Does your resume say, "I can handle a financial crisis?" If not, you may want to get cracking, and insert that skill and fast.
It's time-right now-to update your resume, and detail all the things you have done to weather previous downturns. That's the humble opinion of San Francisco-based career coach and jobs transition specialist Don Asher, author of several books including, Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn't, and Why.
Asher believes a double-dip recession is definitely en route in the United States, and that economic volatility will surely continue for the next two-to- four years.
"I follow these trends closely in figuring out how to place executives," Asher told eFinancialCareers. "What's happening in this country is not only the result of American politics or the S&P downgrade of U.S. debt, but those factors combined with the fact that investors overestimated global economic growth, particularly in Europe and Asia."
Asher has coached young executives at Goldman Sachs and whose specialty is one-on-one coaching to C-suite executives in transition.
The consolidation of major banks during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 had already made some investment banking and trading and back office positions redundant, according to one financial advisor.
"Financial jobs are going to be tough for a long time if you're not a producer with your own book," who doesn't rely on a salaried position, Joel Larsen of Navion Financial Advisors in Davis, California told eFinancialCareers.
Banks have announced some 60,000 layoffs since the first of the year "and they're not done yet," says Larsen.
Show your resilience
So, what's a financial professional to do? Illustrate their resilience, for one thing.
"You can never go wrong with the saying, "Don't confuse a bull market for brains,'" Asher muses.
"Its easy to be a cheerleader for investments going up," says the career coach. This is true in sales as well as trading, for the buyside and the sellside, he emphasizes.
At time like this, bankers need to showcase their ability to weather market storms with suitable strategies.
The more valuable bank executive is someone who has independently figured out what to do when values are trending down. For instance:
A very good thing to post high up on your resume, if it's valid, is that you have "Developed a hedging strategy against market runups and downturns"-or against currency manipulation. The simple phrase, "Developed a hedging strategy" will only get you passing consideration in this market, says Asher.
It's important not to bury the lead, so to speak: Your resume can have a two or three-line summary at the very top, immediately followed by another short couple of sentences titled "Select accomplishments." Here is where you can put your hedging or other downmarket talents so they're visible right away. Your career experience should go underneath.
Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio of career coaching firm SixFigureStart often makes that recommendation, and it's a good one.
Opportunities for older executives
Asher also believes that economic conditions right now will favor bank executives who are a little older and wiser. "There might be better opportunities now for the [Baby] Boomer," he says, observing that one in three of today's workers nationwide are 50 years of age or older.
"There is such a thing as wisdom," says Asher. "A kind of unflappableness that comes from riding the curve up and down over a long period of time.
Does that mean banks will think twice before "rightsizing" someone who's a little older and wiser? Asher believes managers will think twice about it, in this environment, and that hiring decisions will also take the value of age experience into account.
The moral of that story: If you've got it, flaunt it.
Let recruiters and interviewers know you've seen this sort of thing before and can not only take it in stride, but manage the crisis with ease.