The email said:
Hey! How goes it? I enjoy following your tweets and it seems like you are in a good place lately. I'm actually looking for full time work, any ideas? I wasn't sure if there were opportunities where you work or if you know of anyone else in the industry looking for help. I figured you'd be a good person to ask. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Here was my reply - abridged to protect the innocent:
- Get introduced to [people who I know that are very well-connected in St. Louis and enjoy helping companies find good talent and good talent find enjoyable jobs. I can name names privately, but I have to want to introduce you first.] ;-)
- Get the scoop on which companies in St. Louis are hiring in online marketing/advertising and internet jobs. There are quite a few agencies that I could name, but you can figure it out just by doing a job search. From my personal perspective, October/November is a great time to be looking for a job in our field in STL. For whatever reason, now that summer vacations are over and people are holed up in their offices away from the cold and rain -- what's with all this RAIN!? -- marketing/IT hiring managers are looking at year end forecasts and into 2010 and saying, "Where's my talent? I need new talent!" I have seriously heard this from multiple hiring managers in the past few weeks. Get out there. They're looking for you! Once you identify the companies that need talent like yours, start repeating the company's name to yourself day in and day out like a crazy person, and then follow these remaining steps...
- Update your resume and shoot me one so I can see all your skills and see if there's any way I can help. More importantly, get a professional's opinion on it. Find a recruiter in your field who doesn't mind spending 5-10 minutes giving you a critique, and if you respect this person, you'll do everything they say without hesitation.
- This should probably be number one on the entire list: Update your LinkedIn profile, and start asking for more recommendations. Get keywords galore into your profile. Add yourself to groups on LinkedIn that are geographically local and/or industry relevant. Follow posts on those group boards and comment back with insightful, professional opinions -- add value. (Shoot me a request for a recommendation, and if I've worked with you and think you worked hard, I'll probably write you one too.)
- If your goal is to work in social media or online marketing, or if you have a technological skill set that is very specific and valuable, start and maintain a personal blog. Post a minimum of 3 times per week (I know I am guilty of not meeting this requirement, but I'm not looking for a job), and make it clear from your LinkedIn and Twitter that on this blog, it's YOU providing the content/insights. Keep it professional and remember that every word you say will be seen by the recruiters and hiring managers making their decision later. Tweet your blog posts, engage with people on Twitter, and you may be surprised when someone reaches out to you on Twitter and says: "I really enjoy your blog posts and Twitter comments. I know someone looking to fill a position that you may be interested in..."
- Consider making a Google Profile and/or a Google Site all about your resume and experiences.
- Make it your new full-time job to conduct a new keyword search on job search engines (a minimum of Monster.com and LinkedIn.com) and make it your personal goal to find 3 new jobs per week that you'd really enjoy doing. There will be others you find that you'd grade a notch lower in desirability - and still apply to those! But every time you apply to the really desirable ones, check your LinkedIn network for anyone you know who knows someone who works there. Ask them to recommend you for the position.
- Send paper copies of your resume, always customize a cover letter, and make a reproduction of your personal portfolio to mail it to every job you really, really want. Put it all in a nice resume folder, and FEDEX it overnight to the hiring manager or recruiter the day you apply. If you do not customize your cover letters, I don't care how many people tell me that they don't read them or the fact that I barely scanned them myself when hiring 35 people in one summer a few years back (I reviewed upwards of 300+ resumes & cover letters in 3 months time), the point is, if you didn't write one and customize it to "moi" then you don't care enough. End of story.
- Make your own business cards if you don't have them already, and start going to local networking events and any other relevant club meetings in the area. Here are some I suggest:
- The Professional Association for Design, St. Louis Chapter
- American Marketing Association, St. Louis
- Social Media Club, St. Louis Chapter
- Gateway Interactive Marketing Association, St. Louis
- St. Louis Ad Club
- REBUS - STL of St. Louis Ad Club
Do you have additional ideas about how to find your next full-time, long-term career opportunity?