Looking for a Job in Digital Marketing? Behold: the secrets every job-seeker needs to understand in order to secure an interview with an agency in the marketing, advertising, PR, or other creative field.
At my company, we’re currently in the process of hiring a new employee. As I’ve been reviewing resumes, there were several things that stood out – especially with new graduates – that are hindering their abilities to get a job. From the point of view of a CEO, agency owner, and digital strategist, let me share some of the things that will help you stand out from the crowd when you’re looking for a job in marketing, advertising, or public relations.
1. Send your resume and writing sample (or portfolio) in PDF format.
Please, please, please, send me a PDF. I don’t want a .doc or a .pages or a Google Drive document. Depending on what device I’m using, I may not be able to open it. PDF’s just make life easier and it preserves the formatting of the document you’re sending me, which is key if you took time to design it carefully. Which brings me to #2…
2. Make your resume attractive.
Looks matter and you sometimes can judge a book by its cover. While the aesthetics aren’t everything, if you’re applying for a job in marketing, advertising, or public relations, you have to understand the importance of good quality design. While I don’t need a photoshop masterpiece, I would like a nice font for your name, legible print, and a structure that is visually appealing and flows seamlessly. There are templates all over the web that are available (some for free, some at minimal cost) – take advantage of that. There is no excuse not to. Insider tip: Try canva.com
3. For the love of all things holy, spell check, grammar check, and get it reviewed by AT LEAST TWO OTHER PEOPLE.
I received a resume the other day from a highly qualified individual with no less than six grammatical errors or typo’s. The previously qualified applicant disqualified herself by making errors that are very simple to avoid with some careful proofreading.
4. Send a thank you note, email, or some sort of acknowledgment that the interviewer took time out of their schedule to meet with you.
This means a ton to us. When I hired one of my first employees, what set her above and beyond the other applicants was a handwritten (!!!) note that was personally delivered to my office. This was so overwhelmingly above and beyond my expectations, that I knew I could expect great things from her at the company. It demonstrated initiative, etiquette, kindness, and attention to detail.
5. In your resume, don’t be afraid to take ownership of what you’ve accomplished.
I see way too many resumes that say “committee member,” “tried to assist,” “learned about customer service,” etc. Take credit for your work! You either assisted or you didn’t. You worked well with customers or you didn’t. You achieved a certification or you didn’t. Be proud of who you are and what you’ve done. For many of you, you’ve worked tirelessly throughout your academic career and you deserve credit for your work. Sometimes you just have to change the way you explain something in order to demonstrate relevance in your potential field.
6. Use specifics whenever possible.
I recently helped with a resume for a recent graduate who had an incredibly viral article but she didn’t share what that meant. I had her mention the site’s Alexa rating, the number of shares, the readership of the site, etc. and it suddenly took her published article to a published article that had 25,000 shares from a site with more than 3 million monthly visitors. That holds considerably more weight for me and it stands out. Were you the top seller in one month? Great, how much did you sell? If you told me you made $30,000 in sales in one month, that means considerably more than “Was top seller one month of the internship.” Be specific. I don’t have time to dig deep for the information, so the more you tell me, the easier my job is (and the more I appreciate you).
7. If you lack experience in your goal field, use the space to talk about other valuable qualities you bring to the table.
For many recent graduates, you don’t have a lot of experience. However, think about your relevant coursework. What classes did you take, papers did you write, or projects did you tackle that demonstrate your experience? What skills have you learned in another job (even if its retail or restaurants), that are valuable -and please don’t tell me its customer service? Were you the best at upselling at The Gap? Did you sign the largest number of new gym members at Gold’s Gym? Were you promoted six times in six months at your part-time job? Were you responsible for scheduling, answering phones, making copies, or organizing things? These are valuable skills that busy CEO’s and project managers need. Where were you first, best, fastest, or the most? Tell me about.
If your achievements are great, don’t hesitate to mention them – even if they’re irrelevant. Eagle Scout? Sorority recruitment chair? Top of your class in the PR department? Tell me about it. Are you a nationally ranked athlete? Do you speak multiple languages? These skills, even if they feel irrelevant are highly relevant. Skills and achievements like these tell me that you are teachable, hard-working, that you take initiative, and that you made excellent grades. If you spent your summers making money in retail instead of seeking a prestigious internship for no money, your resume should reflect your hard work and positive skills.
I hope these seven tips were helpful in your job hunt. When I’m deciding whether or not to grant an interview, you usually have my attention for about 30 seconds. If the design is great, I’ll keep reading. If the experience is great, I’ll read more closely. If the skills you present are really useful to me, I’ll bring you in regardless of your work experience. Think about these things as you conduct your job search in the future because making these few changes will significantly impact your hire-ability!