jump to navigation

Job Search, Part 2 May 30, 2009

Posted by Tim Rodgers in job search.
Tags: , ,

About a month ago I had a great meeting with a person who works for a medium-sized company in town. This person used to be with one of my former employers and left a few years ago to join their current firm, and I managed to get an introduction through a mutual contact. I was very interested to learn more about their transition, and specifically how they were able to jump into a completely different industry without previous experience in that industry. I’ve been trying to leverage my general engineering management skills into the same industry, but, just like this person, without previous experience. I was hoping to hear that it can still happen, that there are companies out there who value underlying skills, understanding that it’s possible to learn what you need to succeed in a new industry. See my previous post “Job search paradox” from May 17.

The advice I got from this person was surprising, and I’ve been trying to make sense of it ever since. They told me that it was extremely unlikely that their current firm would be interested in someone like me, someone without industry experience. Instead, this person suggested that I try to find a company that looks today like the company they joined a few years ago, in other words, a smaller, less mature company, possibly even an early-stage start-up.

I didn’t want to argue with someone who generously gave me an hour of their time, but that doesn’t seem right to me.

A younger, early-stage company needs people with domain expertise and industry experience. They literally can’t afford to let people learn on the job.

As a company matures and grows, jobs become more differentiated and other skills are more valued. These companies should already have plenty of people who understand the industry or core technology. Hiring at this stage can focus on filling gaps with specialists, and bringing in people with a track record of success in different industries who can help them push to a higher level of performance. That’s the kind of opportunity I’m looking for.



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: