Thousands of skilled marketing, PR, and advertising people are looking for new opportunities in an uncertain economy. Many will make common errors that can hurt their chances for finding a new job. Here are the 7 deadly sins you need to avoid.
1. Hold Your Water. Getting a good job takes time. Employers work on their timetable, not yours. Rarely can a candidate influence the pace of hiring. It’s their game and you have to play by their timetable. So if you are anxious or even desperate, stay calm, greet each interaction evenly, and do everything you can not to appear flustered or desperate.
2. Prepare Your Paperwork. Get your story straight, your resume written, your cover letters drafted, your LinkedIn profile up to speed, your references lined up and prepped, and your target companies mapped out before you begin engaging recruiters or employers. They won’t fill in the blanks for you and without a complete package you’ll be at a competitive disadvantage.
3. Network Regularly and Judiciously. Use your network before you really need a job. Don’t blast away at everyone you know. Pick and choose who you contact carefully. Understand that many people are asking their contacts, friends, colleagues, and associates for the same help and support you are at the same time. Also expect that many people will be gracious but can’t help much.
4. Never Bad Mouth Your Past Employer. No matter what they did or how they treated you, no prospective employer wants to hear how bad your last firm was. It’s a black mark that indicates you won’t be a team player. Most HR people and hiring managers can’t get past it. Draw lessons and experiences from every job and apply them to the position you are applying for. Be a diplomat when discussing past jobs.
5. Be Cautious About “Consulting.” Many out-of-work executives tell people they are consulting. Many recruiters understand the human need to save face or to cover for a period of unemployment. If you say you are consulting on a resume or in an interview, you must be prepared to discuss the nature of your work and the client(s) you are helping. The more specifics, even if you mask the client’s name, the better. If you’re not really consulting, tell the truth.
6. Follow-Up Gently. Be assertive, but not aggressive. Wait as long as you can to hear from a recruiter or an employer and just when you are ready to burst, wait 24 more hours. Reference the last interaction each time you call or email. Be on your best behavior toward administrative staff as well as recruiters. Don’t let frustration, delays, or anxiety get the better of you.
7. Don’t be Bashful. Sell Yourself. No one hires a sad sack. You are your own CMO and the sales burden is on you. Get yourself up and psyched; put your best foot forward; emphasize your skills, your personal traits, and your accomplishments; and then listen to the recruiter or the hiring manager. Map your assets to the job description. Do the math for them by explaining how you can accomplish the task they need done and why you are best person for the job.
Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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