The whirlwind of spending over a decade in the creative and marketing staffing has taught me many things…one of which is what candidate is most likely to be selected for the role. I’ll spare you the decade of experience and fast-forward to the answer. It’s very simple. The candidate the client chooses is the hardest one to get.
Here’s a common scenario. I will present three candidates to a hiring manager. Candidate #1 and Candidate #2 are super eager, less active on the market, and will do anything to work at the company. Candidate #3 is actively interviewing, maintains an updated portfolio, and optimizes her LinkedIn profile on a regular basis. Candidate #3 knows her value and sets the tone accordingly with a “you’re lucky to get me” mantra. Her confidence, swagger, and perceived un-attainability lends to her candidacy. When I ask my hiring managers to stack the candidates in order of interest, Candidate #3 is always at the top. So just how does Candidate #3 become Candidate #1?
Strong Search Momentum
The cardinal rule above all others is to always be fielding job activity: update your LinkedIn profile & portfolio, solicit meetings and interviews, engage in conversations with recruiters, and network your heart out. Check out this tip for really working your LinkedIn connections and join a MeetUp that resonates with you. You may only be interviewing for one position but no one has to know that. Keep that business to yourself but keep your activity up. Make job applications a part of your everyday routine. Engage in conversations. Continue to explore. A confident candidate wins the game and while that confidence can be very hard to muster during a months-long job search it’s important to put on a cloak of positive attitude…even if it doesn’t feel super authentic. Every drop of energy in your search should be pushed toward creating a multi-faceted job search. Create the aura that you are a hot, viable commodity on the market and you will be. Hiring managers want who they can’t have.
Curb your Enthusiasm
As a hiring manager yourself, consider what level of enthusiasm from a prospective candidate would be flattering versus a turn-off? As a candidate, the method of which you display your enthusiasm really is key. Turn-offs include candidates who come across as over-eager and compare their affinity towards a brand to their personal feelings versus their professional capabilities. Yes, it’s important to share that you’re passionate about a brand’s values but also share or follow up with samples or thoughts about how your work in digital marketing will really move the needle. Give the hiring manager something tangible, of benefit, and on brand to make them want more.
Keep Materials Current & Updated
There’s a difference in having a current portfolio and one that is Updated. If you’re keeping a portfolio site that you created 5 years ago updated, it’s current. If you’re constantly engaging with your site to see how it renders on new technology, pushing the envelope with your design, and ensuring your site stays fresh…well, you’re keeping it Updated. Have the courage to reinvent yourself. It can feel daunting to embrace new technology or to reinvent your personal brand. Start small and consider your site’s platform (are you using Wix when maybe SquareSpace might be more modern?) to leveraging some of LinkedIn’s tools such as SlideShare to tell your story with case study examples.
Stay confident in your search. I’m here to help you along your path so always feel free to reach out to me. Good luck and stay confident!