Six job seekers that landed senior-level positions share the lessons they learned from the job hunt
By Kevin Fogarty
Whatever career experts may have to say about the job search, there’s nothing like first-hand experience. These members of TheLadders shared their stories and offered specific tactics from their own successful searches.
Focus your search strategy.
“The challenge is to find your niche. Three years ago, if you could fog a mirror, you could get a construction contract. Now it’s a little bit harder.” – OpsLadder member David Rosenof, chief operating officer and VP of Hunter Construction in Pompano Beach, Fla.
Demonstrate your value.
“There was a time during the dotcom boom when everybody wanted CRM or everybody wanted ERP and you were able to dump your solution at people. It is not like that any more. You have to be able to go in and is of each person within that organization. You need to be really consultative. You need to do your homework. You need to be able to show what differentiates you from other companies.” – Linda Schroeder, a SalesLadder
member who found a job working for a company whose products help other companies operate short-staffed.
Tune your resume.
“I was willing not only to focus on what I had been doing the past eight years, but what I did in my past by bringing back some of my older skill set to the table so that it would be considered as well. And that made a big difference.” – “Pam,” a FinanceLadder member who used a free resume critique to focus and brush up her resume, which led to a job in a company that focuses on restructuring and distress and wanted someone with both legal and business skills.
Follow the trends.
“Be as specific as you can. For example, the most current nursing trend today is wound care. Most people don’t know that. And that could be [open] to a nurse with a two-year degree or a LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) with a one-year degree. So if that nurse were to take one week out of his or her time and become wound care-certified, they are good to go for $70,000 or $80,000 right there. So the message is: Follow the trends.” – Robert N., a registered nurse and UpLadder member who used his years of management experience to land an executive job at MedicalEdge Healthcare Group Inc. in Dallas.
Look for opportunities, even in down markets.
Some job opportunities come from cleaning up the mess other companies made. “[Dreambuilder is] going to clean up the mortgages and then resell them because they are going to put a payment in front of the customers that they are going to be able to live with. They have been in business for six or seven years now, and they are ready to expand and take their business to the next level. Up until now, they have been a small Wall Street company, but today their business model is growing.” – Rob Onofrietti, a SalesLadder member and new director of sales at Dreambuilder Investments LLC.
Translate your effectiveness.
“As I wrote my resume, I really had to translate what I had done into value numbers and how much I had saved,” said Suzanne Frawley, an HRLadder member who used the resume service to focus her pitch and land a job as learning and development manager at the local offices of German pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim. For example, she was able to show how she had saved her firm more than $140,000 by sharing pace-learning programs throughout the company at a global level. “That was one of my bullet points – or ‘accomplishment statements,’ as we call them – on my resume. Once I had figured that out and put it into print, I thought: ‘Wow! That is what companies are now interested in.’ ”
“I listed the things I was able to impact and the cost reductions and eventually the cost of goods sold and gross margins. Bringing that to the table allowed me to talk about the things I can do based on what I’ve done in the past. That made for a very clear picture. … I was willing to move, and I said that up front. A lot of people weren’t, so that was one advantage.” – John, an OpsLadder member who landed the VP job he’d been searching for despite pressure to look for something more junior or accept much-reduced salaries. The key to overcoming objections was to quantify the value he brought to a company and clearly show what concessions he would make to take a job.
Kevin Fogarty is a general assignment reporter for TheLadders.