The construction industry is one of the hardest hit in this down economy.  From the top to the bottom, from executive to business development and sales to project management, you may find that you have to dust off your resume to look for new opportunities. 

Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

An article by Joann Lubin in the Wall Street Journal yesterday highlighted a networking pro, George Landis, who had to learn some new tricks as his executive job ended last November.  Landis was described as a "deft conventional networker" who once relied on the traditional handshake.  Times are changing … and Landis realized it.  He agreed to learn networking in the 21st century. Here are the top tips from his informal advisors, as well as a few of my comments:

  • Develop a stronger online identity by revamping your resume.  For Landis, this meant changing his work summary from "a seasoned executive" to "I make sick companies significantly better for owners and employees."  From my perspective, it is also good to create an electronic version of your resume that contains hyperlinks to your work experience, notable projects, published articles and speaking gigs. (Here is an example of my electronic resume.)
  • Make better use of LinkedIn, a professional networking website.  For Landis, this meant reviving his inactive LinkedIn account.  You may already have hundreds of contacts in your old, dingy address book.  Now’s a good time to search those contacts for their online presence.
  • Create a more visible personal brand.  For Landis, this meant finding a new way to position himself as a thought leader in business management.  For the construction player, this means finding opportunities to speak and write.  There are local associations like AGC of Middle Tennessee that enjoy new faces at their lunches. You are also bound to find a local educational institution like MTSU that has a concrete management program that always needs guest lecturers. 
  • Get a bigger payoff from industry events.  For Landis, this meant joining the Turnaround Management Association and offering to assist in program development.  When you participate in the event organization, your start to become known as a good helper and volunteer.  Your name recognition and reputation builds.

At the executive and business development level, some of these tips may be easier to do than at the project management level.  But I think it comes back to identifying your passion and making that your job.  Former-construction-attorney-turned-marketing-coach Cordell Parvin shares 5 Keys to Success and Fulfillment and the second one is about finding your major definite purpose.  Perhaps your current circumstances allow you to look for new opportunities. And remember, you may be like Landis in your archaic networking ways, but even a pro can learn new tricks.