On one hand, there’s never been an easier time to look for a job. The internet changed the landscape for both recruiting and job seeking in ways that could have never been imagined. In the late 80’s, when I was in the job market for the first time, the job search was really limited to your proverbial backyard. Most companies looking for job candidates honed their recruiting strategies around a college campus that had a specified mile radius for the available job opening, and job fairs had a much greater significance than they do today. If you fit the profile, had the right skills, and were located in the right geography, you were on your way to your new job or at least the interview.
Fast forward to 2016, where the world is your oyster. What both job seekers and recruiters have today is ACCESS. Job opportunities can be explored and promoted by a simple # on LinkedIn for a specific keyword or industry, company, job title, etc. Let your fingers do the walking! However, this wealth of global information is both opportunistic and complicated at the same time, creating a sea of competition. You are competing against a much larger pool of like-minded talent that might even be exploring from neighboring states, no longer just neighboring towns.
So how does the twenty-something (this advice really applies to all ages!) job seeker today compete and stand out from the crowd especially in the competitive field of digital marketing?
In the last several months while trying to identify the ideal candidates to fill our Digital Account Strategist and Associate Account Strategist roles, I have reviewed hundreds of resumes. We have learned over the years that taking your time to find the right fit means you have to sometimes kiss a lot of frogs. My favorite question that we ask every potential new team member to answer on our job application is “why do you want to work for StoryTeller?”
This simple question can tell you so much! I have reflected back on some of the most memorable submissions. Here is a short list of “do’s” and “don’t’s” I have compiled to help you stand out when you interview for your next digital marketing role.
- Do be thoughtful and make every word count … Don’t be quick to hit “submit.” We really do read every word. I would, however, advise against writing a dissertation.
- Do tell the company what contribution you feel YOU can make to the organization…Don’t make your response centered around what you hope you will get out of the position. You know what they say, there should always be more “you’s” than “I’s.”
- Do your research and make your response rooted in your findings. (Don’t forget, if you are applying at an inbound marketing agency, chances are we know how much research you did on our website before applying for the job!) Don’t make assumptions in your answer that you can’t really back up, “I love your culture and I want to be a part of it.” Do you really know about a company culture you have never been a part of?
- Do be realistic with your response when looking at the criteria and job requirements. Can you really say you are an “expert” at something after a year? Don’t assume that your college internships and campus jobs count when a company states they are looking for “3-5 years experience.”
If you really want to stand out for a position you think is an ideal fit, go the extra mile! There’s a good chance your peers are not. I once was so impressed by a young man named Zach. He was so passionate about inbound marketing and committed to landing a job at an inbound marketing agency, that he got his HubSpot marketing automation certification and did such a deep dive into learning about some of the tools needed to do the job that he sent examples of his newly acquired skills unsolicited. Zach was also creative enough to find shared connections on LinkedIn with a StoryTeller team member whom he solicited for advice. Talk about impressive! I only wish we had had an opening at that time because I have little doubt he would’ve been an awesome StoryTeller!
Finally, if you had a great interview, please follow up; send a thank you note (hand-written will surely impress!) but at a minimum send an email. If you don’t hear back from the company in a timely manner, call them or send an email. You have no idea how many people are interviewing for the same position. Your follow-up will go a long way to show the company that you want to be a part of the team! Trust me when I say there are few peers of yours that do.
If you think you have what it takes to be our next Account Strategist, we would love you to fill out our application. Better yet, we would love to hear why you want to be the next StoryTeller!
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