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How a Layoff Led to His Dream Job

WHEN YOU LOST YOUR JOB IN OCTOBER 2008, COMPETITION IN BANKING MUST HAVE BEEN FIERCE. True. And with unemployment, misery doesn't love company. In a pile of resumes, it's all too easy to be overlooked for a job you're ideally qualified for.

HOW DID YOU SEEK AN EDGE? Professional networking is extremely important. I made contact with people I knew in corporate banking 15 years ago. I made contacts through LinkedIn. That was very important.

BUT NOTHING HAPPENED FOR MONTHS? There was a wholesale reduction of banking jobs. I started by contacting international banks, where I got the standard "We're not hiring" reply. After six months, I became a lot more flexible and began looking at jobs at half my previous salary.

HOW DID YOU FINALLY LAND A JOB? I'd been in relationship management for 15 years but had some background in credit risk. So to double my chances, I did a resume for each. Someone with whom I had worked at Lloyds referred me to the hiring manager at CIT Group about a credit-risk job. I had actually applied for the job online, but it was the referral that made the difference. I started there in June.

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CIT? THE LENDING COMPANY THAT RECENTLY FILED FOR BANKRUPTCY? Right, though it wasn't in such bad shape then. Working for CIT was actually wonderful.

SO WHY DID YOU LEAVE? I'd taken a 35% pay cut to work there, and the company's problems were growing worse, so I kept on looking. A former client of mine at JPMorgan Chase referred me to the hiring manager at HSBC Bank, where I started September 30. It's my ideal job: I'm responsible for global relationships with large custodian banks.

HOW DO YOU THINK THE FINANCIAL SECTOR IS DOING? We're in recovery mode, but I think it's going to be a slow recovery.

HOW HAVE YOUR PERSONAL FINANCES CHANGED? My wife and I are much more careful about spending and about keeping a cushion of money in reserve. For example, our kitchen needs to be redone, but we're holding off on that.

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