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How To Find a Job in 2013

Lionseye insights from AC Lion

josavailableinmyarea11To be utterly honest, job hunting sucks. There, the word is out. Whether employed or unemployed it is a less than joyous experience to be in the metaphoric “searching for new opportunities” boat.

Most job searchers feel that they are entitled to at least getting a response to their application and in a perfect world I agree. But this is reality, these recruiters or HR reps. ARE busy.  They need to sift through a slew of applications to determine the “ONE” and only then, will they decide to reach out. No matter the industry, don’t expect a response if you are submitting through a portal, it’s a black hole. These systems are designed to screen through resumes by searching for hot words. Additionally, I have spoken to numerous recruiters and HR professionals (not the good ones I network with) who do the same; they’ll hit ctrl+F and see how many times the word “Digital” or “Managed” comes up, if you don’t t have it at least 5 times they’ll move on. Obviously don’t lie on your resume, but it never hurts to spice it up with some catchwords to get past that first line of defense.

This leads me to the benefit of working with recruiters. We all know that headhunters or recruiters are stigmatized, but not rightfully so. Do you think Julia Roberts could have landed “Pretty Woman” without an agent? Fine, that example might be slightly dated so consider the less than illustrious career of Jim Parsons (aka Sheldon Cooper) before the “Big Bang Theory.” Agents and recruiters promote you, and do so for free.

Using a recruiter is especially pertinent for emerging digital media and startup type companies since they typically don’t have the man power (in terms of hiring/recruiting) that a Google does – building a rapport with a good recruiter is a fantastic way to increase your odds. You can show them your charisma and personality, something which is not relayed on your resume. Recruiters have the hiring manager’s ear; they not only pass along your “qualifications” but your personality as well.  This might come as shock, but more and more hiring managers are basing their final decisions on personality around 88% put culture fit over skills.

I’m qualified!

3 quick insights:

  • Having the right qualifications: be realistic about the job you are applying for. If you have zero experience working in the digital media industry as well as no SEO knowledge, your charm won’t get you into a SEO Director role at a digital agency.
  • Getting the attention of the recruiter: social media is a powerful tool, use it to your advantage and be creative! I know three people this year who have used Twitter to help them land their next job (one in the political arena, one at an e-commerce startup and one at a digital media agency) – self branding can set you apart.
  • Making yourself stand out when it comes to interview time: do your research and due diligence; research BOTH your interviewer and the company (e.g. If your interviewer is tweeting about snowboarding), this will help you establish a common ground which will showcase your personality.

The budding media industry is ever-changing, people are constantly going from one startup to the next; it’s a giant relationship game. I personally have taken many calls from recruiters with no intention of leaving my job, but rather to learn more about the industry. At the end of the day it’s worth it for me to take these calls for two main reasons:

  • Expanding my network; recruiters typically have massive networks and they are always interested in making introductions – that’s what the recruiting business is about, its relationship driven.
  • Learn more about my competition and market; I’m super involved in my job and I tend not to focus on external factors, so I welcome recruiters to call me.  Aside from a breath of fresh air and a change of pace, they are the market experts: they tell me what I’m worth – additionally, recruiters in the digital media and social media world will know the next biggest thing. I would have killed to get into Facebook before it exploded and because I wasn’t contacted by a recruiter or more correctly, didn’t grab the attention of one, I missed the ship.

Bottom line: Working with people who have a business model that is relationship driven is always a good sign. Also, the next time you’re looking for a job you might want to consider why Monster, Careerbuilder and job boards alike don’t publish their application-to-hire ratios…