3JM Company Inc.



Published Articles by David Balovich

Title: Being Unemployed Sucks!
Published in: Creditworthy News
Date: 7/12/12


If you’re currently unemployed and seeking employment you can easily empathize with the title of this months column.

The unemployment rate today in the United States is officially at 8.2%. Although down from a high of a reported 12% the reality is it is actually around 18%. The variance in the percentages is the way the government gathers its’ unemployment information. If one is claiming unemployment benefits then they are counted among the unemployed. But what about those individuals who have exhausted their benefits and are no longer eligible to collect a check? Or the independent contactors who were never eligible to collect unemployment? And what about the unemployed who were denied eligibility because their employers protested their claim, they were terminated for cause, or the employers never subscribed to and paid the unemployment tax? And let’s not forget those proprietors and partners who have shuttered their doors during the last six years and were also never eligible for unemployment benefits. Perhaps we should consider increasing that unemployment number to 25% or higher. And in Europe the numbers are even greater depending on the country.

One only has to look at the number of on-line job forums that have been created on social networks such as Facebook and Linked-In to understand the enormity of the world-wide unemployment situation. The irony is that if one looks at the employment web sites; Monster, Career Builder,  Account Temps, etc., it would appear at first glance that companies have plenty of openings available and job fulfillment is just a mouse click away. A closer look however draws suspicion about the number of  positions really available as the same positions appear on multiple sites and in many cases those positions are highlighted as new openings month after month on several of these web sites. Adding to the frustration of job seekers is that many of these employment sites appear more interested in selling additional services to the unemployed, who now have limited resources, than providing them employment opportunities.

Our corporate training division reports that companies have not only down sized many of their operating departments but they have also instructed their managers to find ways to maintain and improve performance levels with fewer staff.  We have partnered with a number associations to provide alternative training programs through various channels until training is once again included in the operating budget.

Based on the aforementioned forums and unsolicited resumes we receive on a daily basis It would appear, in the credit profession, there are far more applicants than there are available positions. Sadly, among all the resumes we receive we cannot identify any particular one that stands out from all the rest. They all tend to read the same as if they were produced from one generic template. Add to that the number of credit professionals over the age of 50 who are unprepared to enjoy the “golden years” of retirement and their difficulty in convincing employers that they still are a valuable asset to the organization.

In the game of baseball, teams are composed of position players, i.e. pitcher, first baseman, left fielder, and utility players, i.e. player who can substitute for a position player and are skilled to play several positions well. In today’s employment environment, the unemployed credit professional should consider reinventing themselves from the position player to the utility player. This required a change to their strategy for finding employment opportunities if they plan to succeed in finding new employment quickly.

There is a distinct advantage the credit professional has over other professionals seeking employment opportunities. That advantage is the credit professional has experience in other areas of operations. Whereas a sales professional may have the ability to sell, the true credit professional is knowledgeable not only in credit and collections but also in sales, customer care, billing, distribution, accounting, and operations. The unemployed credit professional should use all of this experience to their advantage when seeking new employment. Rather then seek and apply for a particular position, credit or collections,  they should investigate and find out what positions the prospective employer has a need to fill and apply for those positions, plural.

This will require that they toss aside the old boiler plate resume and create one that that focuses on the accomplishments of not only working with other departments but achieving company rather than individual or department goals. It will also require a whole different method to seeking employment. One current method of seeking a new opportunity is to contact those friends and associates in our profession to assist us in finding leads. Another method is to subscribe to job forums that are specialized in our profession and also send out resumes to HR departments and employment sites seeking employment in our specific area of expertise. Sadly, we are among thousands of others doing the same thing and more often than not obtaining the same negative results.

Another current method used for finding new employment has been accomplished through either search firms or the Internet. The application and resume process, whether directly with the hiring organization or through a search company, has been transmitted via email or the web with very little personal contact until the search firm or employer is intrigued enough by the applicant’s credentials that an interview is arranged. The majority of the time the applicant never hears back from either the search firm or the company once their resume has been submitted. The reason for this is that through this impersonal web process the search firm or employer has been able to design a series of filters to ensure that only a minimum of application/resumes survive the gauntlet they have created to screen the information provided and they never see the majority of applicants’ resumes. Unfortunately, this filtering process has eliminated many qualified candidates from any consideration for positions they are qualified to fill.

It is seldom possible to penetrate and beat the gauntlet they have created, for in order to do so one would have to know the perimeters that have been created within these systems and not all systems are the same. The only way to beat them is to employ a different tactic.

Credit professionals know that information is essential to not only making sound credit decisions but also in completing the sale, collecting what is owed. Information is knowledge and information will lead to success in finding new employment.

The first thing we should do is stop sending our information to people who either can’t or are not inclined to help us. Working friends and acquaintances are generally more determined in holding on to their positions than helping us find a new one. The second thing we need to identify is what industry we want to work in. The majority of us have worked in different industries not because we liked the industry but because the opportunities existed in those industries for us to grow in our profession. Changing positions did not necessarily occur in the same industry. There were industries we enjoyed working in more than others. As the utility player we need to decide what industry we want to be in where we can best utilize our skills. So when we are seeking employment it should be in an industry we enjoy working in. To paraphrase Confucius, “Choose an industry you love and you will never work a day in your life”.

Once we have found the industry then we can narrow the field to the companies within that industry and again there is a selection to be made. Do we want a position with the industry leaders or do we want a position with a smaller firm or perhaps suppliers to the firms in the industry?

Once we have identified the industry and the companies then we need to gather all the information we can about those companies and what they do. Information includes company history, the management team, their customers, their product and/or service, where they are located, and most important, their business plan.

Armed with this information we’re now prepared to create a resume that will compliment the identified companies history and business plan with our skills, work experience, education, and accomplishments. The next step is to set up an appointment with a senior manager, preferably in operations or sales. We want to avoid human resources whenever possible. When asked what the meeting is about we should tell them we want to present a new product or service. This is not a lie because what we are presenting is us.

I want to make it clear here that this is a sales call and what we are selling is our skills and services for whatever position the organization has available that we are qualified to fill.

This is not a new concept but rather a throw back to the way companies used to hire its employees before they began hiring “specialists”. Prior to the 1970’s applicants applied for a position with a company in person. The applicant did not know what position they were applying for just that the company had a positions to fill. Upon interviewing the applicant and based on the applicants education, background, work history, and most importantly, personal characteristics, the company would hire the applicant and decide where the applicant would be best suited in the organization by having the applicant work in several departments they were qualified for. The applicant began their career where the organization decided they were best suited, not where the applicant wanted to work, and then based on the employees performance, aptitude, and desire, the employee had the opportunity to grow in the organization. An example is Bob Crandall the former CEO of American Airlines. He began his career in 1960 as a credit supervisor, he then moved on to computer programming, worked in marketing and sales, and eventually ended up in finance before being selected for executive placement.

This hiring process changed in the mid-seventies when management consulting companies convinced management it was more efficient to hire people for positions where they already had experience. The drawback was that although new employees knew how to do a specific job, they lacked the information about the company or industry culture that would make them successful at the job they were hired for in that organization. This led to departments being compartmentalized and contributed to the breakdown in internal communications.

Changing the method of presenting our credentials in the industry we want to work in and as a utility player, gives us the advantage of applying for several positions within the organization. A personal visit gives operational managers the ability to evaluate not only on our experience but also our character and personality, something that cannot be evaluated through an application form on a website.  

The successful credit professional is both innovative and creative. We need to utilize these attributes to get us back into the ranks of the employed.

I Wish You Well,

David Balovich is an author, credit consultant, educator, and public speaker.
He can be reached at 3jmcompany@gmail.com or through the Creditworthy website.

The information provided above is for educational purposes only and not provided as legal advice. Legal advice should be obtained from a licensed attorney in good standing with the Bar Association and preferably Board Certified in either Creditor Rights or Bankruptcy.  

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