NSCN Member Success Story: Q & A with Bill

NSCN Member Bill found a job in his industry, but in a different role. He talks about his experience searching for this position and being out of work for one year.

What is your new job?
I am a joining a large team in a global wealth management firm as a financial advisor. My role is to develop client relationships and then manage those relationships. Although I will be able to provide my services to U.S. residents, my main area of focus will be with international clients.
What type of career/job did you have before you were unemployed?
For 15 years I was a client portfolio manager, investing portfolios for international wealth management clients on a discretionary basis. The number of institutions providing wealth management for offshore clients has decreased dramatically in the past few years. In addition, the role has become commoditized by advancements in technology and financial institutions becoming leaner. I saw this coming, but I did not embrace this change. As it turned out, I was out of a job for one year. The moral of the story is: keep up to date with changes in your industry and adapt to the changes as they are happening. Furthermore, look for alternative strategies if your industry is changing so dramatically that you might find yourself without a job.
Is this new job in a different occupation or industry for you?
This new job is in the same industry as I was before: financial services. However, my role within the industry will be slightly different. Although my previous role was a client-facing role; my duties were geared toward managing client assets and not managing the client relationships, which is a more comprehensive role. In other words, instead of being in charge of a product line, I will be responsible for providing all product lines to clients. Despite the fact that managing client relationships will be a different experience for me, I do have considerable experience in dealing with clients, building client trust, and managing relationships to a certain extent. In other words, my role will differ from what I was previously doing, but not dramatically.
How long were you unemployed before finding a new job?
I was laid off at the end of November 2016. Clearly being laid off just before the holiday season was not ideal, so I took some time off before beginning my search for a new job. I began interviewing with two companies simultaneously in the middle of January 2017. I was certain one of the two would hire me. After interviewing several times with both companies for several months, neither provided me with an offer. During this time I was also contemplating going into business on my own. I explored several ventures, but I am highly specialized in financial services, and I concluded that venturing into something completely different would be too risky. So I decided to continue my search.
What was most challenging about your job search?
Everything! The Bureau of Labor Statics had expressed for some time (prior to me being laid off) that the labor market was very tight and the economy was approaching full employment. Clearly with my credentials and my experience, I was under the impression I would land a job in no time. It was nothing like that. In fact, I must have applied to 100 different jobs online during the past year, which resulted in two phone interviews and one interview in person. I regret having spent so long in front of a computer screen screening for jobs in job boards and even worse, applying for them. Another major challenge was waiting to hear back from potential employers. Hours seemed like days, days seemed like weeks, and weeks seemed like months. In order to reduce that particular tension, I signed up for several continuing education courses to freshen up my skills. All in all, it was a frustrating experience to say the least, but I am lucky to have very understanding and supporting family that helped me manage the situation relatively smoothly. I have to say, I never felt desperate, but there were days I could see my patience was running out.
What strategies or tools helped you get this job (online tools, personal contacts, job fairs, etc.)
Everyone has different circumstances and are in different stages of their careers, so what might work for some, might not work for others. My experience for finding a job (an appropriate one) is a combination of factors that must come together. By this I mean, knowing the right people or having access to speak to them, being at the right place at the right time, (i.e., being lucky), having “some” of the traits that will be successful in the job one is looking for, and to being able to get out of your comfort zone.
There is nothing like networking with the people you know: ex-colleagues, friends, and family. These are the people who know you and are the only ones who would vouch for you, especially for people who are in the mid-career stage. Knowing a lot of people that are not in the industry that you want to work in does not serve for much, unless of course you are in the right place at the right time and one of your contacts can refer you to someone that might be in need of your particular skills.
How did you learn about the New Start Career Network (NSCN)?
I was looking for “all” options available and in particular I wanted to try different strategies that would help me find the right job. My wife suggested I contact a career coach, and I did. I reached out to one in NY who never got back to me. I have no experience with this, so I continued to do some research about this particular subject and I came to the NSCN website. It provided me access to a career coach free of charge.
In what ways did NSCN assist you in your job search?
NSCN is a great place to start. There is lots of information and online tools that you can access to research companies as well as the general outlook on any particular industry. Unfortunately for me, I came to NSCN pretty late in my search and was not able to take full advantage of all the resources that were available.
How did working with a NSCN Career Coach help you professionally and/or personally?
Prior to having my first conversation with the career coach that was assigned to me, I was already having advanced conversations with the company I will be joining. Nevertheless, my career coach provided me with some positive energy to continue pursuing the job. He helped me put things into perspective. Although my job was not the ideal job for me, as I am getting out of my comfort zone to do something different, he helped me realize that the most important thing was to get back into the game. This is something I knew in the back of my mind, but it always helps to have someone else foster that idea into your mind.
What advice would you give to other NSCN members?
Look at job boards in order to get an idea what companies are hiring in your area of interest. Once you have a list of companies that seem to be recruiting, look at your network in order to see a way to get in front of the hiring manager. I spent hundreds of hours tailoring resumes and cover letters for specific jobs that were being posted in job boards. I must have gotten two or three responses at most. Use job boards as guides, not as your main source of leads for jobs. It doesn’t work!
What recommendations would you make to NSCN to better help job seekers?
I think it would be helpful for job seekers to have the ability to network with others that have gone through this same process and have returned to the labor force. In other words, if you could set up a list of people (voluntarily) and their contacts so that job seekers can reach out to them to seek for advice or leads, it might be helpful. I think those who have been unemployed and used NSCN are probably more likely to provide support to others who are now in the same position they were in the past. In the same way that real estate brokers tell you it’s all about, location, location, location…job seeking is about networking, networking, networking. You need to have the correct academic foundation and relative experience for the job you want, but that will be secondary. It’s not what you know, but who you know and the broader the network, the better.