Who’s Getting Hired? Some Good Advice

October 14, 2009

Last night’s event at St. Mary’s College was well attended despite the weather – even better was the content from the four panelists giving their perspective on the current job market. SMC MBA Alum Chance Curtiss moderated the panel with insightful – and humorous- questions and observations. Here’s a brief summary of the evening:

Jeff Tavanger from the Armada Group was pretty bullish from an IT professional view, showing the statistics over the past several years of jobs and the type of positions in IT that continue to be in demand. He also pointed out the value of soft skills in standing out among candidates.
Marty Chuck gave an ‘Inside the CIO’s Head’ vantage of the market, echoing Jeff’s assessment and adding more based on his background as a leader at HP, Agilent and most recently EA as CIO, which he joked stands for ‘Career is Over’. His message was that bedrock values, a focus on excellence and good people skills remain top of mind for chief executives.
Ted Cwiek, Assistant Administrator and HR Director for Contra Costa County described the very different world of government hiring practices, and in particular the continued demand for healthcare jobs and the unique requirements to get civil service jobs in California. He also pointed out that unlike private sector companies, labor leaders can – and do – call up the political board of directors – elected officials – and threaten them if they don’t get their way.

Tom Toy represented the VC community and had a bit of fun with his tips:
Networking is a lifetime career activity (Amen)
– Use formal networking
– Use Informal networking (most effective)
– Create your own ‘Kitchen Cabinet’ of close advisers who will keep you honest
-Use the internet for searching facts, but not exclusively to find jobs (yep, use networking for that)
– Be very proficient with the social networks
-Use the Rule of 100 (1/3 of your network are jerks, 1/3 want to help but are busy, and 1/3 will help you however they can – focus on those last 2/3rds!)

The questions from the audience were excellent and the panel stayed around for an additional 30 minutes to talk individually with attendees, most of whom are in transition. We also had a lot of members from CPC Job Connections join us.
My take away was that without exception, all emphasized the need to network using unorthodox methods to differentiate yourself and that the ability to communicate well – soft skills – are more important than ever.

Stay tuned for the follow up to this event on October 27th: Jump Start Your Job Search Workshop.