A senior banking executive found himself on the other side of his company’s parking lot after working there for 25 years. Following a year of no responses to his resume and a networking trail that went cold, he contacted us for assistance.
He said that he tried everything to find a new job, including outplacement, recruiter outreach, peer networking, etc. He concluded that his traditional job hunting methods weren’t working due to age and “size” discrimination. So he got creative and lost 98 pounds, shaved off a 30 year-old beard and updated his wardrobe. Still, no bites.
The resume he presented to us was essentially a cut and paste job from one of those ubiquitous resume books. Better health notwithstanding, he failed to realize that the change required was between his ears and not south of them. In other words, he didn’t update his professional message, i.e., that which has made him successful and how it would be relevant to another employer.
What was the disconnect? First, he did not indicate what he was seeking, nor did he include an email address (!!). Then the resume basically states his functions. Here’s a sampling (We’ve purposely left the bank’s name anonymous):
Served several [BANK] businesses in matters of workout, restructure, bankruptcy and litigation. Businesses include Franchise Finance, Dealer Finance, Asset Based Funding, Vendor Finance, Capital Markets, Banker’s Leasing and Direct Finance. Duties as Group Head included supervision of vice-presidents attached to group, training, design and preparation of reports to Senior Management and occasional direct handling of special larger, more complicated situations. Subsequent duties included special projects, special situations and consultation to international divisions on all classified transactions and credit issues.
Among other things, he didn’t mention that when he left this bank he was a Senior VP directing 8 professionals with a loan portfolio of nearly $1 billion!
To articulate his professional value, he should be saying that he:
* Is a seasoned credit professional who’s been entrusted with lending and securing billions of dollars over a 30 year banking career
* Is recognized by senior management for his uncanny expertise to see problems around distant corners
* Has a knack for understanding how a bank can either mitigate a risk or find a way to safely unwind bad investments
* Was essentially the safety valve that released just enough steam without letting their financial enterprise explode (what a skill, especially in this market)
The key is to communicate how you contribute to the bottom line of an enterprise; whether it’s driving revenue, lowering costs or mitigating risks. Almost all professionals contribute directly or indirectly to the bottom line. And it’s those professionals who can spell it out to a prospective employer or client that will get their calls returned.
Read more tips & strategies on this and other topics from the Get What You Set web site.