Marketing Career: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Marketing Job Seekers – Part 4
We’ve reached the fourth and final post of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Marketing Job Seekers blog series, where we take Stephen Covey’s habits and help you practically apply them to your marketing job hunt.
Today, we’ll cover “Synergize,” which is all about working together – or as the old saying goes, “two heads are better than one.” The job search doesn’t have to be a solitary chore. This habit thrives on all that networking you’ve been building upon for years.
We’ll also discuss “Sharpen the Saw,” which wraps it all together in that the job search doesn’t begin and end with the job. It must all revolve around you, your skills and your experience. The last habit works to keep you at the top of your game, even through long gaps of unemployment.
Habit 6: Synergize
Synergy comprises teamwork and open-mindedness to solve problems. Author Stephen Covey says, “Valuing the differences is the essence of synergy.”
Really, synergy centers on the whole equaling more than the parts alone. If you practice the Win/Win mentality, then you can easily synergize your job hunt.
Work together with friends, family, old schoolmates, etc. You can do more together than apart. For example, while you might not be the best editor, you may have a friend with that skill who will look over your resume or cover letter for you. Perhaps you’re better with social networking, so you can show an old colleague how to set up a value-infused LinkedIn profile for their job search.
John Bennett, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science, the McColl School of Business, Queens University of Charlotte, says, “Research tells us that between 60-80% of jobs are found through personal relationships.”
So, there’s a large chance an ex-colleague, classmate, friend or even an old teacher could be your ticket to a job offer.
Some people do not feel comfortable directly asking contacts if they know of open positions. However, there are ways to work around that.
Scott Howard, Executive Director of Operations, MECLABS, suggests asking others to review your resume for you, even if you don’t need the editing. This does two things: it indirectly tells them you’re looking for a position, and it allows them to see your credentials to know if you would qualify for any job opening they know about.
Remember, networking doesn’t have to be between one employed person and one non-employed. Job seekers can help one another too. Networking is a give and take relationship. And sometimes you have to give now, to get later. You’re probably not the only person you know on the job hunt. Be on the lookout for them, and hopefully, they’ll return the favor down the line.
Wendy Gelberg, author of “The Successful Introvert,” says, “Very few of us are walking around with jobs in our pockets, but we all have contacts and information we can share.”
Many job resources have access for only members or alumni. Maybe you know of an ex-colleague who is now interested in sports marketing. If you come across a position perfect for their credentials on your alumni job boards or professional associations’ job listing, then forward them the information. Keeping others in mind on your search will encourage them to do the same for you.
- Exchange skills of strength with network connections, such as cover letter editing in exchange for LinkedIn profile redesign
- Work with other job seekers to join resources together to create a synergized job search
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Here’s how Covey describes habit 7 – “Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle.”
You should work to better yourself on three dimensions: mental, social/emotional and physical. This is a great habit to keep in mind no matter what your job status might be.
Mentally, you should look for ways to enhance current skills or learn new ones. Take an online course, attend a conference in your field, or keep up on the latest trends through case study and how-to articles.
If you specialize in email marketing, have you earned a certificate in that area to really highlight your expertise? The digital world is here, have you learned the ins and outs of social media? Learning a new online skill might help set you apart from other candidates. Knowing a second language could do this as well.
While learning and practicing skills is a job search necessity, job seekers should consider three options that not only help sharpen their skills and provide real-world application and experience, but also help avoid large gaps in a resume: internships, volunteering and contract/freelance work.
Internships, for entry-level or more experienced workers, can offer great opportunities while unemployed. They can work as a foot in the door for many, as “52% of companies are likely to hire interns as full-time, permanent employees,” according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
In the article, “10 Things to Do While You’re Unemployed,” Karen Burns says, “An internship is also a good venue to practice new skills, build a portfolio, and (where have we heard this before?) build your network.”
Volunteering is another great way to bridge gaps in your resume and create new contacts. “6 ways to Fill Up a Major Resume Gap” puts it this way, “Spend time each week volunteering for a non-profit organization. Create weekly newsletters for the organization, coordinate fundraising events, or help write grants. This will help you gain invaluable experience that will look great to future employers and will help you meet new people and expand your network.”
For example, joining the communications committee of a local marathon fundraiser may put you in contact with other communication professionals, allowing you to network and create leads to job opportunities.
Contract/freelance work might be preferred choices for many, as they come with a paycheck, however small those might be. The route you take this is completely up to you.
You can venture on your own, creating on online portfolio, or you can simply join an established freelancing online network that will match you to assignments. Either way, you are gaining experience, earning money, and placing active work on your resume.
In her article about how to explain long-term unemployment in a job interview, Amy Levin-Epstein says, “Emphasizing freelance work or volunteer work is the ideal way to articulate that you have been making an effort to keep your skills current and contribute in some capacity.”
In addition to working on your experience and skills, Scott recommends you should also ask for feedback from job interviews. Be warned, you will not always receive a response. But, the feedback you do receive could be instrumental in readjusting your interview approach and techniques. Consistently renew your resources and energy to be on the top of your job searching game.
For the social/emotional dimension, job seekers focus on networking, as discussed in Habit 6. Keep in touch with old colleagues and classmates. Social networking makes this easy. Regularly reach out on LinkedIn, Twitter or another network to keep the dialogue open. The conversation shouldn’t start with, “Do you have a job for me?” Gradually develop and redevelop those relations for long-term use.
Donna Rosato, Money Magazine senior writer, recommends several ways to network, even for those who hate to network. One suggestion she makes is to schedule a lunch.
She says, “Yep, that meal with your former co-worker counts, even if it was just fun. (Especially if it was fun.) Even if you talked more about your wretched ex-boss than your career. Networking is not a constant series of mini-interviews. It’s a gradual process of building trust with people (maybe not that ex-boss) as well as just letting them know what you are up to these days. Aim for one lunch a week.”
Scott also warns job seekers not to forget the physical dimension. Exercise helps to reduce stress — a frequent emotion for many job seekers. He further suggests that you “take time for yourself.” As important as finding a job is, you cannot focus all your energy on it alone.
- Learn new skills through online courses, conferences in your field, or the latest industry case study and how-to articles
- Enhance your skills with internships, volunteering, freelance work or one of these other things to do while unemployed
And that concludes our break down of how all seven of Stephen Covey’s habits can wholly transfer to the job hunt. To end, we have one last piece of advice from Scott Howard:
“Walk in [to the interview] to understand, coming in with a Win/Win attitude, and end by sharpening the saw by learning for future interviews.”