Friday, December 19, 2008

The Corporate Playbook Updates

Financial Planning- Hottest Job in a Cool Economy

Piggy Bank It might seem counter intuitive that financial planners do well at a time when so many people's finances are in a shambles, but it's true. Millions of baby boomers are hitting retirement age, and many need help managing their money to ensure their financial assets will carry them through their golden years. Many have seen the value of their investments fall substantially due to the slumping economy, making financial planning more important than ever.

Career Profile: What do Financial Analyst & Personal Accountants do?
Financial analysts and personal accountants work to interpret complicated financial information, providing guidance to individuals and businesses that need a solid financial plan. Analysts generally specialize in a particular area of expertise, such as a region, specific industry, or product. Personal accountants scale down their expertise to the individual level. Estate planning, college education funding, and tax advice are all within the scope of a personal financial advisor.

Financial analysts and personal accountants should be able to work well in teams, be a critical thinker, and have a facility with numbers and the financial insight to interpret data in ways that can be easily understood.

A Day in the Life of Financial Analysts & Personal Accountants
An ordinary work day for financial analysts and personal accountants can include working in a standard office or branching out to work from home, traveling to meet investors and potential clients, or scheduling weekend meetings.

Personal accountants often teach evening classes or seminars in the hopes of bringing in more business and broadening their client base. Personal accountants working in financial institutions are more likely to work a traditional 40-hour week, although they can provide off-hour and weekend access to high-profile clients.

Financial Analysts & Personal Accountants Training and Education
Education is an important component for financial analysts and personal financial accountants. A bachelor's degree in finance, business administration, accounting, economics, or statistics is recommended, and some competitive careers can require a master's degree or certification. Typical coursework for financial analysts and personal accountants includes accounting fundamentals, business valuation, international financial management, and concepts of financial reporting. However after speaking with many of the top financial planning companies they say a willingness to help people, the ability to effectively communicate & solid work ethic are actually the qualities possessed by the top performers.

Financial analyst can apply for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification, personal financial advisors can apply for the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential, and personal accountants can seek a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certification.

Employment & Outlook for Financial Analysts & Personal Accountants
A growing retired population with increased investment potential is expected to create substantial growth for financial analysts and personal financial accountants. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 37 percent increase in overall employment through 2016 for these specialized financial workers, or 544,000 new jobs total.

Despite rosy growth projections, competition for these positions is expected to be keen and limited to those with formal training. A strong education background is essential and an MBA or formal certification is recommended. Strong selling and communication skills are also important, particularly for those considering self-employment.

Financial Analysts & Personal Accountants Salary
Financial analysts saw mean annual earnings of $81,700 in 2007, according to the BLS. That same year, personal financial advisors earned $89,220. Financial investment and management industries had high levels of employment for both occupations, as did securities and commodity contracts intermediation, and brokerages. New York was the top-paying state for both occupations, with workers earning mean wages over six figures.

Check out these great Financial Planning Opportunities to get you started:
Northwestern Mutual
Ameriprise Financial
Western & Southern

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Analysts and Personal Financial Advisors
NC State College of Management
Brett Freeman

Video Is Where Its At, Tell Us Your Story!!

Camera coming out of page The Corporate Playbook wants to make sure that you are aware of some of the newest tools and trends in the industry that are available to you on our networkÖ COMPANY VIDEOS and VIDEO RESUMES!!!

According to a recent article provided by Kevin Wheeler, President of Global Learning Resources, Inc**, research shows there are no legal issues in using video resumes; they are no more discriminatory than a face-to-face interview and may actually help to showcase your communication skills and other positive traits. They can speed up the pre-screening process for our companies and recruiters and may even eliminate the need for the number of interviews you will be subject to during the career search process.

If you are a recent grad, just entering the job market, you may prefer to create a video resume as it reflects the media with which you are most comfortable. We can also easily imagine a time, in the near future, when the face-to-face interview will be replaced with a live, virtual interview, perhaps with the hiring manager and several others present virtually. The use of video lowers costs, expands the number of people who can participate in an interview, allows asynchronous viewing and makes it more convenient for you as the candidate.

Letís face it: YouTube has changed the way we view movies, videos and more importantly, it has changed the way we use the internet. YouTube averages about 71 million viewers monthly, just in the U.S., and its rivals are also doing well and growing. This indicates a decisive trend: more and more of us are getting information and education from video, rather than just from words ñ whether in print or online.

We have already seen video gaining in popularity and importance in recruiting. All top-tier career sites incorporate both pictures and video. Usually the videos are of employees talking about their jobs, but some include campus tours or chats with the CEO or a hiring manager.

Here are two ways The Corporate Playbook is using video to help with your search:
1. Branding and position promotion. Many of our organizations are including videos that showcase their organization or promote a specific job or group of jobs to you as a prospective candidate. For example: ADP, Guardian, Enterprise, Velocity Sports Peformance and many others all incorporate at least one video on their careersí homepage. Many other organizations include clips of chats with employees or even take you on a guided tour of the company. Just as the internet allowed sites such as Amazon to provide more product information and user ratings, you are now starting to expect the same from career sites. The practice of incorporating videos about the organization and about available positions will expand over the next few years as we expect a much higher level of information and awareness than we did even two years ago.

2. Resumes. The practice of you submitting your resumes as video clips is just beginning. From as far back as the first CD/ROMS, candidates have been intrigued by the idea of submitting their resume in a video format. Video has advantages ñ it allows you to show your communication skills and it is often easier for you to be expressive about past achievements when telling a story to a camera. Although these are not a substitute for an interview, they are a way to pre-screen candidates and develop a more complete picture than one gets from a written resume. Take advantage of this new tool on The Corporate Playbook profile page under "Video Studio", the video resume may be a good way to differentiate yourself and provide you an advantage when you apply. If you are a current athlete or recent grad who lacks in-depth experience but feel you have other great qualities, you might rather put together a short video than write a resume.

Over the next few years, all recruiters will come to embrace and more effectively use video to brand, inform candidates, receive resumes, provide information to candidates and hiring managers and provide on boarding for new employees.

Are you ready to join in the revolution, start by adding your video today!

**Kevin Wheeler, President of Global Learning Resources, Inc is a globally-known speaker, author and consultant in human capital acquisition and development. His extensive career, global client base and research affiliations make GLR a leading provider of both strategy and process. GLR focuses on assisting firms architect human capital strategies, guiding them through comprehensive talent acquisition processes and procedures. GLRís clients include organizations of all sizes including Sun Microsystems, Eli Lilly, PricewaterhouseCoopers and many others.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Your Feedback Needed!

I need your help! I would like your feedback on custom career search tools. Given the current job market & slowing economic growth custom tools, guidance & preparation are necessary to navigate the job market.

Below are a few ideas I would like your input on. Let me know which ones you feel are worthwhile & which ones you feel like would really give you the edge in your career search. Thanks in advance for your help!

1) Industry Snapshots- detailed industry forecast growth predictions, occupational outlook & leading companies within the industry. Providing the information to act & make informed career path decisions.

2) Custom Resume Development & Review Consultant- design build a professional resume from scratch or tweak & tailor an existing resume. (Include Cover Letters too)

3) Access & Contact Information to Professional Recruiters- both submitting your name/resume to leading industry specific recruiters & providing a playbook of all industry & regional specific recruiters to get your foot in the door.

4) Personal Career Coach- a certified professional career coach to help you navigate through all phases of the job search (industry selection, resume, interview, follow up, offer negotiation, transition counseling etc.)

5) Ability to have your resume appear first when employers are searching for candidates in your area of interest- (example- have your resume appear first when an employer searches the term "Marketing Director" on a job database.

I look forward to reading your feedback & please make any additions you would like to see.



Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Explaining Your Layoff to a Job Recruiter

Yesterday I received a call from my college roommate. He informed me that he had just been laid off from GE. He had spent the last 5 years there (which evidently is an eternity for a Gen Y employee) & worked his way into middle management running material operations for their consumer & industrial refrigeration business. In a sobering talk over a few Murphy's Stouts he explained to me how difficult the layoff was for him. He was a true company man a throwback to generations past. He was the guy in the office on Christmas Day & every Sunday for the last 5 years. For him the layoff was more than a job loss it was a loss of identity. He understands that there are no promises in this world & that nobody is entitled to a career, it is up to each individual to ensure their own success through performance. However he feels tied to this job & is struggling to explain the layoff. I found this article in today's CareerJournal addressing this situation which unfortunately is all to common today.

If you're among the more than one million workers who've been laid off this year, finding a new job will require a strategy that differs from a typical search.

The competition may be stiffer than anything you've faced before, and you'll likely be asked difficult questions about your dismissal. Knowing where to look, how to set yourself apart and what to say about your situation could mean the difference between getting a job and sinking deeper into unemployment.

A critical first step is to come to terms with your job loss, says Cynthia Shapiro, a career strategist in Woodland Hills, Calif., and author of "What Does Somebody Have to Do to Get a Job Around Here." Some people become angry, others insecure. While these reactions are normal, they can derail a job search should recruiters pick up on them. "You have to take some time to mentally regroup," says Ms. Shapiro.

Cast a Wide Net

Once you're ready to hit the pavement, consider that the wider you can look geographically, the greater your chances. To identify employers that are still hiring, start perusing local newspapers, trade magazines and business publications, advises Howard Seidel, a partner at Boston-based Essex Partners, a provider of career services. "Some [layoff victims] stop reading newspapers because it can get depressing," he says. But if you keep at it, "you'll get a feel for what companies seem to be doing OK."

Don't rule out small businesses or those in struggling industries. "There are some companies that are countercyclical," says Mr. Seidel. Industries like health care and education are still adding jobs. Public accounting and financial advising are also continuing to do well, although their growth is more muted.

Another job-hunting method is to network. Recruiters in particular can offer valuable insight, regardless of whether they have any search assignments that match your skill set. "They're very close to the market and tend to have an idea of what's happening," he explains.

If you don't already have relationships with recruiters, now is the time to start developing some. Many search firms accept résumé submissions through their Web sites, which can lead to a recruiter contacting you. But you can boost your odds of success by reaching out to recruiters directly. Since they typically prefer to meet job hunters through referrals, ask former colleagues, business associates, alumni and other members of your network for an introduction to a recruiter they have a relationship with already.

Studies show that referrals lead to the highest number of job placements, so devote the majority of your search time to networking, says Annie Stevens, managing partner at ClearRock Inc., an executive coaching and outplacement firm in Boston. Responding to ads on job boards also ranks high, while attending career fairs delivers modest returns -- especially for experienced professionals.

When applying, avoid expressing bitterness or self-pity. Many layoff victims send cover letters that blame the economy for their job loss, says Ms. Shapiro. There's no need to even point out the fact that you've been laid off. "If your last work day was in October, your résumé will say that," she explains. Plus, since so many workers have been handed pink slips in the past year, this information is unlikely to kill your candidacy upfront. While it can be helpful to explain why you were let go over others whose jobs were not eliminated, save those details for the interview and use the cover letter to describe your strengths.

Signal Confidence

Another faux pas many unemployed job hunters make: Sending introductory notes that overextend gratitude, says Ms. Shapiro. These include lines like, "Thank you so much for giving me consideration," which signal a lack of confidence. She suggests taking the opposite approach by conveying that employers should take advantage of this opportunity to recruit you. Just be careful not to come across as arrogant. Say something like: "I look forward to hearing from you."

Meanwhile, show employers you're flexible and not fussy. A candidate for a senior consulting job at International Business Machines Corp. recently indicated to hiring manager Mayank Shah that she was willing to travel locally and abroad, as well as undergo training. "There were many candidates with the same skills and experience, but what differentiated her was her can-do attitude," he says. Many of her competitors made specific demands or agreed to adhere to certain requirements only in exchange for higher pay. Keep your requests for concessions -- like working only out of a particular office or during certain hours -- to a minimum. You can work up to those perks after you've proven yourself in the position.

Still, don't go overboard. Offering to do things you really don't want to do -- such as relocate anywhere or travel up to 100% of the time -- can turn off recruiters, warns Russ Riendeau, a senior partner at East Wing Search Group, an executive-recruiting firm in Barrington, Ill. "When I hear that, I know it's not true," he says. "I know I'm dealing with a desperate candidate." What's more, you could damage the relationship you have with a recruiter if he or she believes you and you later renege on your promises.

Salary Issues

Some unemployed job hunters also hurt their chances by volunteering to take a significantly lower salary than what they earned in their last job. An offer to take a pay cut of more than 20% can suggest to employers that you're biding your time and would re-enter the job market in search of higher-paying positions once the economy improves, says Jeff Joerres, chief executive officer of outplacement firm Manpower Inc. Or, you might unwittingly imply that you're going to ask for a raise soon after coming on board.

A better strategy is to wait for the hiring manager to raise the subject of salary. If the job pays less than what you previously made, respond with a plausible reason for accepting it. For example, you might say that you recognize what's going on in the economy and cite reasons why you're attracted to the position and the company. "You want to project that you are facing reality and are comfortable with the situation," says Mr. Joerres.

Finally, prepare an explanation about what led to your layoff. For example, you might tell the interviewer that your skill set wasn't critical to your last employer's survival, but that you believe it is for the organization you're now targeting -- and then explain why, suggests Mr. Joerres.

If you've been unemployed for a long period of time and a recruiter asks why, consider pointing out that you're being selective about your next move, says Mr. Joerres. Then describe how the position is a strong fit. Or you might explain that you opted to delay your search spend time with family or take a class, suggests Ms. Shapiro. "You have to make those last months sound like a conscious choice," she says.

More Tips for Laid Off Professionals

Use caution when being creative. In highly competitive job markets, some professionals go to unusual lengths to try and win the attention of hiring managers and search-firm recruiters. For example, job hunters have been known to send recruiters gifts – such as golf balls and cookies -- with their resumes attached. While such tactics can sometimes prove effective, they can also backfire. See "In Quest to Stand Out, Take Care With Gimmicks."

Keep mum about personal problems. When meeting with search-firm recruiters, laid-off workers have a tendency to open up too much about the personal impact of their dismissal, these professionals say. While recruiters can generally be trusted to keep this kind of information confidential, giving it out can suggest you lack discretion or are too distracted to perform well in a job. See "Job Seekers Bend Ears of Advisers, Recruiters."

Consider paying for professional support. If your job search isn't proving effective, a career coach may be able to help by providing objective, expert advice. To find one in your area, visit the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches' Web site at, or the International Coach Federation online at See "Career Q&A: Finding The Right Career Coach."

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at