Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Want a job?

Sorry, there aren't any.

Not at the moment anyway, but we hope to be hiring again soon. Everybody wants to know how to make their media planning more efficient in a downturn, but unfortunately we're caught up in the same hiring restrictions as the rest of UK media.

With that in mind, here's my top five tips for making a good impression. Not necessarily the most important things, but hopefully five that you won't find on every university careers advisor's 'how to apply for a job' crib sheet.

1. Don't turn up early

Actually, that's a lie. Do turn up early, just make it 5-10 minutes early, not 30-40. I can't believe the number of interviewees where I get the call from reception well over half an hour before the start of the interview. Seriously, there's a Pret over the road, have a coffee. You're just going to be left in reception twiddling your thumbs and it's not even that nice a place to sit.

2. Short CV with bullets

Two sides of A4. The only reason it's two is because white space is important, hence the bullet points. Make it easy to read. Paragraphs of text are bad.

You probably spent hours carefully crafting that CV. Its job is to get you an interview and that's it. It will succeed or fail at that job in about 30 seconds - whoever's hiring has got a stack of 10 CVs and twenty minutes to read them and then phone the recruitment agency to arrange interviews.

3. Don't let a recruitment consultant reformat your CV

Didn't know they do that? Well they do.
You've carefully laid out a beautiful CV (with white space and bullet points) and they copy and paste it directly onto their company headed Word template. The margins are all wrong, your tables get screwed up and it looks a mess.

If you possibly can, give the recruiter a PDF. They won't be capable enough to transfer it to another format and if they are, then chances are they'll get the formatting right.

4. Don't use a recruiter

Especially in these times of cut backs. If you know which agencies you might want to approach, then do it directly. Given a choice between two identical candidates, we'll pick the one where we don't have to pay a fee. It also makes a much better impression.

90% of recruitment consultants are annoying 90% of the time, so if you do use one, pick a good one. If you don't think much of them when you meet, then whoever they're sending your CV to probably doesn't either, so give yourself the best chance. Having said that, there are a few truly excellent recruiters out there.

5. You've looked on the company website. Well done.

Everybody does that now. Still better than not doing it, but if you want to stand out when asked the question 'do you know what we do here' (if you're a graduate applicant, you will get asked that question in some form) then it's going to take a little bit more.

Buy the last couple of copies of Campaign, look on Brand Republic and find something recent to talk about that the company has done. Have they won any awards? Won a new client? Lost one? Actually, best not mention if they've lost one. If they seem to have lost a few recently, do you really want to work there?

Finally, if you want a job as a marketing analyst, good luck and I hope we'll be back in a position to talk soon!

No comments: