When Larry Balogh relocated his family from Virginia to Indianapolis, it was at the request of his employer. He was confident it was the next step in his very successful sales career that had brought him to his current position as director of sales. Eight years later, in January 2014, corporate headquarters decided to close the Indianapolis division, and Larry was one of 150 employees who found themselves unemployed.
“I had no idea how to look for a job because I always had a job,” Larry said. “I was employed right out of college, and had been with the same company for several years.” He seemingly had all the right qualifications: a college degree, frontline and management experience, and documented success. But Larry discovered the Great Recession resulted in a competitive talent pool with seasoned employees like him competing for limited jobs.
Larry took part-time jobs when he could find them, and never relaxed his efforts to find permanent, full-time work. He joined networking groups and tried all of the usual strategies. “The problem with networking,” he said, “is that it can get depressing when you see the same people and hear the same things in every group. ‘There is a tremendous amount of talent in these rooms, and it’s all being wasted.’”
Employ Up and TechPoint were two of the best tools Larry used in his own job search, and both resources were free. Employ Up is Central Indiana’s resource for helping people like Larry get back into the workforce in a successful and rewarding career. TechPoint promotes and accelerates the growth of Indiana’s tech community, with attracting and developing a talented workforce being an integral part of that initiative.
At Employ Up, Larry was paired with Career Coach Wayne Williams, who encouraged him to attend the inaugural Career Prep class in summer 2015. Unique to Employ Up, Career Prep is a five-week program that provides tools to bolster self-confidence, organize the job search, and update job skills. It also helps participants market themselves to prospective employers through personal brand development, resume building and honing interviewing skills. Career Prep is the first step in the candidate’s individual pathway to re-employment.
“That was very helpful in a number of ways,” he remembers. “It was a great opportunity.”
Following Career Prep, Coach Williams referred Larry to TechPoint where he was one of 17 students accepted for TechPoint’s first-ever Sales Bootcamp this summer. The six-week Bootcamp experience included fundamental professional sales training, customer service training and enterprise sales training. Participants also attend special presentations by local subject matter experts on topics such as building a prospect database, defining a business process and growing revenue in a start-up. They also received hands-on, practical experience from on-the-job training at local tech companies, where the class worked side-by-side with company employees.
“That turned out to be all I hoped it would be,” Larry said.
Having a direct line to hiring managers made a huge difference in Larry’s final job-search. “Making an impression on hiring managers and other employees was a very positive opportunity,” Larry said. “It’s a much more effective way to get to the actual hiring manager.”
The six-week Bootcamp wasn’t perfect, Larry said, but for the first ever class, he added, “it was pretty close to perfect.” Of the initial 17-member class, all members were offered interview opportunities at local tech companies.
For Larry, Employ Up and TechPoint were an exceptionally effective one-two punch. He starts his new job in September at Angie’s List, one of the host companies for his Sales Bootcamp class.
Editor’s Note: At the time of publishing this story, 11 of the 17 Sales Bootcamp participants have secured full-time positions with area tech companies.