Considering An Industry Change?

iStock_000012260427XSmallWhether you’re a one-industry career veteran whose industry recently succumbed to unfavorable economic conditions, or an executive who wants to or needs to change industries, there is a great deal of due diligence required for a successful transition. In our current economic environment where most employers are unwilling to take chances, executive candidates must have a thorough understanding of the industry they are pursuing and be able to articulate the value they bring to an organization.

If you’re in this situation, it’s best at this stage to inventory your qualifications, examine your company preferences, and research industries.

To begin, create a list of personal preferences including:

  • Values, interests, and aspirations
  • Innate talents, greatest strengths, and core competencies
  • Preferences regarding corporate culture and values

Next, evaluate your company preferences:

  • Company size – small-, mid-, large-cap
  • Structure – public, private, non-profit
  • Source of funding – VC, PE
  • Growth model – organic or growth by acquisition
  • Footprint – local, national, international, global
  • Type of organization – traditional, pioneer, hyper growth, etc.
  • Governance – board, regulatory bodies
  • Leadership style – hierarchy, flat
  • Reputation
  • Executive turnover rate and reasons

Then, research and identify industries in which you have an interest using these sites:

  • NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes: http://www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html.
  • NYSE Euronext: http://www.nyse.com/about/listed/lc_all_industry.html. The Industry Classification Benchmark* (ICB) — which comprises 10 industries, 18 supersectors, 40 sectors and 114 subsectors — provides accurate and globally accepted industry and sector classifications.
  • Polson Enterprises: http://www.virtualpet.com/industry/. This site provides an online step-by-step process for researching industries and companies with links to thousands of resources.
  • Hoover’s Online, http://www.hoovers.com – Site has an Industry Master List with drill down capability to industry trends, industry snapshots, major companies in the industry, associations, organizations, publications, press releases, glossaries, and more.

Completing these steps will lay the groundwork for a comparison between the industry or industries in which you have worked and the similarities or lack thereof with other industries. This will help you identify your transferable qualifications and the value you bring to another industry table.

With proper due diligence, executives are able to change industries smoothly. You simply need to identify key industry characteristics and aggressively pursue the transition to achieve the success you desire when landing an executive position at a new company or in a new industry.

Is Your Job Search Strategy Producing The Results You Want?

iStock_000030155864SmallA focused job search includes extreme clarity, a concentrated effort, persistence, and out-of-the-box thinking. It also includes a system and methodology including upfront analysis and planning, research and investigation, a due diligence process, organization of multiple concurrent activities, and precise execution.

In Bryan Golden’s, nationally syndicated weekly newspaper column, Dare to Live Without Limits, his March 4, 2009 column in The Resident is entitled “Concentrated Effort Brings Success.” He writes, “It’s true, success does take effort. But it also takes as much, if not more, effort to continuously struggle without being on a path to success. Living takes effort. However, you have the power to formulate any strategy you want for expending your effort. You can scatter your efforts so nothing is accomplished. Or you can concentrate your effort into a powerful force.”

Here is an analogy Golden provides to make his case: “What happens when spilled jet fuel on a runway is ignited? It burns, creates a lot of heat, but doesn’t get you anywhere. But burn it in a jet engine and you then have the means to get to a specific destination.

“Why are there different results? When fuel burns on the runway, its effort is dispersed and nothing is accomplished. When it burns in a jet engine, the effort is concentrated and the effort is concentrated and directed in one direction. Only in the engine will the fuel’s effort get you anywhere.”

Only in the engine will the fuel’s effort get you anywhere.

“It’s true, success does take effort. But it also takes as much, if not more, effort to continuously struggle without being on a path to success.”

The same can be said for job search.

  • Focus your job search efforts. The intensity you build with focus will help you carry the day.
  • Decide on the type of job you want. Create a job description for your ideal or dream job. Be precise and include the challenges, responsibilities, team environment, and culture.
  • Decide what type of company interests you. Would you prefer to work for a company funded by private equity or venture capital? Would you prefer to work for a large public company or small privately held company? A forward thinking, fast paced company or a time-honored, deliberate company? A regulated or non-regulated company?
  • Research your ideal job. Talk to executives who have held the position in which you are interested. Do a target-gap analysis of the skills, knowledge, and abilities you’ll need for your ideal position. Decide how you’ll overcome the gaps.
  • Perform an analysis of your existing network. Develop a strategy for expanding your network so you can connect with the people who can help you.
  • Study your target companies. Talk to people who currently work for your target companies, as well as those who previously worked for the companies.
  • Study your target industry. Conduct research to find out where the industry is headed, how the industry is faring in this economic downturn, and what challenges and barriers the industry faces.
  • Create a customized version of your marketing materials (résumé, accomplishment stories, positioning statement, cover letter, and other materials) that you can use for your target job. Use these customized versions as your leave behind marketing pieces. In other words, materials you can leave with people you have spoken with regarding your target job. By way of an example, consider meetings you’ve had with sales professionals. Most likely they provided customized documentation and left a brochure and other marketing materials for your review and consideration. Follow this strategy and you’ll find your job search efforts more rewarding.

The bottom line: Job search is all about networking and getting internal contacts at target companies to recommend you.