A Different Spin On Help Wanted Ads: Helping Yourself

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Your credit union is likely accustomed to advertising for help, but what about you? If you were interested in a CEO's job or, if you're already a CEO and are interested in managing a larger operation, would you consider advertising yourself?

Jeff York has been doing just that. York, the VP-strategic planning and marketing at VISTA FCU and president of the Orlando-based CU's CUSO, has been advertising in The Credit Union Journal's Career Zone page that he is looking for, basically, another job. There, on the same pages where credit unions are seeking CEOs, VPs and IT professionals, York has been running an ad headlined, "Wanted: Credit Union Executive Position."

Depending on the culture of your organization, some of you may have already concluded that running such an ad is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as you would be fired for doing such a thing. Not so for York, who remains employed at VISTA Federal, which serves employees, sorry, cast members, of Disney.

The ad has brought a lot of feedback, York said. "I've gotten a lot of calls from CEOs saying 'What a great idea, I've never seen that before,'" he said. More importantly, some of the phone calls have led to new "options," he reported.

Putting all this in motion was a management reorganization at VISTA. York had been directly reporting to the CEO, now he reports to someone who reports to the CEO. "Probably no one else with the credit union would agree with me, because my position has not changed, it's just my opinion it doesn't help to move back one notch," he said. "My goal is to be a CEO, and I need to make the move when I can."

York said he did not clear the ad with VISTA prior to placing it, although he did check with an attorney, who gave him the go-ahead. He said no one with the credit union has discussed the ad with him. "I think that I would be leaving was obvious before the ad ran," he said, noting he has not conducted any job search-related business on credit union time. The ad directs potential suitors to call his home phone or to contact his personal e-mail account.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with it," York shared. "It' not like I'm not doing my job. There's no conflict of interest. I do my work when I'm at work. I just felt this was the best time to look around. If you go through a recruiter or a job search, it's one job at a time. I felt I needed to go to a national publication. I didn't just want to look at the positions that are open, I also wanted to know the potential that is out there. I felt it would help my career path."

York has been in credit unions for 18 years, first earning accolades for award-winning marketing work (he's won more than 60 awards in various competitions). He began his career in California, working four-and-a-half years with Alliance Credit Union, and two-and-half-years with Pacific Services Credit Union. From there he joined VISTA, spending six years at its offices in Southern California before following the company east to Orlando, where he has spent another six years. A regular conference speaker and author, York's ad notes his skills include strategic planning, operations, marketing and communications, business development, call centers, quality service, and the CUSO (Vista Financial Services offers financial planning and insurance, among other products). And he said he brings more than just that to a job.

"I bring leadership," he said. "Vision is the key for a credit union to be successful. Too often credit unions focus on operations. But you can hire people to do that. It's leadership that makes you successful. I think the difference between me and someone else is that I'm well-rounded."

But what about all those someone elses reading this and wishing they had the guts to do the same thing and advertise their own accomplishments and desires to move on up? York asks, what are you waiting for?

"If you want to market yourself, this is the way to do it, especially in a tight market," he suggested. "I think we don't market ourselves enough. If you don't have much in your tool bag then there's not much you can do. But I do."

Frank J. Diekmann is editor of The Credit Union Journal. He can be reached at P.O. Box 4387, West Palm Beach, FL 33402, or at fdiekmann cujournal.com.

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