Getting a Job is a Job

Getting a Job is a Job
  • Posted By: Diganta Barua

One of the most frequent questions that senior established professionals face is “what next?” Getting a job out of the industry where you are in, even when you are a highly successful business executive ought not to be very difficult. But that is not always the case. Our chats with hundreds of senior corporate stars reveal something that is no secret. What makes successful people want out, even when the going is very good, at least from the outside? It is not boredom. It is seldom money or titles. It is deep engagement. And it ought to be just that. Continuously asked by accomplished professionals who sometimes find themselves at crossroads, this is a simple guideline to try and get a clear direction in driving their career forwards.


Increasingly, aligning what you enjoy doing on vacation with what you do on vocation is the delicate, but crucial balance that ambitious and accomplished talent seeks. For that, one really needs to introspect and also carefully and deeply scan the business and not just the job environment for opportunities. Let me illustrate it with the help of a very simply example. If you were a senior marketer in a large FMCG business, and knew that the job or category did not interest you further, but say cars did, here is what I would suggest. Talk to people in the automotive industry – that does not mean just talent acquisition heads. That really comes last. Talk to consumers, the trade, financiers, accessories makers, garage mechanics, and influencers and of course to people working in the automotive sector. Ask them – what is a day, nay a week, why a fortnight, in the life of an automobile executive like? What are the highs? The lows? Why did they succeed? And why did some fail? What appears from the outside may not actually be true always. It seldom is. Start following trade fairs, auto journals. It is best that you do this homework on your own, and not merely rely on third party references. And when you get a call from one of those companies you admire, your meeting will go like the breeze. Marketing guys gunning for a business role may be well advised to do sales – there is no substitute for knowing where the road meets the rubber.


Try and whittle down your choice of industry and role to around a manageable number of around five. And become almost an expert in that function or category or industry. Track what the leading edge companies in the world in those categories and sectors are doing. What are business schools and thinkers saying? Make an excel sheet with your target sectors and companies. Join relevant groups on Linked In and similar forums. Follow the companies and the leading lights in the industry. Today, social media forums allow you access a lot of insider stuff, even on softer aspects like culture – though this needs to be supplemented by your own first hand chats. Remember, as Peter Drucker said, culture eats everything else.


Fortified with this homework, your own confidence in pursuing the dream opportunity will climb. Recently, someone who was called for a position to head security in a global pharma major – a category he knew not much about, heeded our advice – he talked to hosts of chemists, doctors and medical representatives to get a grip on counterfeit drugs. When we last spoke, he was being met by the MD for the final interview, after clearing many rounds!


Some clients, those very fastidious about the talent they hire, ask prospective interested candidates to actually write a paper or make a presentation on a subject related to the business.


At the senior level as well. This helps them understand their conceptual clarity, originality, creativity, communication first hand – something not always easy to understand in a CV– especially that it is becoming well known that many executives use the help of professional resume writing services.


Diganta Barua has written this in the interest of professionals seeking further career success in a competitive world. He runs Credence Consulting, an independent executive search firm in Mumbai, which helps clients hire senior managerial talent. He can be reached at