Marketing transferable skills and networking highlight this revealing Landing Success Story
By Randall Andreola
“The light bulb went off for me at the [PSG-sponsored] Manville job fair,” reflects Eric Lathrop, now with Morgan Stanley. “I think I talked to everybody at every booth. I figured, if the opportunity is there to network face-to-face with so many good, respected, hiring companies at a single location in a relatively small amount of time, why not take advantage of it?”
Eric had had a successful career in the telecommunications industry since 1986, working for both large and small companies. “The industry had just gotten too small for me and many thousand others like me,” Eric holds, explaining how a decade of fierce price competition, coupled with innovations in technology, made necessary—and increasingly possible—a much smaller work force. Speaking that day with recruiters from several major financial investment firms, “It suddenly occurred to me that there might be an opportunity to leverage my Marketing and Sales skills in a new career direction to do something that has always interested me, Financial Planning,” Lathrop says.
First impressions apparently count big: “I showed up at the job fair dressed in a suit just as I would to a scheduled job interview and actually secured two interviews as a direct result of that first meeting,” states Eric. “I used those interviews to ask as many questions as possible about how the industry works. By the time I interviewed at Morgan Stanley I was asking really good questions. I eventually viewed the hours of required testing at each company as practice for the testing that ultimately led to the job.”
The networking didn’t stop once Eric got the interviews. He talked to others who had come from the same background as he did, who could “talk to me in terms I could understand and point me in the right direction,” Lathrop states. Taking into consideration the present general hiring climate, Eric knew he had to make assessments and move quickly.
Eric already possessed the foundational skills but had to learn a new product, which could be a daunting endeavor to attempt alone. “The company I finally chose was the one that offered me the best opportunity for success. They have a business plan I could work with that includes a comprehensive ‘get started’ training program, both online and in person, pays for certification, and gives me the chance to build my own business.”
Eric credits PSG with providing the job fair exposure, but also praises the organization for the support he received during and following his PSG Training Workshop week. “The training was remarkable,” he says. “I am still amazed at the quality of the material and the dedication of the presenters. Though I was given thousands of dollars worth of professional outplacement services upon separation from my last employer, the PSG workshop was much more than a ‘refresher.’ I took advantage of the resume reviews and especially the practical role-playing interviews.” Readers also considering a career change may be interested to note that Eric chose to utilize a composite resume leading with a Functional introduction highlighting his career, followed by a Chronological work history. Eric concludes, “The resume didn’t get me the job or even the interviews; but it was the qualifier. You never know where things will lead. You prepare for one opportunity and that opportunity prepares you for the next.” With his eyes open to new possibilities, Eric saw the light and was able to end his transitional period in less than six months.