The COVID-19 pandemic has caused businesses and organizations across the nation to halt operations, cut down staff and impart hiring freezes. With thousands unemployed and the Class of 2020 entering the job market, it is crucial job seekers understand how to position themselves in the job market. Michele Lanza, Edward Frankel and David Hazelton discuss the current state and future of the marketing communications hiring market and how to succeed in your job search.
In this job environment, what would you suggest doing to increase your odds of landing a job?
Edward Frankel: “The first thing I would do is get organized. What story am I trying to tell, whether I'm about to graduate, I've graduated or maybe I'm still in school, or about to go to school and I'm thinking about internships. Is my resume telling the story that I want to be telling?”
“Get focused. we do a lot of “spray-and-pray,” applying to everything just because, and that’s a mistake. Make sure to be focused. Unfortunately people neglect that in the industry that Michelle and I work in there are lots of really great companies, but they all do slightly different things, you need to acknowledge that in your applications.”
Michele Lanza: “As you are thinking about redoing your resume, make sure you are updating your LinkedIn profile as mimicking your resume. I like to think of your resume as being the professional document and your LinkedIn page is a way to showcase a little bit more of you and yourself. I think you can be a little more playful on it, but still show the experience you have.”
“Make sure you have the feature turned on for your LinkedIn page to show recruiters that you are open to opportunities because they do use that. It’s impressive on LinkedIn how many people are willing to help. With everything we are going through, it feels good for people to reach out and offer help. I see so many recruiters posting on there saying “if you are looking for a job, reach out to me, I am willing to talk to you,” and I would jump on that.”
What is the role of the cover letter? What is the role of that? How much time do you spend looking at the cover letter?
Michele Lanza: “You can ask 20 recruiters and get 20 different answers. I don’t read them, we don’t ask for them. I think if you are reaching out to someone through email that is the new cover letter, that is the moment you need to figure out how to tell your story. I don’t think the art of the cover letter is lost, but it has changed.”
“You have about 30 seconds to catch a recruiter's eye. When you think about your resume, your good story, your teaser should be up front.”
Edward Frankel: “The cover letter I will reference as a source for more information or to figure out why they are interested in this job. If they want to shift positions, the cover letter will help me understand that. It is about 2/10 times I look at the cover letter, but I really like having it there if I want it.”
If you cannot find a job, what are things you can do to build your skills in the meantime?
Michele Lanza: “I suggest looking at things like admin jobs, and jobs in different positions to get in with a company. Look at the posting for your ideal job and see what the things you are missing in your background right now that would make you a better candidate in three to six months. Do you need a coding class? Should you start a blog or a podcast to build your portfolio. I think there are a lot of local companies out there who would love help building something like a PR strategy.”
Edward Frankel: “If you can create a schedule for yourself, you can create a job for yourself. Our industry is incredibly entrepreneurial. I think everyone could be more entrepreneurial. Help local businesses tell their story better. You should also be working on your personal brand as well. Let’s take advantage of this time.”
What are things that people do “wrong” in the job search?
Edward Frankel: “You really need to slow down and be thoughtful. Nothing is more frustrating to me than receiving an email that says ‘dear hiring manager’ or ‘dear sir.’ If the email is going to ‘Ed Frankel’ the email could say ‘Hi Ed.’”
“If you email me about wanting to work in public relations, well I don’t work in PR. I may know people who do, but you didn’t take the time to acknowledge that I work in healthcare communications or advertising. It’s important we set goals, but realistic goals. Saying you are going to apply to 100 jobs in one day is unrealistic and you won’t apply well. It’s about the details.”
Michele Lanza: “Typos are a really big mistake because of the business we are in. If you have a typo on your resume, it’s hard to overcome it. Our hiring managers always notice them. Have a million people look at your resume.”
“Make sure your social media is work acceptable or make sure no one can find it. You are in communications, social media is job related and people are Googling you. Those moments, those pictures all matter. Make sure the content you have out there fits for each channel.”
What are some good networking tips and best practices?
Michele Lanza: “If I were looking for a job, I would choose the top ten companies that are my dream companies and look to see what connections I have to them. I would look on LinkedIn and message those who are connected with me and the company. Make it known you have done some research and why you have reached out to them. Ask for some time to have a virtual coffee. Be persistent if they don’t follow up, but avoid being annoying.”
Edward Frankel: “Go find a recruiter for the company and drop that person a line. Don’t go in with ‘I am willing to do anything for your company,’ be direct. Say ‘this is the position I am interested in and here is why.’ If you don’t hear back, sometimes going to the top doesn’t hurt. That person at the top may forward the resume to someone else.”
Want to learn more about how to succeed in the current job environment? Watch the full video recap: