With 20 years in digital, I could write a book on both being interviewed by some of the most intelligence and the most ridiculous people and interview strategies that save time and weed out the losers.
Instead of a book, I am going to write a series of blog posts and begin by addressing her question first – tips for a person trying to find a job in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace.
Don’t look for a job – start your own business
If you are looking for a job, be prepared for a lot of work, networking and marketing your talents.
And if you’re not confident you’ll find a job pays the salary you deserve and gives you the experience you are looking for – then first consider starting your own business.
The unfunnel network is filled with entrepreneurs, small business owners and a whole bunch of people that are sick of the job hunt, unsatisfied with their full-time jobs and think they can do it better themselves.
And for many people, like my partner, they are happy with the decisions and excitement of doing their own startup.
For others, like me who may not want to take on the business challenges of a startup yet and want a job for the social and networking value – here are some tips that might help.
Pimp up your resume – for all channels
You need to practice what you preach. A paper resume in word only – is a show stopper. You need to demonstrate your marketing prowess by understanding your audience and having a diversity of content that appeals to a range of different learning styles. A digital resume that that is formatted for the ipad, it a necessity.
A document that is well designed is needed, but you also have to consider multiple versions that work for online applications. Plan on many hours of hacking up your beautiful resume into a format that some crazy IT person designed without the user in mind.
If you can’t write creatively – get help
They will actually read your resume. Make sure the language in your resume is memorable. You want to be straightforward, but add some flair that is unique and sets you apart from the endless stack of boring.
Make sure it is scanneable because they won’t read it all – just a few items that catch their eye.
You will be surprised…
Having an objective friend help you succinctly describe your talents, is much easier that rewriting them 25 times yourself. You are your worst critic.
Create and active, and highly personalized brand
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date and keyword stacked (the search algorithm in this network favors keyword density).
This is your personal brand/website and you can include projects, recommendations and links out to examples.
Many applications allow you to apply with LinkedIn and that is probably the first place managers will check out before deciding to interview you.
Objectively look at your page…
- Does it quickly show your network size?
- Your recent activity related to the industry, are you a influencer?
- Are people engaged with your posts?
- What groups have you joined?
Start thinking like a hiring manager.
Target organizations you want to work for
Don’t waste time applying to places that you would never want to work for. Be selective.
Go to websites and read a brand’s leadership principles and read a company’s social networks to see how people are engaged with the brand. See what other jobs they have posted. Read in the news some of the challenges they are facing.
No matter what, make sure you find a place that might be a good culture fit or one that needs your expertise.
Apply with confidence, knowing that you can add value to their time.
Even if you aren’t actively doing the job you are applying for, if this is an obvious progression of your skills and gives you a challenge, this might be the right job for you.
Don’t sandbag your experience to just get a job. If you are overqualified and or their expectations are higher than you can meet, it won’t be a enjoyable experience.
Be real and transparent but also share your willingness for growth and learning new skills.
A strong cover letter is key.
Once you have done the background work, your cover letter is the pace to connect your experience (resume) with their need. This is the items that hiring managers look at most.
It should not overlap your resume, but highlight important points that might get overlooked.
Elaborate and give details on a few case studies that are applicable to the position and make sure you include measurable results that show your impact on the growth of that company.
Again, be confident, yet humble.
A person wants to hear why you want to work for them and how you would be a strong team member.
- Spend 25% showing that you did your research.
- 30% writing about why you think you are a good fit for the position (make sure you read the job description in detail and site some of the responsibilities)
- 45% on your experience and how they relate to being successful in that position.
Be upfront with salary and life requirements
No one has time to waste…
Cut to the chase as early as possible. Understand your own expectations and the salary you need and have a range. Then look at the benefits – is the commute easy, is there flex hours? Travel? Benefits outside of salary?
Those are all questions to ask right before you do an in person interview. Hiring managers should be able to give you a range and if you supplied your salary requirements in the application and priory jobs, they already know what you are looking for.
If you didn’t, you want to be open and honest because if offered the job, these will be critical to the decision you make. Also remember that an interview is two-sided.
The hiring manager wants to feel they are getting a competitive and highly sought after candidate. It is okay to share they you have other options and you want to hear why you should work for them instead.
Know your shit
Lastly, people can get past a perfect fit if they know the person has the hard skills to do the job successfully. Make sure you are aware of the latest trends in marketing and can speak to them fluidly in an interview. Have a couple of recent examples in your back pocket and redirect interview questions towards the subjects that are your strengths and you want to talk about.