By Bruce Lynch, Vice President of Publishing, PSMJ Resources Inc.
For over 30 years, PSMJ Resources, Inc. has offered publications, educational programs, in-house training and management consulting services to A/E/C professionals worldwide. PSMJ Resources conducts more than 200 educational seminars and conferences annually, supported by major professional societies, including AIA and ACEC. Headquartered in Newton, MA, PSMJ Resources provides more than 150 titles in book and audio, and publishes three newsletters about A/E/C firm management. PSMJ Resources also produces the industry’s preeminent annual surveys on management salaries, financial performance, fees and pricing, and benchmarks for the design firm CEO. On the web:http://www.psmj.com/
I have spent the last few weeks interviewing the PSMJ Circle of Excellence Class of 2009. Circle of Excellence firms ranked in the top 20 percent of firms participating in PSMJ’s Financial Performance Survey that achieve the best overall performance in 13 benchmarks that measure business operations in terms of profitability, growth, cash flow, overhead control, business development, project performance, and employee satisfaction.
Virtually every executive I have spoken with from this exclusive group of design firms has told me that they have used the economic downturn to improve the overall quality of their staff. Many super-talented people with very impressive resumes – as well as star students coming out of design schools – are available and obtainable for firms that have the muscle to make it happen.
Are you one of these people that’s going to add value to a firm that is prospering in the face of tough economic times? There are a number of factors that determine the answer. In general, firms that are looking to upgrade staff try to improve their overall position in specific geographic locations, in services offered, and in markets served. To upgrade at the management level, firms are looking to hire market and/or thought leaders. In upgrading staff, firms are looking for people with direct apples-to-apples experience with a specific market or service offering or that bring valuable knowledge on the latest technology.
Here are some examples: If you are a project manager and you are a super client champion in a specific geographic area, research firms that may be interested in expanding their services in your area. Sell yourself as someone who comes to the firm with a ready-made base of new clients. If you are a K-12 program manager, look for healthy firms that may want to expand into the K-12 market – your addition to the firm gives them the opportunity to hit the ground running. What if your expertise is in a market that is currently sluggish like residential construction? Sell your value-add expertise. Do you have relationships with zoning boards or permitting authorities? These are tangible benefits that can elevate the profile of a firm overnight.
For non-management design professionals, sell your direct experience with a specific market or service. If you design health care facilities, get letters of reference from health care professionals with whom you have worked directly. Having direct experience using Building Information Modeling (BIM) software like Revit is a huge selling point as more firms work on BIM-designed projects. If you have recently graduated from design school, sell your facility in new software applications and your ability to train up your peers in these applications.
It’s also helpful to have a relationship with a professional recruiter – even if you end up finding an exciting new job on your own, these people have the experience to serve as a sounding board and alert you to opportunities you didn’t know existed.
If you are good and you have the skills and experience that other firms see as an “upgrade”, you will always be impervious to the ups and downs of the economy.
All the best,
civil engineeering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion
July 22, 2009 at 4:00 am aepcentral
By Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search, Inc.
Managing Partner, A/E/P Central, LLC, home of CivilEngineeringCentral.com
Each month at CivilEngineeringCentral.com we have a Question of the Month. This question is posted on our home page and is included in each issue of “The LinkedIngineer” as well as our monthly e-newsletter which is sent out to nearly 10,000 members of the civil engineering community (If you would like to sign up for our monthly e-newsletter please click HERE…sorry, couldn’t pass up that free plug). It’s been a while since we have posted the results, so in light of that (plus the fact that I have struggled to come up with anything else), check out the results below. If you see any surprising results in there or feel the urge to comment about any of the topics please feel free to do so.
DID YOU SEE AN INCREASE IN PROJECTS IN YOUR COMPANY DURING THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2009?
Just yesterday I was speaking with a colleague of mine who commented on a report he had just watched on MSNBC. They were discussing the question “where did all the stimulus go?” Most of it of course is going to construction; all those projects that we have come to love and know as…shovel ready. What seemed like a lot of money initially, when spread out over the entire United States, seems to be spread pretty thin.
HAS YOUR FIRM CUT IT’S BENEFITS PACKAGE AS A RESULT OF THE CURRENT ECONOMIC CLIMATE?
It’s expensive out there folks. Our health insurance has gone up 50% over the past four or five years…everyone is feeling the pinch here.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT SEARCHING FOR A JOB?
25.0% Not Knowing Where To Start
17.9% Updating My Resume
14.3% Nailing The Interview
The way I see it, assuming you are a talented engineer, if you are able to effectively network throughout the course of your career, that, in-and-of-itself, takes care of the the remaining three obstacles. You see, if you are a great networker, you easily know where to start, and because you have networked so well and know so many people very well, there is no need to update your resume because they have seen you in action and your stellar reputation precedes you. Your noticeable performance within your industry over the course of your career has coincidentally been an ongoing interview. All that being said, a hand shake over a cocktail, beer, sparkling water or other beverage of your choice should be all that is needed to nail down your next job. A little tongue in cheek maybe, but there is some validity to my theory.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU VOLUNTEER IN YOUR COMMUNITY?
50.0% 8 or more times per year
23.1% Not at all
15.4% 1-3 times per year
11.5% 4-7 times per year
One half of our respondents give back to the community 8 or more time per year…that is AWESOME!
HAVE YOU EVER MISLED OR EMBELLISHED EXPERIENCES ON YOUR RESUME?
One should always be truthful on their resume, that goes without saying. But sometimes resumes can be misleading as different titles mean different things to different companies and different people.
WHAT CONCEPT WILL MAKE THE GREATEST IMPACT ON SOLVING OUR ENERGY CRISIS?
40.0% Nuclear Energy
23.3% Wind Energy
20.0% Solar Energy
3.3% U.S. Oil Digging
I think our economy will need to stabilize and re-establish itself for a while before we begin to see any of these technologies really begin to flourish.
DOES YOUR MANAGER ALLOW FOR YOU TO WORK A 4/40 OR 9/80 WORK WEEK?
I think the civil engineering industry, prior to “The Great Recession,” had actually come accustomed to the 6/60 work week – that is Monday-Saturday/60 hours week!
WHICH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WILL YOU VOTE FOR ON NOVEMBER 4th?
49.4% Barack O’Bama
42.9% John McCain
0.6% Ralph Nader
Not bad, not bad. The final results in total votes for the Presidential election in November was Obama 53% / McCain 46%. Our participants were nearly dead on here…sorry I can’t say the same for the Question of the Month which we ran in August 2008; see below!
WITH HIGH GAS PRICES, HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR COMMUTING HABITS BY OPTING FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION?
This poll was posted at the time when gas prices were averaging $3.74/gallon. We have come a long way over the years in mass transit, but you know what? People love their cars and it would take a lot more than higher gas prices for them to drop their keys and take to mass transit.
WHEN DO YOU BELIEVE THE LAND DEVELOPMENT MARKET WILL BEGIN TO PICK UP?
30.6% 2nd Quarter of 2009
26.5% 2010 or Beyond
14.3% 3rd Quarter 2009
12.2% 4th Quarter 2008
10.2% 4th Quarter 2009
6.1% 1st Quarter 2009
As of today, just about 50% of our survey responders are wrong and there are another 26.5% who will likely end up on the wrong side of the fence as well by the end of this year. Seems to be an ol’ case of “if I only knew then what I know now.”
I would like to thank you all for answering our Questions of the Month and look forward to your continued participation.
Got Comments? Got Questions? Got Insight? Got Speculation? Got Inside Information? Let us know, we would love to hear from you on any of the subjects of our recent polls.
civil engineering jobs :: civil engineering resumes :: civil engineering blog :: civil engineering discussion
June 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm aepcentral