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John Moskonas is president of ARExecutiveSearch, a search firm dedicated to accounting, finance, and audit search services for the insurance industry, helping clients identify executive talent for

critical needs. John has over 20 years in the search business with the last 17 years heading up his own firm. He has helped countless finance executives through the thought process of making their

next career move. John can be reached by email at

or by phone at (646) 688-2985 or through his website at




Q2 2017


ometimes we get two competing

offers: one from an industry in which

we have expertise; and another from

a new industry in which, rather than

experience, we have a transferable skill. The

question becomes, should I take the offer

from a new industry or do I take the one

from the industry I know?

There are benefits to both, but I often

walk someone through the thought process

regarding accepting an offer from another


Generalist or Specialist

I once wrote about positioning yourself

as a generalist versus a


when looking for a job. Specialists know

what they are good at doing and look to

uncover those situations where they can

apply what they know to a role. A specialist

has a general reputation for getting a job

done. A specialist also usually has an internal

industry reputation.

The conclusion: It’s better to position

yourself as a specialist when looking for a

job because you’ll set yourself apart from the

competitive landscape and you’ll hear about

more opportunities than you would if you

were positioning yourself as a generalist who

could do any job.

And this focus on being a specialist applies

not only to a functional skill set but also

to an industry. An internal industry

reputation is the sum of

accomplishments and


touch points

you have

with all


players in that industry. You are usually

active in that industry, you are usually well

networked with your peers, and you have

positioned yourself as a subject matter expert

(SME) in your field. You don’t just have

a job; you have a strong internal industry


This industry focus gives you a powerful

foundation from which you’ll hear about

relevant roles, from which you can be

impactful in a company, and from which your

speed of accomplishments isn’t held up by

any learning curve.

Is it possible to build an internal industry

reputation in another industry in a

reasonable amount of time? Yes, of course,

but at the end of the day, assuming your

industry isn’t going downhill quickly, the

expertise you’ve derived from going deep

into an industry and that you bring to the

table gives you an invaluable perspective

that others don’t have. It sets you apart, it

positions you as an SME.

Sometimes, of course, we don’t have the

luxury of two competing offers and the

situation dictates the decision. So, where

we have an offer from a different industry,

we take it. Taking an offer from a different

industry, of course, isn’t necessarily a bad

thing because you can minimize your risk

down the road by having a new industry

under your belt.

Bottom line: Going deep into an industry

is a smart way to go.


Expertise Has Value

Building an internal industry reputation helps in a job change



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