Thermoforming Report

April Thermoforming Report: How to Identify Your Next Career Move

by Keith Brown, President & Owner, Siena Group.

April 2023.

This month’s article addresses the age-old question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?!?“. I do ask that sometimes in my conversations with the many people we partner with in our search efforts. Though it is always tongue-in-cheek, it is very much at the root of any job transition. The various headings below – identify your drivers, create a personal scorecard, building your brand, knowing where you want to be – do a good job in articulating the foundation for your search efforts. A new job is HUGE… so treat it that way!

As usual, we have several great articles relevant to our industry and quite a few amazing All Stars to highlight! Check them out down below in the links on the right. We also have more extraordinary talent in the Featured Talent tab.

How to Identify Your Next Career Move

If you are considering a voluntary career change, you may not immediately know what specific direction you want to take. Before you take action, it’s helpful to reflect on where you’ve been in your career and whether the professional path you’re on is the right one. [By the way, this also applies if it was unfortunately an involuntary career change!]

Hiring Managers & Organizations, for insights on the other side of the desk, read our articles on searching and landing the right new person for your team! 

The Right Tools for the Job

The Early Bird Catcheth the Worm

Look at what you have been doing day after day and determine whether those things play to your strengths and/or align with your goals. Consider the direction in which you want to move and examine all of the possible outcomes, directions, and solutions that could result from your newly-chosen path. Make sure you dig in and truly understand those things that you enjoy about your role and about those things that may be missing

Invest time and think it through – job change is a big deal! As entire industries continue to transform and reinvent the way they operate, this can be a time of great opportunity for advancing your career.  And, based on the ‘good’ numbers as highlighted in our recent Thermoforming Report, the future is bright! 

In this article, we’re providing a roadmap to help those who are motivated to explore new directions.

Identify your Drivers

Before you embark on this path, ask yourself these questions:

  • What prompted you to look for a new position in the first place?
  • What objective are you hoping to achieve?
  • Are you frustrated with your boss? your pay? your role?
  • Is there a specific experience you’d like to gain?
  • Is there a different industry you feel drawn toward?
  • Is there some issue or difficulty that is pushing you away from your present job – and have you done everything you can to fix the problem?
  • Is it short-lived stress or actually burnout? Try this two-minute burnout checkup from Harvard Business Review.

Answering these questions is a critical first step. Without knowing the answers, you run the risk of bringing your dissatisfactions with you to a new company and a new position. Looking at yourself objectively is key to understanding what you want and need in your next position and where you can be successful. 

Create a Personal Scorecard

Everyone needs a ‘WHY?’, right? It’s important to look at every aspect of your life to truly pinpoint what you want out of life. So, grab a pen and get ready to be brutally honest with these questions.

My suggestion: write your first response; no judgment; set it aside and revisit it after a few hours to see what resonates. Utilizing this technique helps maintain critical focus on your top priorities.

  • Professionally: Part 1. What type of company values are you seeking out? What type of role would you ultimately like to achieve? What kinds of work are you most passionate about? Are you a ‘work to live’ or ‘live to work’ type of person?
  • Professionally: Part 2. Are you a leader of people now… and do you like it?  Are you an individual contributor now but desiring to explore leadership?  
  • Personally: What are your objectives outside of your career? Do you want to train for a marathon? Rescue a dog? Plan a specific vacation? 
  • Financially: Is it your goal to save for a second home? To put your kids through college? To retire by a certain age?

Verbalizing these desires will help you prioritize the elements you’re looking for in a new role and determine which ones are non-negotiable and which are more flexible.  

Build your Personal Brand

It seems like “branding” is the new buzzword of the 2020s! According to a recent Forbes article, “In today’s highly competitive world, making a name for yourself is just as important as making a name for your business. Self-branding is an essential part of building your professional identity, and it can help you establish a strong personal reputation, gain influence and create a sense of relatability with your target audience.

Engage with LinkedIn and professional associations to gain the awareness of key recruiters, business leaders, and hiring managers in your domain. Make sure that your profile truly represents your brand and positions you for your next move. Write an article on a topic you’re passionate about. Connect with friends of friends, colleagues of former coworkers, and members of college alumni networks. You may find that after several months of remote working and enforced isolation, they are very willing to connect with you and pass on referrals.  Network, network some more, and when you are done – go network some more! [For more on networking, check out our short article on “The Power of Networking”.]

Although jobs have been lost in some industries, hiring is strong and new positions are opening in other areas. Be aware that you will need to be more flexible about where you can fit in and what your new role will look like. Take this as an opportunity to add new skills and experience to your background and to grow your career. 

Know Where You Want to Be!

Location. Location. Location. Remote work is part of our new world but less so in manufacturing. Think about where you are and whether or not the right kinds of opportunities are available in your current commutable region. If not, where are you targeting and why? Location is a significant limiter to opportunities – which is not a good thing or a bad thing. But, it is something to be keenly aware of as it may dramatically influence your next role. 
Being general (“I’m open to move to the southeast” or “I prefer to stay away from the northeast”) or very specific (“I am unable to relocate for the foreseeable future” or “I’m looking for an opportunity in South Carolina”) will absolutely influence your search efforts and what you are willing to explore. A lot of hard lessons were learned during the pandemic – namely the value of and proximity to family and friends.

As with everything highlighted above, think hard about location – your flexibility, desires, and what’s important to you (schools, weather, rural/urban, and so many more). 

The Takeaway

Job change is a great way to grow & advance your career. Take it seriously! 

Think things through. Talk to your closest friends and family to understand what is important to you and why… and where. Then, invest time in how you present yourself, both online and via your resume. Do the prep work and begin the journey well-informed and ready to go! Make it happen!

Looking to make a change and need advice from someone who’s been there, done that, and has the scars to prove it? We’re here to help in any and every way possible! As a talent recruiter, we represent clients AND candidates! We can help with resume facelifts, job searches, client introductions, interview tips, and resignation strategies [read more in our Job Transition Tips blog]. Let’s Strengthen Your Search!


Looking at yourself objectively is key to understanding what you want and need in your next position and where you can be successful. 

Keith Brown, Owner/President
  • Market Insights: New Report on Thermoformed Containers. via Future Marketing Insights.
  • Restocking, Feedstock Issues Cited in Resin Price Increases in March. via Plastics News.
  • Resin Price Report: End-of-Month Deals Revitalize Demand. via Plastics Today.
  • Will BioPlastics be a Big Part of the Industry’s Future or its Entire Future? via Plastics News.
  • EPA Unveils ‘Stringent’ Emissions Rules for Plastics Plants. via Plastics News.
  • US Manufacturing Near Three-Year Low; Casts a Shadow over Economy. via Reuters.
  • Returnable Packaging Market Shows Sustainable Growth. via Plastics Today.
  • Automotive Plastics will be $43 Billion Market by 2030. via Plastics Today.
  • BLS Employment Report – March 2023. via MRINetwork.
  • The Early Bird Catches the Worm
    Access to talented people is a big deal right now. But, sometimes the nature of the corporate cog slows down the hiring processes, and we find ourselves “wormless”. Recent occurrences in this talent war sparked an urgency for clients to understand the ever-changing dynamics this market has created and adjust in order to land that person for that critical role. via Siena Group.
  • The Next Frontier in Employee Experience
    Moving away from the ‘Me’ dimension and stepping into a ‘World’ viewpoint, current and future generations of employees and leaders are focused on transparency, measurable positive impact, and actionable commitments to society at large. Through this ‘World’ lens, companies need to apply a broader view and establish intentional corporate behaviors that benefit more than the bottom line. via Forbes.
  • Five Core Leadership Attributes to Embrace Sustainability
    To ensure future success, businesses must be serious about investing in sustainability. Leaders should see sustainability not as a hindrance, but as a driver for growth. In fact, as a main contributor to growth and innovation, sustainability should be at the heart of corporate strategy for all businesses. via CEO Magazine.
  • Normalizing Healthy Turnover
    Turnover isn’t inherently a bad thing. Intentional attrition – a deliberate plan to reduce the number of employees in an organization over time – creates a finite timeline where employees and the employer mutually benefit. This type of ‘up-and-out’ system can generate a positive employer brand as a springboard for talent. via Harvard Business Review.
  • Understanding the Five Competencies of Transformational Technology Leadership
    It’s not enough to be an expert or specialist or independent operator any longer. Today’s technology leaders understand that their role has changed. Technology leadership is now a team sport, emphasizing the “co” in collaboration, communication, coordination, and co-creation. This article provides the competencies tech executives can build in order to thrive in today’s environment. via Deloitte.

BDM/Sales Leader: This strong Business Development Manager/Sales Leader has 30 years of experience in food packaging. He brings significant scope and accountability, managing over 50 accounts totaling over $50M in annual sales; proven history of delivering, large, strategic national accounts – bringing over $32M in new business in the most recent 7 years.

Early Career Manufacturing Engineer: This Manufacturing Engineer has a couple of years of experience in extrusion and decent exposure to thermoforming. He currently supports new programs and project oversight of those new products, but he’s realized that he would much prefer the manufacturing floor. Located in the northeast, he is looking to get into a great and growing organization.

Operations Leader: This strong Operations Leader has nearly 17 years of experience in thin gauge thermoforming and 20 years overall in production leadership. He has experience in working with larger, multi-site corporations AND also with small, family-owned and operated businesses. This really gives him a unique perspective on how to bring that structure and process from the big to the small, implementing best practices and utilizing different types of tools in order to drive success.

3-for-1 Leader: Product Development, Technical Sales, Tool Design: This strong Thermoforming Leader has more than 20 years of experience in thin gauge thermoforming, focusing on med device packaging. His key strengths are product development, customer-facing and new business development, and tool design. He’s led Product Development teams, working directly with customers and clients, from idea through the first article and all the way through commercialization, and has driven double-digit growth in new business. BONUS: He’s willing to relocate and willing to travel.

Even More Thermoforming Talent! We are here to be your Thermoforming Talent Partner. Given the surge in manufacturing jobs, we would love to come alongside your team and support your talent needs! We work with so many talented people in so many different functions – and all in thermoforming – that we can’t possibly highlight them all! Whether it’s an Operations Leader, Plant Manager, specialized Engineer, Quality Leader, Sales Leader, or pretty much any thermoforming role, we are here to help. If you have a need, please do not hesitate to just reach out! 

Click for more All-Stars.

At Siena Group, we are your Thermoforming Talent Partner. With more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, hiring & recruiting talent, we bring a greater understanding of the companies we partner with and the candidates we pursue. Let’s Strengthen Your Search!

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