Tuesday, November 02, 2010

More on Job Hunting in the Recession

We are in a recession, and no calling it just a credit crunch or liquidity speed bump will make that economic fact go away. Growth is just about to be dealt a huge blow in the EU, with Great Britain in particular slashing public budgets, and with the anticipated atvist-republican swing in both congress and the US senate.

So now you are really up against the wall as a recent graduate of the 2009-10 MSc Marketing at strathclyde, while if you are underway on the 10-11 course then at least you have some time to gather your forces for the post graduation struggle to get on the career ladder.

Enough dwelling on the negative, companies need marketing: so how to get some action job hunting in a recession

1) Find sectors which are growing

2) Find "Gazelle" and "Mini/ Baby Gazelle " companies

3) Follow Entrepreneurs in New Industries

4) Follow any "chicken runs"

In detail

1) Find sectors which are growing

Some sectors are growing faster than the average economy, either in spite of the recession or actually because of the recession. For the former, you can see that environmental products and indeed services such as ISO 14000 or home-energy certifisication are areas with growth. Certain biotech areas, within proteomics for example, are growing strongly. And of course internet marketing is growing having both surpassed traditional "above the line" spend on advertising while also displacing many budgets and even entire companies to this channel. Social media and related monitoring is also growing, as will internet services such as web page call centres, where you get to skype a human or set up a call-me now.

One thing companies in these sectors have is a pile of clever, well qualified candidates who have not only come across them but can demonstrate a real involvement in their market.

Getting more granular then you can not only find sectors, but also individual high growth companiesor high potential start ups. viz

2) Find Gazelle Companies

Gazelles and baby gazelles, are young companies which outperform indexes to a set of economic parameters currently defined by Dun and Bradsteet. Many gazelles are of course in the growth sectors of the economies, or within niches of growth, while others are purely bucking the trend and capturing market share in otherwise languishing sectors.

"Mini" or "Baby" gazelles are those which are small now but could become a gazelle, or conform to high growth but on a smaller scale.

Whether small or larger, these are companies with the most hiring requirement, especially relative to the average well established company in a recession, who are likely to be dropping head-count.

3) Tracking Entrepreneurs As Individuals. Gazelle companies are often started by experienced entrepreneurs, and they are the type to see opportunities during a recession, or those actually CAUSED by the down turn.

This may just be a casual internet tracking, and you discover they have set up something new. Alternatively it may be that they are US based (in particular) and wanting to expand into the EU. On a local scale, say for the West of Scotland, you may want to actually contact some successful entrepreneurs who are marketing oriented. Certainly you should track these people.

Areas which are actually growth opportunities presented by a recession are things like anything which is cheaper on the high street or internet, especially for families, and rented accomodation. Maybe an entrepreneur is starting a new web mediated flat rental company or servicing rented appartments.

A slight extention to this route would be to track successful Venture Capital firms, higher risk investment hot shops or new business incubators to find out who is going to expand, or if they are looking for (cheap) staff.

4) Chicken Runs: Ambulance Chasing. This often afflicts marketing services companies when a group of employees, en masse, get up and leave to either start their own company or follow the leader to a different work place. Also some companies show dire signs of financial death in any sector. There can be an obvious chicken run as middle managers with good CVs move on like rats leaving the maybe sinking ship. Okay, they may go bust but you have a rung on the ladder and a good excuse to call recruitment consultants.

Read about new agencies, new internet developers/marketing companies- where have the people just come from? Or look for news on companies with large marketing departments who are facing very tough times. Usually it is mid management who go first, but most often the public symptom is seeking a new marketing director, as he/she has boo-gerred off before the fertiliser is inducted into the air conditioning..


From the above you will see a common thread: "nimble" companies and people. Even in the last option, the quick brown fox has leapt out of the company leaving space for you.

On the last throw away point, you will be "cheap" most likely in order to get a foot in the door at a high growth company. Once in, don't under sell yourself: if you are asked to take on extra responsibility, then it should come with promotion: if you are asked to work extra hours, then it should come with a pay rise. When I say cheap, not much over minimum wage and maybe a months work practice. If on the other hand, the actually have a solid position then don't offer to sell yourself cheap: just let them stipulate the pay and don't complain if it is going to be valuable experience.

Also as I have said often before, MOVE for the right career step. It need not be London, but even then you may get cheap board with a fellow employee or a relocations package if you are lucky. It is really about finding a growing company which

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