Coronavirus - Making The Most Of This Opportunity To Change Career

By Tony Restell

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I recently had the opportunity to interview Billy Clark and Clayton Apgar of BCCM. They kindly agreed to share their experiences on thinking through making the right career move for you, something that increasing numbers of people are having to think about as career transitions are being forced upon more and more of the working population.

Their ideas will be really helpful, especially the concept of "casting" yourself for your ideal roles. Enjoy - and hope this helps in your next career switch.
Billy Clark interview

Watch the full interview

Here's the full video, a transcript of which follows underneath


Interview Transcript

Hi, everyone and thanks for tuning in for today's video. Really excited to help lots of candidates with today's call. Delighted to be joined by Clayton Apgar and Billy Clark - and they're going to be helping you think about how to make the right career move and how to position yourself to successfully make that move.

So guys, thank you ever so much for your time today. Could I ask one of you just to give us a very quick intro into the company so people understand what it is you do?


Great. Thank you, Tony. So BCCM is based in New York, with an office in Los Angeles. We work specifically kind of in the design and creative arena. So architectural design, hotel brands, fashion groups, any kind of design-related company that's creative forward and looking for talent either from the junior level, all the way through to the C-suite.

We work with searches globally and it has been an interesting last few months. And we're excited to help candidates position themselves in this sort of new market, because there definitely is opportunity to make some interesting career transitions and pivots.


Excellent. Thank you. I know one of the things you're passionate about is people really thinking about their professional identity and connecting the dots about what's going to make sense for them in their next... career move. Do you want to start off with one of you talking about that?


Sure, so when we first meet with talent, the initial step is often to take a step back from the Resume. And a candidate's most recent experience, because it is very easy for us to get caught up in the linear trajectory of career and without realizing it, box ourselves in, in terms of thinking about what we're interested in, what we're passionate about, what we're good at, how broad that landscape looks.

Or perhaps it looks, perhaps it has a different focus than we had had up until that point. So with a candidate, we start to explore what we call professional identity, and it very much is an examination of those attributes and interests.

We always like attributes more than more than skills because it broadens the definition of those elements of ourselves that we might not consider professionally valuable, but in fact, are directly correlative with what we might do.

Whether it's in the industry in which we worked or some tangential industry, or a wholesale pivot.

So, in terms of that initial examination, it's a deep dive into that person's professional package. Then we piece together as identity.


Okay, fantastic, and you're big believers in inventory as well I think, so figuring out what assets, what strengths, what people have under the hood, so to speak. Would you like to say a few words on that?


I think it's important, particularly once you've identified some of the higher-level items - to Clayton's point, really performing a deeper dive into what we actually bring to the table.

And those can be qualitative skills, quantitative skills, those attributes, that again, how can those be packaged for use in the next role?

We found that oftentimes, talent neglects to think about their career transition as an opportunity for a move forward.

Then they find, we find that their collateral oftentimes reads much more retrospective versus marketing oriented and really, catapulting to the next level.

So how do you describe, outline the things that you've achieved the accomplishments and make those applicable to the next role post pivot, whether it's in the same industry or in a different industry, and being really smart about that presentation, so that it reads and the audience can pick up on all various nuances.

But also again, they understand how your experience to date can be marketed and taken and really grown in the next opportunity.

Case in point, Tony. When I joined Billy, I came from the design side and as an interior designer, I started an inventory while I was still working within interior design.

Those aspects of my previous role that I loved and those that I just didn't need to do, and I thought others were probably better at anyway. And, what I realized was I particularly loved the project of team building, of organization, about managing, building and managing a process.

So, when I first met Billy and came to him with the idea of joining up to help him grow BCCM, I could have presented myself as a designer, and there wouldn't have been as much currency in my presentation with that type of profile.

But instead, I chose to emphasize those aspects of my role as a designer that included project and team management, that included a bigger picture and strategic thinking.

And, that's what led us to a deeper conversation that ultimately led me to join BCCM and the partnership we have today.

And again it was, at first, the way Clayton packaged the material, I didn't see him as a designer. Rather, I saw him as an entrepreneur, someone who had struck it on their own, in a previous iteration and that applied to me when I was opening an office in California.

Well, I need someone out here, that can really make this happen on a regular basis and can truly forge a new direction, and a new path and his previous experience, albeit in the apparel industry, was totally appropriate and applicable.

And that's actually that kind of level of creativity and that level of strategy, is actually what I found most appealing in onboarding someone for that role, and it's been almost five years, so it's obviously worked out well.


Fantastic. And that, I think leads us nicely onto the last thing that you were hoping to talk about, I think, which is picking the right company to join and figuring out what is right for you. Who'd like to talk about that?


Yeah, I will sort of take that start. I think we used the word vibe, the vibe and the culture... and the energy has to match.

Whether that's the projects that you're going to be working on, the people with whom you're engaged, the location of the office, the energy around, going to work needs to really be right. And that cultural fit is something that can't be ignored, particularly for long term success, for growth... development... And that's something that again, there is no right or wrong way, how to feel it or how to assess.

But it's more just understanding are my new colleagues people with whom I want to spend eight-plus hours a day?

Do we want to sit next to each other at the pub or the bar after work for a cocktail?

Are they someone I would sit next to on a four hour plane ride to the other side of the country?

So those are things that began beyond the skillset and the tactable functionality of a role.

How do you feel connected to the company, to the organization? Do they share a similar mission? Similar values? And again, can you move that forward?

And how will they partner with you on moving forward for your career and the contributions you can make to the organization as a whole? And one of the ways we think about that with candidates is encouraging them to cast themselves - thinking about it in terms of casting, just as actors are cast in certain roles.

Not every amazingly talented actor is right for every role. And in this case, candidates have the opportunity to self-cast in identifying companies or brands that they're most attracted to, for the reasons that Billy mentioned, and it could be a really powerful tool to orient our perspective around the corporate culture day to day, bigger picture, whatever aspects of your professional life and your relationship to your employer are most important to you, and that is essentially the right movie in which you want to be cast. What's your name in lights?


Excellent advice. Well, listen, it's been really helpful today these pointers, so thanks so much for taking the time to do this. I wonder if you'd like to just share with people how best they can get in touch with you. Do you want to share a web address, an email address, a phone number? Anything like that?


Our website is billyclarkcm.com ; the best email address is [email protected]

And again, we work domestically here in the US between New York and LA. Projects in the UK obviously, we would like the opportunity to speak with anyone that's interested.

It's definitely a good opportunity and the time, to be reassessing and reevaluating what could be next professionally.


Fantastic. Well, thank you both for your time. Have a great rest of the week and I really appreciate it. Thank you so much. Bye for now.

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