Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Get connected. Get Hired. Secure your next full time marketing or IT job

I just received an email this morning from a colleague who is looking for full-time employment. I've been getting contacted by friends and connections quite often lately looking for advice, a recommendation or a connection. I realized that my reply to this friend this morning may be beneficial to anyone in the St. Louis job market looking for a job - or possibly any market where the desired job is in online/social media, marketing management, search marketing, advertising, IT project management or similar (some of the areas in my professional background, as I can't speak to the others as much).

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:

  1. 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.] ;-)

  2. 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...

  3. 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.

  4. 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.)

  5. 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..."

  6. Consider making a Google Profile and/or a Google Site all about your resume and experiences.

  7. Make it your new full-time job to conduct a new keyword search on job search engines (a minimum of and 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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:

Do you have additional ideas about how to find your next full-time, long-term career opportunity?


  1. Far and away the number one way to find that next career opportunity is to network! Network, network!

    I also agree with everything else Erin said. If you're unemployed, finding that next job is a full time adventure.

    I would add one more Association for marketing communications, the St. Louis Ad Club.

  2. Solid advice all around. I would definitely agree that LinkedIn should become the new #1 in the list.

  3. Is Linkedin really the most important platform to focus on when looking for a job? My problem with Linkedin is the fact that you are very limited as to what content you post and there is really no opportunity for communication or conversation.

    I do agree that Linkedin is probably the first destination for recruiters. My problem with Linkedin is that really all it is is a directory of professionals. There are no emails, no phone numbers, and no means of (free) communication.

    What I'm wondering, and Erin you might be able to help me with this, is do recruiters really go the extra mile when looking at candidates? Is what a candidate is posting on Twitter relevant in a candidate review? Is a candidate's blog something that recruiters really read and actively use in the decision making process?

    I love the idea of the virtual resume, the Twitter, the Facebook, and the blog all contributing to the "ideal candidate" but sometimes I wonder if it's just a lot of hard work that's not even getting considered.

    I enjoy your blog! I think people can learn a lot from your advice.

    Michael Buffa

  4. @Michael: the key to LinkedIn is to answer questions related to your area of expertise. Being tagged with Best Answer multiple times looks very good when someone's looking to hire, and more importantly when you establish expertise in your answers you will be contacted through email by people looking for more information. Help them out, and they'll pass the favor along in the future when they have or know of a job opening.

    The same holds true for all social networking. The goal is to get someone interested before they ask for your resume, not after.


Thank you for commenting on my blog post! I really appreciate the conversation. -Erin

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