Victoria Sydorowicz - Controller

Victoria Sydorowicz - Controller

Client:  Victoria Sydorowicz was owner and CEO of a consulting company that provides financial analysis and enterprise growth services to small businesses.

Industry:  Insurance, Management Consulting, Business Consulting, Executive Coaching, Small Business Development, Entrepreneurship

 Accounting, Consulting, Coaching, Finance, Business Strategy, Analysis, Administration

  After six years of running her own business, Victoria wanted to return to salaried work, but she found the job market surprisingly competitive and wanted to get smarter about her approach. 

  After reflecting on what she wanted, which was different from what she initially thought she wanted, Victoria redirected her job search and then carefully tailored each job application to the opportunity.

Within three months, Victoria found exactly what she wanted in a controller position at a small, management consulting firm that needs her skills to grow the company, and where the prospects for advancement are promising.

Study:  Victoria Sydorowicz spent close to twenty years working at a national insurance company where she rose to the level of VP of finance. Despite excellent relationships there, Victoria began to feel unchallenged and unfulfilled in her role. She made a bold decision to step down and launch a consulting company. Victoria’s focus was coaching executives of small businesses and helping them improve growth and the fiscal health of their companies. Her timing was motivated also by a singular opportunity to help care for two young grandchildren. 

Victoria’s consulting work was largely part-time but valuable, as it exposed her to many different industries and enabled her to acquire a keen sense of the needs of growing small businesses. She enjoyed the change of pace after working the better part of her career at a big corporation. A few years later, after the little ones started school, Victoria wanted another challenge. She started job seeking. The difficult employment market she encountered, however, caught her by surprise.

“I thought it would be a good time to look for a job, but the number of resumes I was competing with was huge! I’d see a job pop up and within two days it would have 1400 applicants,” said Victoria. “I got very frustrated. My resume wasn’t getting in front of anyone. I suspect I was also running into age bias, too. After three to four months, I realized that I needed to get smarter about my job search.”

So, Victoria engaged The Barrett Group (TBG). She began with TBG’s Clarity Program and loved it, although she admits she was dismissive of it until she met her Clarity coach, Marsha Foster.

“I thought Clarity would be a waste of my time because I’m a coach myself. I just wanted to get on with the job search. But then I met Marsha, and it became very clear to me that I wasn’t at all conscious of what I wanted from my career!” said Victoria. “I had never really stopped to consider what might be a good match for me. I always just made a square peg fit into a round hole. Marsha did a really good job of teasing out of me what my ideal job is and helping me realize that I didn’t have to settle. That was a big, and refreshing, revelation to me! Thanks to Marsha, I went into the career consulting phase of the program with a really clear picture of what I wanted.”

What Victoria wanted turned out to be 100% different from what she had thought she wanted.

“I thought I wanted C-suite. But when I made a list of the things I wanted in my next position, it didn’t include title or money. What it did include was, first, an innovative, tech-forward company. That was very important to me. Second, a company that would see my value and to which I could add value. Third, I wanted a flexible schedule, because I have a lot of fulfilling activities outside of work that I’m not willing to give up. I wanted someone to trust me with that flexibility.” 

With this new outlook, Victoria began working with Executive Career Consultant Amanda Stockton. 

“It was awesome working with Amanda. We are very opposite. I move about 50,000 miles per hour and Amanda is soothing and calm, yet she is very validating.”

One of the first things Amanda asked Victoria to do was reconnect with people in her network.

“I was very disciplined about building my social capital. I made five calls per week diligently, but it was a tough path. The seeds I planted may come to fruition at some point, but they didn’t bear fruit for me immediately.”

What Victoria found to be much more effective, however, was rebranding herself.

“I thought the work we did on my resume was great. It was difficult because I had to think very differently about it. But The Barrett Group writing team was on it! They encouraged me to think about results and the metrics to prove the results,” said Victoria. “They said, ‘You have this accomplishment, but no specifics around it. What are the details?’ That was uncomfortable because it was hard to remember details.”

Victoria used the new data from her resume to revise her LinkedIn profile, then Amanda coached her to narrow her job search to opportunities that were the right fit.

“We didn’t make huge changes to my LinkedIn profile. What was different, though, is how I responded to job postings. I became very intentional about adjusting my resume for every application. I chose five specific positions and applied to them very carefully, incorporating keywords from the job post, or maybe shooting an email to someone who had a connection to the role. My previous blanket approach of applying to 100 jobs had produced zero results for me. So, this time I concentrated on quality over quantity. That was a big shift for me – and that is what finally got my resume noticed.”

In short order, Victoria obtained an interview with an insurance company. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well.

“I got a last-minute interview first thing in the morning. Amanda and I both rolled out of bed to talk it through. I give Amanda a lot of credit for that! But it was a disaster. I felt that the interviewer had set me up to fail with the questions he asked. I’d never applied for a job and not gotten it. That hit me hard. But Amanda told me to cut that experience loose because it was an anomaly. And, in case it ever happened again, we discussed how I should handle the situation. Amanda gave me really valuable advice and then was very clear about how to move forward.”

One upside is that the experience solidified for Victoria that she did not want to return to the insurance industry.

“I know the insurance industry well and it is very old school. The problem, though, was that I had spent 17 years there and it was tough to break away from it,” said Victoria. 

Within two weeks, however, a new, exciting opportunity arose. 

“A small consulting company had gotten my resume and invited me to interview the next day for a controller role. The company helps law firms leverage technology in a way that meets their unique needs. It is 25 years old and on the verge of significant growth. The company has outstripped the skills of the person who started in the position, and they wanted someone who could handle the controller responsibilities as well as take the company to the next level. There is even a possibility of my assuming the CFO position.” 

Victoria interviewed five times and received an offer within 10 days. 

“The hiring process was quick! Amanda was there to support me during all the interviews. We talked after each one about how it went and what to think about for the next interview. I really appreciated that she always made herself available to me.”

Victoria landed within three months of starting TBG’s program and is thrilled to have found a job she adores.

“I can’t even express how much I love my new position! I love the flexibility to work from home. I love that this company is on the cusp of tremendous growth. I love that the managing partner supports me and trusts me to make decisions,” said Victoria. “I really value the perspective The Barrett Group gave me about the job market and how to navigate the challenges. I don’t think anything could have been better about my experience.”

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