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Leading Experts Offer Career Advice to Students and Alumni

October 23, 2009
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Career Strategies Panel

  Panel members (L to R): Michael Sivori,
  Elizabeth Hicks, and Guy Cote

In today’s economy, effective strategies for finding new employment and progressing in current positions are more essential than ever.  On October 22, a panel, hosted by the School’s Johnson A. Edosomwan Leadership Institute and Ziff Graduate Career Services Center, addressed MBA students and alumni on the topic of “Career Strategies for Uncertain Economic Times.”  The panel consisted of Guy Cote, partner-in-charge of top-level recruiting consultant Heidrick & Struggles, Elizabeth Hicks, senior client partner at executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International, and Michael Sivori, market director at staffing services provider Kforce.

The panel members fielded questions on issues ranging from career specialization vs. diversification to finding ways to gain more work experience and how to better in job interviews. They explained that while each job has certain requirements in terms of talent and experience, there are ways for job applicants to make themselves more noticeable and valuable to firms compared to applicants with similar qualifications.

According to the panel, while it is important to be versed in a wide variety of jobs and skills, people should focus on specializing in one particular area.  The panel encouraged those in the audience to take skills they have mastered in one area and apply them to a completely new industry.  The experts said that by doing so, professionals gain invaluable career experience that will place them in a more competitive position for new jobs in the future.

“It is important to have a wide breadth and depth of talent and experience,” said Hicks.  “Consider jobs you wouldn’t normally [to attain] experience in a wide variety of industries and functions.”

In terms of actively seeking a particular job, the panel explained that companies are completely revolutionizing recruiting strategies.

“Companies are using this economy to change the game,” said Cote, who added that social networking, among other new recruitment strategies, is becoming a more significant resource to companies.

Sivori said that while new methods such as social networking and e-commerce are thriving and it is important to take advantage of these resources, they will never fully replace traditional networking, which Sivori said is still the best way to land a new job.  He also encouraged employees to take leadership roles in their professions so that they stand out to their superiors as well as potential future employers.  Hicks agreed, noting that one should “look at each job not as a permanent job, but an opportunity to acquire skills and experience.”

The panelists expressed optimism that what is currently a bleak job market will soon turn.  They noted that with the right mindset and talents, new and rewarding career opportunities can be found even in today’s troubled economy.

“Think outside the box and move ahead of traditional thinkers to make yourself valuable and unique,” said Sivori.  “Remember that your passion and dedication to what you’re doing is as important as talent and, finally, [remember that] the more diversification you have and the more experience you have, the more valuable you will be.”

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