Looking to land a marketing job? The truth is there’s a 95% chance your resume will never make it past the hiring manager’s inbox. Your resume and cover letter will be reviewed in as little as 30 to 60 seconds before being sorted into a “yes” stack or a “no” stack.
The good news is that the vast majority of the job applicants you’re competing against do very little to differentiate themselves. Here are a few things that you can do to get noticed, get your resume to the top of the stack, and get your foot in the door at any company.
Get the Basics Right: Gain an understanding of exactly what the company is looking for in their hires and the requirements of the position. Do you meet the qualifications and have relevant experience? Read the job description very carefully and shape your cover letter and resume to specifically address how you possess the technical skills and experience required. Give real world examples.
For any given industry or career path, there are a handful of highly desirable skills and core proficiencies. If there are any core skill sets that you’re missing, consider taking a class or investing the time to learn them. A few examples that generally stand out include experience with WordPress, social media platforms, Google Analytics, Moz, marketing automation platforms, project management platforms, and Adobe Creative Suite to name a few.
Show a Little Creativity: Resumes might be the most boring, standardized documents on the planet. However, there are a handful that I’ve seen that feature amazing design and layout. If you’re applying for a marketing job or any job that requires a design aesthetic or a little strategic creativity, putting your skills to work before you get to the front door is probably the best “in” available.
Connect on LinkedIn: If you can figure out who the hiring manager is, make a point of viewing their profile on LinkedIn before you submit your resume (don’t send a request yet). Chances are, they get data on who has viewed their profile. They will see your name, profile, and picture before they get your resume. This is a very valuable encounter, a smart part of a good first impression, and shows strategic thinking on your part.
Set a reminder for a couple of days after submitting your application to send a linkedin request with a personalized message. If you’ve played your cards right, the hiring manager has now reviewed your info three times–twice on LinkedIn and once from your resume submission. That’s three steps ahead of the pack.
And if you’re not sure who the hiring manager is, check out the principals, managers, and HR titles at the company–one of them is sure to be the person you’re looking for.
Connect and Communicate on Twitter: Follow the company and the important people on Twitter and shoot them a message. This shows that you are social savvy, you’re doing your due diligence, and it gives you yet another opportunity to be seen and make an impression.
Follow Up with an Intelligent Question: Haven’t heard back for a while?–take the initiative and send a follow up email. But instead of a generic follow-up email requesting info on the status of your application, ask a smart question based on some research that shows your interest in the company and position while demonstrating your knowledge and due diligence.
Find the Common Connection and Arrange an Introduction: We’ve all heard of seven degrees of separation. If you’re even slightly entwined in the LinkedIn network, there is a high probability that someone you know is connected with a decision maker at the company where you’re trying to land a job. Maybe it’s a family friend, alumni of your university, or someone your professor knows. To a hiring manager, personal introductions and recommendations go a long way. Reach out to your contact and ask if they would feel comfortable providing a personal recommendation and an intro.
Ask for an Informational Interview: Informational interviews are a great low-pressure way to get your foot in the door and find out more about the company. This could be as simple and informal as grabbing coffee with an employee of the company or a more formal meeting with the hiring manager. Either way, it’s a great opportunity to ask questions, start building a relationship, and to get a recommendation from someone inside of the company. If you’re not quite qualified for the position, ask about some practical steps you could take to gain the necessary skills and experience to be considered.
If you think you’re qualified for the job and could make a real contribution to the company, make sure they know that before they hire you. In fact, that’s the only way they’ll hire you. Let them know you could become downright indispensable rather than just another sheet of paper in the “no” stack. Let them know just how far ahead of the pack you are!