When the competition is strong, you need to work extra hard to land the job. It takes perseverance and commitment and a willingness to act upon feedback from employers that may have already rejected your application. The process can be brutal, and you will need support along the way from your friends and family, together with a resilience to withstand the knock-backs, pick yourself up and try again. But when you are successful it will feel even sweeter.
Hone your application: Bias-free online applications exist to ensure that the selection process is discrimination-free and filters candidate viability via experience and skills. These are the sections you need to focus upon. Being specific with targeted responses that provide quantitative data in terms of, for example, the click-through-rate of your most recent online ads campaign or the data on the user experience in relation to your social media advertising, helps to establish your success in previous campaigns.
Research like a pro: It’s not enough to scan the job advert and know ‘something’ about the business you are applying for. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to have a deep understanding of not only the position on offer but the values and mission of the employer. Following the business on social media offers a platform for getting a feel for the employer brand and the current projects that are underway. If you have connections in the business, then show interest by making contact and establishing a dialogue based upon current strategy and thinking.
Build a professional online profile: LinkedIn is a leading professional networking site. Many recruiters will look up candidates via this platform or indeed approach them because they have an impressive online presence. Ensuring that you keep this up to date, relevant and on point is a great way of showcasing your talents and establishing that you have a wide array of contacts within the sector. It’s even better if your page highlights client or employer recommendations for the work you have done.
Gain experience and skills: If you have been rejected from similar roles then it’s important that you act upon feedback. If this relates to a lack of experience in a particular area, then the chances are it is the reason you won’t get your next role too. With determination and a strategy, you can fill the gap by acquiring the necessary skills, either by asking your existing employer for exposure in that area or seeking the help of a mentor. If you are lacking a particular qualification, start a dialogue with your boss about ways you can achieve it and whether a day release to college or on-the-job training can plug the gaps.
Network and build your connections: Establishing a name for yourself in the industry as someone that follows best practice, delivers results, shows strong emotional intelligence, integrity and exciting creative ideas can be achieved by building a solid professional network where you can gain industry insight, marketing knowledge, gather latest thinking and importantly understand who the key players in your field are. You never know when you will be facing an interview panel in which one of the selectors is someone you have met previously. Speaking at events, being part of a roundtable, attending talks and conferences are all good ways to become a formidable part of the sector in which you work.
Join a professional body: Membership of a marketing body is a great way of signalling professionalism and commitment to the industry. As a member you will be sent updates on industry events, new qualifications, and networking opportunities. Keeping abreast of all these opportunities and new thinking will show that you are the consummate marketing professional.
Line up references: It’s important to have references agreed before you approach the recruitment process. Asking permission from your boss, client or other stakeholder is not only polite but also necessary if you need to acquire references within a particular timeframe. Pick carefully who you ask. Are they reliable? Do they need to be reminded several times to act? Will their reference be favourable? It might be that your immediate boss is not the right choice and if this is the case, you can reach out to another work colleague. A reference from HR should detail the facts about your employment including leaving salary, position and tenure of employment rather than details about your performance.
When the competition is tough and you are one of many, a job won’t land if you don’t put the necessary work in. A thorough understanding of the role on offer and how your skills and experience match is the only starting point. Ensuring that your professional online profile doesn’t reveal any howlers or disappointments is also vital, as is deploying the skills of your profession, marketing yourself favourably both in your application and at the interview.