My name is Sandy and I work as a Market Coordinator for a small law firm just outside of St. Louis. Doing marketing for a Law Firm, my job lacks the flexibility for me to be creative so I'm on the hunt for a new one. That has been a struggle as I apply and apply for jobs online with no luck at all. I barely get any interviews.
Dear Recruiter Help! What am I doing wrong?
Sandy first of all thank you for writing in and sharing your question. I'm sure there are a lot of marketing people that are in your situation so they will appreciate you asking the question. So I get similar questions to these a lot and the common theme to the frustration people have is applying to jobs online. Look I get it, companies require applicants to apply online to get hired. But let me let you and the rest of the reading audience in on a secret Sandy, you don't have to apply to the job right away you can apply anytime. What does that mean exactly?
Well once a company has interest in you as a candidate and they want to set you up for an interview, at that point you can officially apply to the job which they will direct you to do. The misnomer is that in order to be considered initially for a job you have to apply for it online, not true. There are other ways to be considered for a job other than directly applying to it online which is what I will cover.
Still the most effective way to get your "foot in the door" to be interviewed and considered for a job is network with someone working there to advocate for you or connecting directly with the hiring manager. The other way to find not only marketing jobs but any jobs is to have them notice you and approach you. This way jobs you are not aware of will have a way of finding and reaching out to you.
As a Marketing person Sandy you have the advantage of having the skills to market yourself in Social Media as a way to get Hiring Manager to notice you that other people may not have. Here is a quick list of things I would recommend you do and this can all be done on Linkedin which is still the top Professional Social Media Platform.
Sandy I hope that helps. Thank you for writing in and good luck on your search!
Joan V. Out of Minneapolis writes,
"Dear Recruiter I need help. I've been in the Accounting Profession for 20 years now and I'm bored I want to do something else completely different. In fact just over the last few years I discovered I'm a people person and want a job that utilizes my personality but Accounting is all I have ever done. Any suggestions?"
Joan actually I do and it starts with you. I know the first thing people tend to want to do is jump back in and go to school but that is the last thing to do. First figure out do you like Accounting but need something that quenches your thirst for being an extrovert. If so maybe look into being an Accounting Recruiter where you can talk to people all day but still utilize your accounting knowledge.
Or if you want to completely do something that leaves Accounting behind take a notebook and do a job journal where you list some key attributes or skills you would like to use in a job. Then run a search on one of the job boards with those skills to see what jobs come up. If something interest you I would then use Linkedin or your network to find out who is doing that job and set up an informational interview. That person can give you some insights into what that job is like, how to get into a job like that and any other suggestions. If you like the job I would see if there is a way to do some side projects even for free just to get some experience.
Joan the biggest roadblock to switching careers is experience. If you can find a way to get applicable experience even if it means doing some project work for free. That will help eliminate what seems like an impossible feat and make it manageable.
Hope this helps and stay tuned for our next "Dear Recruiter Help" story!
Tara A out of Indianapolis writes…“Dear Recruiter Help!
I just found out I’m going to be losing my job due to a layoff and I have not written a resume in over 10 years where do I even begin to start?”
“Well Tara don’t panic I have an easy to use format but the first thing to focus when writing this resume is this is your branding tool to market yourself to employers. So when writing the resume you don’t just want to list what functions are of your job you did, but in what capacity you performed those activities such as how you performed and what you accomplished.
My suggestion before writing the resume is get a note book and start listing out your accomplishments, special projects you were on and what your role was. The reason I suggest a note book is so that you can brainstorm without worrying about the grammar and it will be in front of you. Once you do that then you can write the final draft of your resume.
Now as far as the outline, since you have so much experience you want to emphasize that over education because experience is what sells an employer. Here is the Format I suggest (see below).
1. EXPERIENCE: LIST YOUR (COMPANY/JOB TITLE)
2. NEXT LINE LIST YOUR ROLE SUMMARY
3. ACCOMPLISHMENTS: PUT IN CAREER HIGHLIGHTS IN BULLET FORMAT
4. NEXT LINE LIST IN BULLET FORMAT WHAT YOU DID IN AN ACCOMPLISHMENT
5. REPEAT FOR EACH JOB
6. EDUCATION: THIS GOES LAST AND ALSO INCLUDE SPECIAL SKILLS BELOW
Tara that should give you a good place to start good luck on your search! One last thing I want to leave you with, view this as a new opportunity to do something new and exciting instead of focusing on the negative of losing your job. Employers pick up on your attitude so if it’s a good one, they will be more interested in hiring you!
James CEO of XYZ Company in Austin, TX writes...
"My name is James and I own a 5 year old Technology Consulting firm specializing in Medical Applications. We just hit our first milestone of $1mm in revenue and have been given additional project work which is great. However the problem is we need to hire critical tech talent in order to "ride the wave" and scale, however I know we don't have the "deep pockets" of bigger organizations to compete. I have spoken to a couple of candidates that are definitely interested in coming to work for us because they like the idea of working for a small company and like our mission. However I know I can't pay them what they are worth."
"Help Me Recruiter" what do I do?"
James first of all thank you for writing in I appreciate you writing in and sharing your issue! It's one that a lot of organizations of your size have so you asking will also help others in our community! The easy answer to that question is you don't play a game you can't win and don't compete with those organizations on trying to "one up them" on paying a higher salary.
Now that doesn't mean James I'm telling you not pursue the talent you need and want, you absolutely should! You just need to play to your organizations strengths. Here is what I mean.
First of all you want to find out other motivating factors the candidate has in selecting a "new home". If money is their top motivating factor, then James that is a candidate you DON'T WANT to pursue. Because even if you could give them the salary they are asking for. More than likely another firm will come in with more money 6 to 12 months down the road and they will leave you anyway.
Next you want to evaluate what makes your organization special to work for? Being a smaller firm you can offer more flexibility in work/life balance such as working from home or generous PTO. Work/Life is a very important factor to employees. Also being a smaller firm there is far less layers of management . Therefore the employee has more autonomy to do the type of work they want to do and have their efforts more visible at a higher level then in a large silo organization. Also being in a smaller firm opportunities to "wear different hats" gives employees the opportunity to expand their skills and maybe move into a different area far easier then in a larger organization.
James I can go on and on with the examples but I think you understand, find what makes your company special. Then when you are interviewing candidates hone in on what is motivating them besides money. If you can't find anything else I would decline them immediately in the process even if they are a "Rock Star" that you covet.
As mentioned earlier even if you "go all in" and can land them, chances are you will lose them in less than a year because someone will throw "outrageous money" to lure them away and if you are relying on them in a critical project that could be more devastating then never having that employee in the first place.
Once you find what motivates them this next step I know seems risky but it makes your organization look classy. I would say to the person, "so and so we are very interested in your candidacy and potentially see you as someone we want to bring onboard. However to be honest, with your skill sets I know you are going to have a lot of interest out in the market which will probably pay you way more than what we have budget for. We would love to compete in salary for you and would so without hesitation if we could. However being honest with ourselves we can't do that, but here are some other perks of working for us." Then James you start making your case. You would be surprised what that type of honesty and vulnerability does with a candidates emotions. If they can work with the salary you can afford, they would rather work for an organization like yours than a larger firm that will just throw money their way.
James I hope this helps and hang in there and good luck hiring that person to keep your business growing!
Hey guys if you like this article and think it helps or want to ask me another Hiring Question, feel free to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to hear from you! Until next time, Peace out!
"Help Me Recruiter"
Shay out of Buffalo, NY writes....
"Hi my name is Shay and I'm a Director of Sales for my firm. My employee who is a Pre-Sales Engineer and one of my most valuable employees for the past 5 years is going through a Career Crisis. She wants to do something completely different and move out of our area. The problem is she is my best Pre-Sales Engineers and I can't afford to lose her. She has this amazing knack of making a new client feel good about our product and has helped our sales team close some pretty big deals! I have thrown more money at her the past couple of times which has sufficed her appetite for doing something different, however more money is not working anymore she really wants to pursue getting into product development.
If I lose her to this other area of the company I'm going to be in big trouble this could impact us closing future deals without her insight and knowledge of our product and communicating that to customer prospects. "Help Me Recruiter" what should I do?"
Shay first of all I want to thank you for writing in and seeking my advice. This is a very common problem companies have. It's the danger of having a "rock star" employee and putting all of your "eggs in their basket". Shay being completely honest with you and I know you won't want to hear this, but you are going to lose this valuable lady either way. Money is no longer motivation to her, its doing something new with her career and you have no choice but to respect that. Sure you could probably just ignore her wishes and even block her but then she will "sow her oats" within another organization. Trust me if she is as valuable as you say she is then your organization doesn't want to lose her.
With that said Shay I have two pieces of advice for you. First, acknowledge her desire for the change and go one step further, support and be an advocate for her getting into that new role as quickly as that can happen. Trust me she will be so appreciative how you and your organization are treating her that she will want to reciprocate back! Then you can negotiate with her to lead the charge in not only finding her replacement but training the next person.
Now Shay don't make the mistake that I have seen many companies make. That is they won't let the person switch to the new internal job until their replacement is found and relatively trained to step in. Essentially what that does is hold your employee "hostage" which frustrates them to the point where they don't care who backfills them as long as it is someone that sets them free. Thus they endorse a poor hiring choice. You don't want that "my friend" trust me! Instead here is how I recommend handling it thus my second piece of advice.
I would look to try and fill this role with an internal employee if at all possible and here is why. For a Pre-Sales Engineer role you want someone who knows your organization, who believes in the company mission and even more believes in your product. This is a person who you want communicating to new potential customers. So I would work with your current "rock star" and ask her to help you find that person internally. This will incredibly motivate her to help you out for a couple reasons.
First, she sees that you are committed and trying to backfill her as quickly as possible, and in most cases its quicker with an internal. Second, the fact that you want to provide someone else in the organization the same opportunity she is given to do something different will make her loyal. Thus she will be motivated to make sure that she is leaving you in good hands and will want to pick the best person in the company possible. Last and this might be the best outcome of all. She is still with the Organization and happy to be a part of it! Now you don't want to go to this "well too often", but you can always "pick her brain" for advice. If she goes to another organization that option is not there.
Remember that not only for Shay but any other Hiring Manager out there who is afraid to lose there valuable employee!
If this article is something you find helpful or want to engage with me on more questions please let me know, email@example.com
Steve Rosen-Recruiting Consultant