Hiring is not something I particularly enjoy. Don't get me wrong, I love people and the corresponding challenges that come with building and fostering a corporate culture. However, I consider myself a much better leader than a manager. Maybe I should try and enjoy the hiring process more, but I can't seem to get there.
Over the past year or so, our company has nearly doubled in size, which has meant countless interviews, recruiting calls, headhunting efforts, applicant screenings, presentations, and all the other stuff that goes with building a solid team. We've become fairly versed at picking out the digitial needles from the applicant haystack, but that process has gotten considerably more difficult as of late. Is the talent pool shrinking? Are the number of digital jobs growing? Are we simply becoming more picky about who we hire? Yes, yes, and yes.
In today's connected society, nearly every job applicant we see is a "digital native", so determining who is passionate about working on the web and who is passionate about wasting time on the web is a challenge. Through our hiring and growth, however, we've picked up some recurring themes that I felt were worth sharing. For those of you wanting to break into the online marketing world, here are 11 tips to help you get noticed. For everyone else, there are a few nuggets in here that are vertical agnostic. Enjoy.
- If you want to work in the online space, you'll want to have an online footprint to match. Start a blog, polish up your social profiles, and make sure who Google says you are is who you say you are.
- Same as #2, but for Google Images.
- Inquiring about a job with a signature of <Sent from my iPhone> says that you are too busy to really care, but wanted to pound out a quick email in your car. Being comfortable on mobile tech is certainly a good thing, but take the time to send a polished, professional, and typo-free introductory email.
- LinkedIn profiles are the new resume. Get recommendations, make sure your profile stands out, and include all your relevant skills and experience. Don't just create a profile--groom one. As an example, I recently hired an executive bio writer to give mine a fresh punch. If you aren't good at talking yourself up, tap into your network and ask them to describe you.
- Showing some level of programming savvy--even if you are not a programmer--can really set you apart. Even if you have a templated personal Wordpress blog, try digging into the CSS and customizing it a bit. It doesn't need to win an award, but the effort will get you noticed.
- Get comfortable with acronyms, and get ready to drop them. PPC, SEM, and SEO are all very different. Using them incorrectly is a sure sign of a novice skill set.
- In the digital world, metrics are king. Talk about your successes not just with click-throughs and visits, but with things like return on ad spend and lead count increases. That will get the hiring manager to sit up and take notice.
- Tweets, tweets, tweets. Tweeting with foul language, derogatory statements, elitist banter, politically charged rhetoric, etc. will not help your cause. No one has ever been hired because the manager said, "Hey, this guy uses the F-bomb with perfect placement." Don't be afraid to go back and delete your tweets--especially anything that you felt was great at the time, but now might be taken the wrong way.
- Don't blindly connect with a potential employer on Linked in with the standard "I'd like to add you to my professional network" invite template. Personalize that puppy with something like, "John, I saw you on LinkedIn and plan to apply for a job at your company. I'd love to get to know you on LinkedIn as well. Thanks for helping me grow my network!"
- Engage yourself with the company you want to work for. Retweets, blog comments, Facebook likes, re-pins, and the like all go a long way in showing the employer that your interest in the company is there.
- Score some certifications to demonstrate your love of the game. There are the typical ones like Google AdWords and Analytics that take a bit of knowledge and hands-on experience, but some others like the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Professional program and Hootsuite Certification are easier to obtain and still carry credibility in the industry.