Tuesday, August 15, 2006

job search update OR executive power networking!

I've mentioned in the past the need to change jobs to increase my portion of our family earnings.
Gradually for the last six weeks I've been networking and learning how to find a job (haven't done it in years). The world has changed.

In my small rural community a long commute from the nearest big city, executive level jobs are fairly scarce. Classified ads for executives are often come-ons for insurance agencies or MLMs trying to recruite sales people (aka producers). Managerial positions are far too often posted by small retailers or restaurants looking for a night manager at a fast food restaurant.

My first inclination was too search for the invisible jobs - the 80% that are not directly advertised. In my past experience, the quickest approach was to track down connected executive recruiters. I was saddly disabused of this fact when, after lenghty internet searches I couldn't find more than half-a-dozen executive recruiters in NC and VA. Most of the ones I talked with were domiciled in the region but recruited nationally.

Plan B - networking

If you can't find a recruiter - you need to be your own recruiter. To that effect I began social networking, asking friends, neighbors and acquantences for executive level contacts at local and regional companies. This process has slowly opened up a new world or contacts and relationships. It has been most successfuly with a small regional bank. Last week I had lunch with several of the senior VPs, today I had lunch with the President. Through a friend I've obtained an invitation to meet with the Chairman. They've grown quickly so I'm hoping they'll need more leadership strength to integrate their operations. Each meeting puts a piece of the puzzle in place - answering key questions such as: do they need help, could I help them, what are their core values, would I want to join their team, and would this be a challenge?

Eventually, I'll know enough to propose a means for participation in their organization or met enough people for them to be curious.

To a degree I feel they are a bit intimidated by my large corporate experience. I've worked with some of the biggest financial firms in the world. In the end, these companies are more similar than different, but it can create a feeling of distance.

This afternoon and tomorrow I'll schedule a follow-up meeting to strategize with one of the regional leaders and the chairman. This is the most extensive networking I've performed within a single organization that I wasn't selling a major deal (then again a job is a major deal). I'm very pleased they are willing to meet with me, though I wonder if it's out of curiousity (my experience set and skills are rare in this rural community), out of obligation to my referers (it's not too hard to find board members in a small community) or out of need. Either way, I'll know in three weeks.

One interesting thing is that you can find what all the major executives earn by reading their annual report. They will also identify options and equity grants. Quit interesting. You don't want to ask for more than what the President earns unless it's a very unique situation - more likely your acting as an outside advisor.

Right now I see a potential opportunity, but I'm unsure what their alternatives and status quo really are right now. That will be very important to understand before proposing anything aggressive to them.

If nothing happens with this organization, at least I'll have a very strong understanding of their leadership's goals, key issues and opportunities for business performance in our regional market.

have a wonderful day,


mOOm said...

OT - in response to your question on my site:

I haven't read Bernstein. Is he talking about price changes or total return? 3.5% seems low for total return even after inflation to me. The thing is because of an increasing share of profits in GDP we have got down to a P/E near historic averages at this point. Assuming this share of profits in GDP is maintained we should see going forwards a total return equal to E/P+ the % change in real GDP. That would be something like a 7-8% total real return. In the 1982-2000 bull market returns were above that because P/E ratios were rising from a very low level. Bears think returns will be low going forwards because they think that P/Es will decline to historic lows of 8 or so. They might do that eventually, but based on Kondratief that might not happen for 30 years.... Of course the share of profits in GDP might fall back again to historic lows. I think though we are in a more permanent shift to higher profit levels...

So the bottom line is there are lots of scenarios out there. None of the reasonable ones point to the extremes of either the 1982-2000 bull market or another great depression.

mOOm said...

Follow up on another comment:

Thanks - the commission is $9.99 for me. I am trading 3000-4000 shares in my two Ameritrade accounts. So it is around 1/4 to 1/3 of a cent per share. So the brokerage is much less than the spread between bid and ask prices. It might not make sense to do this kind of strategy if you were trading only 100 shares.

Short-term trading on my Australian account is a whole other prospect as the minimum commission cost is 0.1%. In other words about 10 times higher than this.

makingourway said...

My lunch with the President/CEO of the banking organziation went well. He asked me for a copy of my resume (though he could have been doing it out of politeness) and mentioned my combination of operations, technology and sales were a unique combination, which was encouraging.
I believe they will be creating executive level positions for efficiency, etc..., but from him it sounds like they are still working out what they need.
I think my strategy will be to help them create the new roles and help manage those people.
We'll see how things go.
Tomorrow I will write a thank you letter. He also mentioned that one of his clients is looking for a CEO with my background. That, too, could be interesting.

I left a message with the Chairman this afternoon and am waiting to hear back from him to schedule an appointment. I'll also meet again with the regional President to test several ideas.

Have a wonderful day,

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are doing great with your networking. The further along I get in my career, I find that networking is really the only good way to find the best jobs. Even when headhunters are involved, it helps to already know people within the organization that can help you navigate the internal politics and vouch for you.

The one bit of advice I'd give you is to try to find ways to remain in contact with all these executives on a social level. What charities, external organizations, etc. are they involved in. It could take them months, even years, to formulate their business reorg, so you want to be running into them whenever you can and making excuses to get together for dinner, drinks, etc.

mOOm said...

"Tomorrow I will write a thank you letter. He also mentioned that one of his clients is looking for a CEO with my background. That, too, could be interesting."

Just what I was thinking - seems they really like you, so even if they can't work out a position for you they can put you in touch with people who might be able to. Knowing the local bank chairman can't be a bad thing! :)