidence that the economy will start growing. For now, when a company has made the decision to open up a hiring requisition most if not all hiring managers will be patient, they are looking to hire the best and will not feel the pressure of losing someone to a competitor.

I have no secrets to ensure your success in finding a job. I recommend each job seeker to work hard, be flexible and be reasonable and express interest if you are interested. Talk with our Career Services people to help you with interview techniques and how to market yourself.

I will update you all in three months with some positive news........I hope.

Happy hunting!

Bryon McDougall