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Unemployed Homebuilders Should Consider Their Options

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Unemployed Homebuilders Should Consider Their Options

Professional Builder columnist Rodney Hall has a list of suggestions for recently unemployed homebuilder employees – and it doesn’t include taking some time off.

By Rodney Hall September 30, 2007
This article first appeared in the PB October 2007 issue of Pro Builder.
Rodney's Tips for Securing Your Next Job

The stream of calls we receive from unemployed home building industry workers portend a weak employment market for the foreseeable future. Certainly, there are far more candidates than available jobs. So, what do you do if you are one of the about-to-be displaced workers?

Here are a few suggestions to consider:

Look at Similar Industries

For example, if your experience is in sales management, approach the top real-estate brokerage firms in your area about sales training or running a new-home sales division for smaller builders.

If your experience is in purchasing or construction management, the knowledge and efficiencies you learned in home building could be of substantial benefit to a less sophisticated general contractor or a commercial construction firm.

Case in point: I have a friend who owns a growing GC business that specializes in apartment renovations. The systems and processes he uses, although not unsophisticated, pale in comparison to what home builders use.

A talented home building professional could be an asset to someone like that short- and long-term.

Offer the "Warm Puppy" Close

The salespeople reading this will know that phrase. The idea: If you have puppies to sell, let buyers take them home to see if they want to keep them. Purpose: Once people get a chance to try something at home, they tend to keep it.

Use your availability to a similar advantage: offer to work on a short-term basis at a rate that is hard to refuse, so both sides can get better acquainted.

Odds are most companies can find a way to leverage your skills to their advantage for a week or so. No forward obligations or expectations.

For example, a talented — and unemployed — purchasing manager told me he was interviewing with a highly regarded apartment developer in his local market. The developer was considering a move into attached for-sale product and pondering the need to establish a stand-alone purchasing department. I suggested he offer them a week of his time to help them sort through their options, gratis. In the event they decided to move forward, he would have the inside track during the interview process. Worst-case scenario, it would keep him busy and mentally stimulated — and it beats sitting at home.

Support Something Bigger Than Yourself

Remember how you always wanted to volunteer for good causes but never had the time? Well, now you will. Consider investing one day a week working for a non-profit foundation or charity. If you don't have one, call your local HBA and see who it supports. This will probably not help you find a new position, but the rewards will come back in other ways. Do it while you can.

Have better ideas? Consider this an open invitation to share your job search experiences with others. Let me know what you are doing to weather the storm and I'll try to incorporate it into a future column. 

Job Search Tips for Homebuilder Employees  

Job Seeker Strategies  
Author Information
Rodney Hall is a senior partner with The Talon Group, a leading executive search firm specializing in the real-estate development and home building industries. He can be reached at rodney@thetalongroup.com.



Take your skills to similar industries.

Offer to do a test run with short-term work.

Volunteer to be a part of a project you always wanted to do but never had the time for.

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