Friday, April 20, 2012

Change, Evolve, Diversify...What else?

I was catching up with a professional the other day who I had not spoken with for quite some time. He asked me how things were going for me. When asked that question I always answer it in reference to Capstone Search Group verse myself personally. I answered by explaining by telling him of course the last five years have definitely been challenging. Our carrier projects are down at least 75% from 2007 and prior. While business has no doubt been down across the board, I think this is very likely reflective of most businesses and certainly the search & recruitment business. I personally know of firms that have unfortunately not survived the economic downturn.

While talking I was reminded of a show I had just seen this week prior to my conversation with this individual. I was flipping through channels as I often do while ending my early morning workouts with 30 minutes of cardio. I paused on “Morning Joe” on MSNBC with Joe Scarborough just long enough to hear him talking about how our country needs an optimistic leader. And whoever comes across as optimistic out of the two leading candidates for President will more than likely get elected. I’m not personally a political type person at all. Right or wrong I’m just not. So I’m not making any type of political statements here. Only reflecting on what I had heard from that show that morning. Joe talked about how each decade the US sees a major challenge. And how the US has pulled through each time. But it takes optimism and optimistic leadership.

I take pause as I believe that's a quality deeply entrenched into our culture within our organization. I believe this largely comes from our people, though. I consider my quality helping me pull through these tough times as more of my competitive nature. Never giving in or giving up. Finding ways to survive. That coupled with the ever present optimism from our staff helping us evolve as an organization. Which finally leads me to my actual point. Diversification. Change, evolve, diversify.

As an organization we have had to evolve. We’ve had to diversify. We’ve had to rely less heavily on our carrier partners for business and find other channels. We expanded from purely a perm staffing firm to a firm that offers perm staffing solutions, contract employee staffing solutions and also RPO solutions(Recruitment Process Outsourcing). We have partnered more heavily within the broker world. We have partnered with insurance industry vendors and information suppliers. We have developed systems and new ways of doing business.

And this very idea of evolving and diversifying can be applied to the job seeker as well. There are so many extremely talented professionals seeking jobs. We know that we are in the long haul given the economy and job market. We see reasons to be optimistic certainly but the reality is, often securing a suitable position is still a very long venture for so many. So what do we take from all this? Above all, optimism. Optimism and a positive attitude and outlook will carry you so much farther than gloom & doom.

What else? Diversify? Evolve? Perhaps so. But how? What are your core skills & abilities? What other positions can these translate into other than what you’ve done previously? For example, a strong technically oriented underwriter that has an understanding of the interaction between systems and the underwriting process could make a nice transition into a business analyst role. Who hires business analysts? Insurance Companies, IT solutions providers for the insurance industry, etc. This is just one example. Also consider doing contract work. Contract work brings in income, keeps your skills fresh and looks good in an interview process.

What are some other ideas? Please share.

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