Bob Larson, CPC
Bob Larson, CPC



Career Report

May, 2008 — Issue 99

Job Advice for a Changed Economy

If you’re one of those people looking for a job right now, you’re trying to navigate a job market filled with daily news reports about layoffs, hiring freezes and budget cuts. With the economy in a downturn, jobseekers clearly need to work harder and longer to find a job, and be more flexible and creative in assessing their options. But according to a Q&A feature story by careers columnist Phyllis Korkki of The New York Times, hiring experts agree that plenty of jobs are still out there, and certain types of workers continue to be in high demand. In the article, Korkki offered the following insight on the topic:

Do you need to look at your job search differently?

Yes. You probably do. But the important thing to remember is that as large numbers of jobs are disappearing, “whole new categories of jobs are being created that nobody ever thought of before,” said Richard Nelson Bolles, author of “What Color Is Your Parachute?” (Ten Speed Press), a career book he has revised continuously since 1970. For example, as demand for certain manufacturing jobs dries up, demand for some new technology jobs is swelling.

In fact, some companies that are laying off workers are still recruiting, said Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer for Adecco, the staffing company. That is because “most organizations know that there will be a talent shortage” as baby boomers continue to retire, she said.

What needs to be done differently as you look for a job in this environment?

Accept that you may be unable to move into a replica of the job you just held, Ms. Kenny said. It is time to think harder about transferring the skills you have or acquiring new ones to move into a new type of job or industry, Bolles added. Be receptive to the idea that in the future you may be working “in the service of new technologies,” he said. That could involve taking relevant classes. Certainly, if you don’t have computer skills, it is imperative to obtain them now, he pointed out.

When the economy is in turmoil and businesses are shrinking or closing, entrepreneurs are always on the lookout to fill unmet needs, perhaps in a brand new way, Bolles told the newspaper. Job seekers need to stay alert to what these needs are by following the business news, and adapt their skills to the companies that are trying to meet them. Of course, also check the job boards, keep your résumé sharp and send it out regularly. But during a downturn, understand that you may need to do much, much more than that.

At a time like this, it is also more important than ever to use personal and professional networks, including alumni associations, so you can obtain referrals to help you stand out from the crowd, said Jon E. Zion, president of Eastern United States operations for Robert Half, the financial recruitment agency. Professionals need to stay involved in continuing education, and certifications are especially important now, he added. “You need every advantage as the economy slows and the competition for jobs increases,” he said.

What are some areas where demand for workers remains high?

Challenger Gray & Christmas, the outplacement firm, recently identified the following areas as relatively “recession proof”: education, energy, environmental services, healthcare, security and international business. Demand is particularly strong for people with expertise in information technology, including software business applications, Web development, database management and network administration, Zion pointed out. And certain areas in accounting and finance are still thriving. People with credit collections and accounts-receivable skills, for example, should have less trouble landing a job, he added.

What if you are unemployed, running out of money and have no leads in sight?

Consider taking an interim or contract position at a company. Remember, Zion said, a “substantial percentage of those positions convert to permanent status.” The need for interim project financial professionals remains high, he noted. But sometimes even interim jobs will be elusive or unremovable. In that case, you may have to take a stopgap job.” Bolles told the newspaper. That could be “work you hate” that pays the bills, he added, but keeps you motivated to continue with a more ambitious search.

All the rejections you are receiving, compounded by all the negative headlines you see, make it hard to stay optimistic. How do you keep from feeling discouraged?

Make a list of what you need to do each day, and “try to keep your emotions separate from the tasks of the day,” Kenny of Adecco said. “This is not the time to say, “Well there aren’t any jobs out there, so I won’t look,” she said. During a downturn, it is all too easy for job seekers to “live in a state of fear,” said Janet White, author of “Secrets of the Hidden Job Market.” “It’s that fear that’s going to poison anything they try to do,” she said. “Whatever you believe to be true becomes your experience.”

With the right attitude, on the other hand, job seekers, “can often turn this crisis into a real advantage for themselves” by moving their life in a new and more fulfilling direction,” Bolles said. When they look back, he added, they often realize that losing their job was the best thing that ever happened to them.

News from BLK

Berman Larson Kane was recently named as one of the Best Places to Work in New Jersey. The award program, created in 2005 is produced by NJBIZ and sponsored by Gibbons P.C., Sobel & Co., LLC, Staffing Alternatives and Novo Nordisk.

This survey and award program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in New Jersey, benefiting the state’s economy, its workforce and businesses. The Best Places to Work in New Jersey award program is made up of 50 companies split into two groups: 25 medium-sized companies (25-249 employees) and 25 large-sized companies (more than 250 employees). Berman Larson Kane has been named one of the Best Places to Work in New Jersey in the medium category.

To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

  • Have at least 25 employees in New Jersey;
  • Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business;
  • Be a publicly or privately held business;
  • Have a facility in New Jersey;

Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the 50 Best Places to Work in New Jersey. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process in New Jersey with assistance from Modern Think LLC, who analyzed the data and used their expertise to determine the final rankings.

Berman Larson Kane was recognized and honored at the Best Places to Work in New Jersey evening awards ceremony on Tuesday, April, 22, 2008, at the Hilton East Brunswick. Berman Larson Kane ranked at number 9 on the list of medium companies.

For more information on the Best Places to Work in New Jersey award program, please visit

Recruiter Night Out

On Tuesday evening, May 27th, MIS Network Associates (MNA), IT-Networking, the ETP Network, TENG, The Breakfast Club of NJ, Monmouth Networking, and Careers In Transition (CIT) will host a combined Recruiter Night Out dinner meeting for members, alumni, friends, and guests at The Holiday Inn in Totowa, NJ. The Recruiter Night Out will include a dialogue with a panel of four recruiters responding to pre-published questions and ad hoc inquiries from the dinner meeting attendees.

For information, please contact John Sampson by phone at 973-248-3251 or via email at Reservations can also be made by contacting Lizanne Fiorentino at