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The Career You Start Could Save Your Own

Here in the Executive Careers section of CNBC’s blog network, we try to comment on the issues most affecting the careers of C-level execs, and those junior execs who support them.

Most of the “career talk” these days centers on layoffs, the widespread reductions in force that have occurred (and continue to occur) across a broad swath of American industries.

Just last Friday, the official U.S. jobless rate popped to 7.2%, and we got news that job loss in 2008 was the highest since 1945. Yikes. Just as no industry seems immune—Alcoa , Boeing , Walgreen and Macy’s announced layoffs last week—no geographical region is either. And no age group seems immune. Boomers are being encouraged to take “packages”—or worse—while Gen X-ers and older Millennials are being shown the door in large numbers.

In all likelihood, if you’re an exec and actively employed, you have been and will be intimately involved in decisions about who should stay and who should go, how many, and when. Since most of our 21st century businesses rely heavily on Human Capital, these decisions will inevitably affect your company’s performance and more personally: your career. And any day now, you’re going to have to make some more important decisions about your workforce and the future.

Entry Level Angst

In five short months, the largest class of American college students in history will graduate. Yet Michigan State University’s well regarded Recruiting Trends Survey suggests that hiring on campus may decrease 10% this spring. On the surface, this seems reasonable given what’s going on in the economy; however I would suggest that campus is a terrific place to swipe market share from your competition.

My Vault.com colleagues, veteran staffing experts John Flato and Vicki Lynn, offer five good reasons for smart execs to help their companies and their careers by paying close attention to the campus recruiting opportunity in the weeks ahead in a blog first published last week on ERE.net.

The timing couldn’t be better. By late February, many of you will have participated in one (and possibly more) round of layoffs and to achieve mandated targets, you may well have cut too far.

If you can shore up by maintaining a robust campus presence this spring it will be cost-efficient, since entry-level hires will make less in salary than the employees you just laid off. After all, as John and Vicki point out, your campus hires are the training candidates for future leadership roles and when the economy makes its inevitable comeback you’ll need help to start firing the growth engine again. Whether you agree or not, think hard about your Human Capital strategy. It is the most important resource you have.

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Erik Sorenson is chief executive officer of Vault.com, Inc. Mr. Sorenson, 52, oversees the strategic direction of the global, New York-based media company. He is widely regarded as an expert on media strategy and industry trends, with experience spanning radio, local and network broadcast television, cable and syndicated TV, and the Internet. From 1998 through 2004, Mr. Sorenson served as president of the MSNBC cable news channel. He has won more than twenty Emmy awards as a writer, producer, and television executive.

Comments? Send them to executivecareers@cnbc.com

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