Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dear CR: What Am I Doing Wrong?

DEAR CAPTAIN RECRUITER,

I've been trying to find some work elsewhere. My startup isn't doing so well, and I'm finding the job market to be tough. To date I've have a couple years of experience working at a startup, and before that had a few internships in college. The bulk of my experience is in business development and online marketing. People aren't responding to job applications I submit and I don't find many opportunities for which I am qualified. Is it possible I am looking in the wrong places, my resume isn't quite as good as it needs to be, or that I just lack enough experience?

I've sent you a copy of my resume, but I'd prefer you not post it to your blog.

REGARDS,
HARLEY

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DEAR HARLEY,

I took a look at your resume, and a few things jumped out at me right away. You are talk in very general terms, buy rarely do you quantify your experience. For example, here's a line from your resume...
    Launched new corporate website, including structuring and content development

You need to be more specific about your accomplishments and experiences. If you wrote the website yourself, you could say...
    Built web page from scratch using Drupal, including SEO optimized content - site receives 1,000 hits per day from organic search results.

Dig into your resume line by line to make sure it conveys a dense amount of relevant and powerful information.

Now, as for not hearing back on applications, become aggressive. Hop on LinkedIn, identify 10 startup companies, find the person in charge of marketing or bizdev, and call them - you can likely track down the corporate phone number. If you they don't answer the phone, leave a short message like this...
    Hi X, my name is Hartie and I want to make you money - I'm a customer acquisition wizard. Shoot me and email at harties@email.address and we'll schedule a time for a 5 minute phone call. You'll see very quickly I've got what it takes to make you a boatload of money.

I bet you'll start to get responses. Even if you don't get anywhere, sales and marketing people love energy, so they'll probably give you some pointers on how to improve. Whenever I need to learn something, I start cold calling executives. A couple months ago at 5:30 p.m. on a Thursday I called Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com (a company worth $8B+) to leave him a messsage; I was almost caught by surprise when he answered his own phone. I asked Marc a direct question, he answered it, and I got what I needed. Don't be afraid to approach powerful people - most of them admire the guts.

Also, you can get introductions to interesting people through your school's alumni association. I asked my school for an introduction to the President of a Fortune 100 company, and he was more than happy to speak with me.

CHEERS,
CAPTAIN RECRUITER

1 comment:

  1. What if you have done multiple jobs but they use the same skill set? Employers seem to want to see 1 skill only. This seems backwards since we all change jobs every 1-3 years. My job titles have been recruiter, channel development, and interactive/digital producer. I carry the message, and get people to show up. My resume is very entrepreneurial, and I have been in small companies and startups. Cheers!

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