Spending over a decade in the marketing and public relations industry, a large portion of my job is spent in recruiting and retaining talent. I have a modern approach to leadership and believe in getting the right people on the bus and empowering them to create their magic. Micromanaging does not work, especially in the creative field, and definitely not with millennials. Hiring is a lot like dating, a first impression is formed within minutes and a CV (just like a good dating profile) is your first step in getting to the door. In a competitive landscape like New York, it's an employer's market, and if you're not on top of your game and standing out from the crowd (literally, the hundreds of resumes that flood in per job posting), you may find yourself in unemployment for a while. Here are some tips:
1. Get your resume professionally designed
A poorly formatted Word document just doesn't suffice these days. For some professions, this is still the standard, however, if you are going for any creative position (marketing, communications, advertising, design, public relations, etc), you should have a well designed layout for your CV that reflects your creativity. How can I trust you to market a brand if you cannot market yourself? There's many companies that offer this service such as Loft Resumes. You choose a template and updates cost only $5 each time. The person who is scanning your resume has very little time, make the job easier for them by having a resume that is easy to read, your main strengths and successes highlighted - no busy person is going to read through paragraphs of text when they have a hundred other resumes to sort through.
2. Don't have an 'in'? Stalk the company and persist
Getting your CV to the top of the pile (or inbox, should I say), can be challenging in the sea of job suitors all vying for the same position. To get noticed, start following the company on social media, look out for the team members who are part of the company and follow them on social. Try to build relationships with people within the company. If you email and the person doesn't respond, do not take it personally. They aren't avoiding you, they probably either forgot to respond or didn't see it. Recently, I just hired for a position and the applicant had expressed interest in the company six months prior to the head of sales. She persisted and persisted and finally when a position was open, I met with her. I could tell right away her enthusiasm and passion for the brand and instantly liked her. She was hired for the job out of over 200 applicants who applied online.
3. Before you show up for the interview, do the following
Researching the company before you show up to the interview is a no-brainer, if you do make the effort to do this, you should not even bother wasting the person's time as clearly, you don't want the job badly enough. Look at all their digital properties, and write notes about the key strengths, weaknesses and a few ideas and solutions to those weaknesses and challenges. Also, at the end of the day, the person hiring you needs to like you. So, focus on building rapport with that person. Research the person who you're interviewing with, find out where they've worked before, their accomplishments and any professional information you can find. The person interviewing will be impressed that you did your diligence. Lastly, come with a few questions. The interviewer will always ask you at the end if you have questions, and if you don't, you will come across as either timid or indifferent.
4. Start the interview off on the right foot
If you show up late, you're done. It doesn't matter that you got lost, that your last meeting went over, that your dog ate your shoe - it's not the problem of the person who is interviewing you and it starts it off on the wrong foot and tardiness shows your lack of preparation. Once someone formulates this impression of you, it's extremely difficult to change perception. Dress appropriately, people are subconsciously judging you on what you wear and how you present whether they are aware of it or not.
5. Your social media is an extension of your resume, be mindful of what you post
The picture of you beer bonging may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but when you're applying for a job, know that every thing you post online is put under a microscope. How you present yourself online needs to be consistent with how you present yourself in person, and remember, even if only 1% of you is a beer bonging party animal, if that's the first (and only) thing someone sees when looking at potentially hiring you, they will perceive that 1% as 100%. When you are hired, you are a representative of the brand, and if your personal brand does not align you won't get the job.
6. Follow up with a thank you email
After the interview, ALWAYS follow up with a thank you email. If you don't have proper manners from the get go, how is one to trust your performance on the job?
Lastly, your energy and confidence is the currency that people will transact with. If your energy is insecure, desperate or weak, no matter what you say, the person hiring will feel it and make a gut decision that you're not the right fit. While learning confidence is a book in itself, there are certain exercises you can do to feel and appear more confident. Before your interview, practice "power posing" by adopting stances that project confidence and power. Check out a talk by Amy Cuddi who provides great insight on how power posing actually boosts your confidence.