For alum Peter Alcide, these are the best of times and the worst of times. As Global President of Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH), one of the world’s premier talent management solutions companies, Alcide’s business is booming. The nature of that business is helping a record number of people find employment in, as Alcide puts it, “one of the most difficult job markets in our lifetimes.”
And the former Ernst & Young LLP White Plains, N.Y., office Audit Manager doesn’t see a quick end in sight. While Alcide believes we are beyond the “panic phase,” and he predicts that job losses will bottom out near year-end, Alcide doesn’t see any significant job growth until late 2010.
However, Alcide does see a few bright spots on the job horizon, and one of them involves the accounting profession. Over the past few months, the three industry sectors with the strongest job growth have been healthcare, leisure and hospitality, and accounting — particularly in the professional services arena. “It’s still a tough market, and it may take a few months longer than usual to make a successful transition,” says Alcide. “But accounting is one of those unique professions that opens up many career paths and is very transferable across a wide range of industries.”
LHH is on track to help over 200,000 people worldwide make successful career transitions this year. “Everybody desires to go to work and, at the end of the day, feel they’ve made a difference,” says Alcide. “I’m fortunate. I get to see that directly: we can watch the transformation in people from the day they come in our door to the day they leave us, usually with a new job. There aren’t a lot of positions like that, and it’s very humbling.”
Peter Alcide’s career transformation tips
- Stay positive. Too much negative news makes some people stop trying. Sure, the market is tough, but remember that more than 90% of people have jobs.
- Be open and flexible in terms of career path, industry and geography. Being too narrowly focused is most people’s biggest mistake.
- Network, network, network. Seventy-five percent of people got their current job through networking. Even today, who you know is as important as what you know.
- Go high-tech. In addition to traditional methods, you must be able to leverage online networking and social media related to your industry or occupation. More and more recruiters are finding candidates through social media networks.
- Protect your personal brand. Anything you do online is out there for life. Also, be careful to whom you give references and recommendations: if there’s a problem later, you may be forever linked to him or her.
- Stay current in your field. Take advantage of all development opportunities available to you.
- When seeking employment, your job is to find a job. Approach it with the same discipline you would any other job; work at it eight hours a day, set milestones and to-dos and follow a process.