Interview with an HR Consultant: Job Seeker | Jobs In ME
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Interview with an HR Consultant: Job Seeker

By: Margaret Hansen

Diane Dunton
Potential Released

Diane Dunton

I recently interviewed one of our writers, Diane Dunton, owner of Potential Released, a human resource and management consulting firm. Diane shared her experiences in business, what she loves about her job and some predictions and advice for job seekers.

Tell me about your business.

Diane Dunton: I have a human resource and business consulting firm. I provide career transition services to individuals who have faced job elimination, desire a career change or who may just want to identify short and long term life and career goals. I also work with individuals considering starting or purchasing a business.

What have you loved most about your career?

DD: I worked in a corporate setting in operations and then in human resources for 20 years and since 1996, I have owned and operated my own business. I loved the foundation I received in a corporate Fortune 500 company, but running my own company gives me a lot of interesting and diverse challenges. I never know who will be contacting me next or what the need will be, which makes it fun. When I am working with individuals, I feel privileged to listen to their stories and assist them with their careers. I am amazed at how peoples' personal and professional lives have weaved together in ways they often times do not see. I enjoy assisting people with finding careers that are fulfilling.

What made you decide to choose this field?

DD: I started my undergraduate work in social work but changed my major to business. In 2000, I received a master's in counseling. This work integrates the business with the personal and professional needs of individuals and businesses. I am an organizational development professional. When I started my career, I had no idea this field existed. I couldn't be happier that this is where my career has taken me.

How did you get to where you are today?

DD: Again, being in a Fortune 500 company gave me a solid foundation. I always had a goal of owning my own company. In 1996, I turned that dream into a reality. I am a continuous learner and have had numerous trainings over the years. Some of the trainings have been specific to my field and others have been to challenge my way of thinking. A year ago, I attended a conference on innovation where I learned what organizations were doing to inspire creativity in their companies. I think it's important to keep learning in whatever aspects work for you.

What advice do you have for today's job seekers?

DD: Be patient and be open to opportunities that you might not have thought about when you began your search. When I am working with my clients, I suggest that they have three buckets: one bucket for similar job opportunities in the same industry, the second is similar roles in different industries, and the third is what I refer to as the wild card. The third bucket has opportunities that you might have thought about, but never thought they could do, such as starting their own business.

What are your job market predictions?

DD: The job market is always shifting. Skills needed today change tomorrow. When I first started my business, I was facilitating career centers for plant closings. The employees needed to learn new and different skills. The Dot com era shifted the skills that the marketplace needed. We need to watch the landscape and be aware of what skills are needed. It's taking longer to find positions right now, but taking courses to enhance your portfolio can be helpful.

You've inspired your audiences by sharing stories of painful events. How can difficult times help us?

DD: When we are in our darkest time, we often experience both joy and pain. It begins a time of true personal growth even in the midst of difficulty. It gives perspective and we are faced with choices that are not easy to make. Through the adversity, we come out recognizing our strengths.

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Margaret Hansen has been writing professionally since receiving a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Maine. She has worked for multiple organizations as a weekly newspaper reporter, a weekly newspaper editor, and in a variety of internal/external marketing communications roles. Her freelance career has focused on writing and editing for print, email and web publications in the employment industry, as well as manuscript editing and resume writing.