“In a world…” where there are many well qualified candidates available for one job, it’s not easy to stand out. You want to be plucked out of the sea of sameness. It’s a challenge agencies face all the time in new business. So what’s a savvy candidate to do?
The following three quick thoughts are all worthy of their own posts. They could be combined to make your job search more strategic and focused. But don’t have to be. They’re listed in order of easiest t0 hardest to execute.
Include metrics on your resume and Linkedin profile
Without a doubt, this is the most common mistake this critical, practiced eye sees on resumes. Most people’s resumes are more functional, describing what they’ve done over their career. Which is fine. But you can do better and craft something more effective. I encourage you to think feature-benefit as you take a look at your resume. What were the results of your work? What was your impact at that agency or in that job? Did the work work? How did it impact client business results?
All agencies will suggest that what matters is the results they help the client achieve. But let’s be honest. Agency metrics are important, too. Particularly if you’re more senior — leading a piece of business, department or an entire agency. The other day I saw a resume from a terrific senior leader. And her resume did a great job of highlighting her impact from both the client and agency perspective. It’s the kind of thing that makes her easier to market. And easier for any recruiter to justify why the candidate is being presented.
The subhead reads “Linkedin” because this is one of the primary tools internal and external recruiters use to find talent. When looking for a job, the best situation you can find yourself in is to be asked to apply. To be recruited. Making sure you have a solid Linkedin profile — complete with success metrics — is critical if you want to increase the amount of recruiter calls.
For <cough> years, yours truly has helped agencies find and win new business. And one of the things I learned — and what you’ll hear from just about every other ad agency new business consultant — is the power of specialization. Agencies typically specialize in one of three areas: consumer (e.g. moms), category (retail) or marketing situation (challenger brands).
Why not apply same positioning concept when marketing yourself? Another senior-level candidate I was recently helping has a good work history. A collection of working at both big and small agencies, on well-known brands. They’re steeped in consumer packaged goods experience. With a little more work, we figured out a way of thinking about her experience that gave her the chance to make her work experience relevant across a couple of different client categories. It also gave her something to write about and demonstrate her expertise. Which makes it easier for recruiters and hiring decision-makers to find.
Specialization also help shape the focus of your search. For instance, you can pay attention to agency pitches, wins and losses. And then leverage that intel. Because a pitch or a win can mean an agency will be hiring someone with just your skill set. This allows you to get just slightly ahead of other candidates competing for the same job. Articulating your specialty also makes you easier to find when recruiters begin looking for qualified candidates. You can even go a step further by demonstrating said expertise through writing, speaking, blogging and more.
Apply account based marketing to your job search
Huh? Account based marketing is the concept of surrounding of selling something to people working at specific company, based on what you know about them (wikipedia entry). When this is done in ad agency new business, there are typically four steps:
- Research the company/brand in question. Understand the players, culture, brand plans and activities
- Surround the decision-makers with custom content
- Be where they are (both online and offline)
- Approach them with specific offers directly related to them relevant to their situation.
When you do any kind of internet research on ABM, you’ll see a that it’s most often used for multi-million dollar sales and in high tech. Think B2B.
But with an adjustment or two, I think this approach could work for your job search. Particularly if you’re in one of three situations:
- You’re really senior (where jobs are scarce and agency-side impact expectations are higher)
- You only want to work at a few select agencies (creative hot shops, for instance)
- You have specific job needs (geographic limitations, agency size limitations, culture expectations, etc.)
Anywho, hope these three ideas will generate your own thinking about how to stand out in the candidate sea of sameness. As always, thanks for reading. And if this sparks a question, feel free to contact us.
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