WorkWise: Job hunting when your company's shrinking
07/15/2013 12:15 AM
07/15/2013 12:25 AM
Some companies were still shrinking as recently as last year, according to PayScale Inc. of Seattle, Wa. PayScale reports amassing compensation data with 36 million salary profiles. More than a fifth (21 percent) of large organizations shrank, while 17 percent of both small and medium-sized companies did.
Samuel Dyer, chairman of the board at the Medical Science Liaison Society in Highland Beach, Fla., indicates that in the pharmaceutical industry, “companies are definitely downsizing, slowing down and in many ways realigning resources, because traditional pharmaceutical sales have dramatically shrunk.” Rich Romano, senior account executive at IT staffing firm Eliassen Group LLC in Wakefield, Mass., says that some companies are growing rapidly, while others are downsizing. He predicts that large financial institutions will become smaller.
If you’re happy in your current organization but it’s letting people go and/or not refilling positions, what can you do? Eduardo Senf of Chicago, Ill., in transition to his next senior management position, indicates that companies struggle when they trim staff. “Having an open conversation with the employer helps both parties by taking employee stress away,” he points out, particularly when the employer helps in the search.
Recruit your manager to serve as an internal reference, Romano suggests, and be certain your manager and HR know you want to continue working there, advises Diane Bogut, a former staffing firm manager and current job seeker in Wexford, Pa.
Romano recommends being proactive, beginning with building relationships in parts of the organization that are strong: “Go to the person in that other division and present yourself with one page, not a resume, showing what you’ve been able to accomplish in the old division. Don’t rely on a friend-of-a-friend or give it to a person in HR.”
Furthermore, Dyer advocates “demonstrating not only the value you bring but activities similar to that functional area, through hot topics or key indicators.” You’re essentially career-changing within the organization.
Understand that you’re best qualified to convey the value you’ve brought to the organization, Dyer mentions. Assure professionalism by pulling back and removing any emotion before you begin speaking.
“Move the conversation from ‘I will cost you $X’ to ‘Hiring me will generate or save $Y,’” encapsulates Gaetan Giannini, dean of the School of Adult and Graduate Education at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa. “This can come as knowledge of systems, demonstrated performance in developing business, cost reduction or a reference to knowing the right people to help the business succeed.”
Did a line of employees precede you to the plum employer? Romano says to pull out your internal reference, such as your boss or a co-worker, or even a person from outside who knows a person internally and can likely help you stand out.
If you’ve felt comfortable working at the company for some time, you may be reluctant to take these steps. Take a break from the distractions of everyday life and imagine a day, a week, then a month with your familiar routine shattered. If you’ve motivated yourself to do things for the company, you can motivate yourself to walk down this unfamiliar path.
Avoid the danger in not trying, Romano adds, even if everyone ahead of you in line was turned down. “Ask for the job or you’ll be kicking yourself,” he explains. “When you leave, go around to people telling them you enjoyed working with them on a project. They may end up hiring you then – it happens all the time – or a month later when they get a new project or new funding.” Giving them the chance to welcome you in their area gives you the chance to redirect your career.
Dr. Mildred L. Culp welcomes your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. ® 2013 Passage Media.
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