Selena Blue

Marketing Career: 7 habits of highly effective marketing job seekers – part 1

December 2nd, 2011

It’s a tough job market out there. According to Bernhart Associates’ Quarterly Digital and Direct Marketing Employment Report, only 40% of companies reported plans to add staff in the fourth quarter, down from 52% at the beginning of the year. And while decreasing numbers may tempt you to apply for every marketing job you do find, that’s certainly not the most effective way to conduct your job search.

You know from your marketing experience that “batch and blast” and “dialing for dollars” doesn’t work, so why spam potential employers? Instead, prioritize your job search by focusing on positions that will get you on the career path you have in mind to effectively get the most out of each resume you send.

This is where Steven Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People comes in. While not a job seeker advice book, Covey’s book does outline seven habits that easily and wholly apply to the job hunting process. Over the course of four blog posts, I will explain each habit and provide useful ways to apply each to your job search.

I have also spoken with Scott Howard, Executive Director of Operations, MECLABS, and a big fan of Covey’s book. Scott oversees all operations across MECLABS Primary and Applied Research groups, including hiring approximately 60 new employees over the next year. He was kind enough to share some additional job seeking tips you can derive from the “7 Habits.”



Covey describes being proactive as “more than merely taking initiative.” We must understand and accept that we are responsible for our own lives. Doing so, our actions will become functions of our own decisions, not of the conditions in which we find ourselves.

What does that mean for a job seeker? You must take responsibility for not only your job search but for your career, as well. A decision about a current job will determine the path your career will take down the road. You may not control your boss, the job market or your company’s layoff, but you do have control over yourself and your job search. Either you can simply react to a situation with a “woe is me” attitude, or you can be proactive, make value-based choices or responses, and take control of your life.

The chart below shows how a proactive job seeker responds to the conditions around them. It displays just four of the many proactive responses you can take in response to some of your job troubles.


Notice the third and fourth stimuli: “Bad Boss” and “No Promotion Potential.” You don’t have to be unemployed to look for a new position. In a recent blog post, “How to overcome dissatisfaction in marketing jobs,” I outlined a few options for those with little to no promotion potential and those unhappy with upper management.

For both the employed and unemployed, it’s important to stay on top of industry trends. Marketing is an ever-changing field, so take time to brush up on what’s working now and what’s not. That’s one reason for MarketingSherpa’s Benchmark Reports. Senior Reporter Adam T. Sutton has written several posts breaking down the top tactics presented in these reports for a few marketing areas: social media marketing, B2B inbound marketing or search marketing.

Another way to take control of your job search is to utilize all avenues. Networking is a very important tool to use in your search. Whether using old contacts or creating new ones at industry events, networking opens doors for many. I like to think of social media as a digital way to network. You can use hashtags to find jobs or follow Twitter accounts dedicated to posting marketing jobs. I will focus on networking more in a subsequent post.

While on my job hunt, I found it easiest to maximize my time and energy by staying organized. I did this by creating a “job hunt” bookmark folder on my laptop.

Though websites like provide a mountain of jobs for each search, you can sometimes weed through more duds than relevant opportunities. Every day, in addition to, I would look at professional associations’ job banks, big employers I was interested in, marketing-specific job boards, alumni job postings, etc.  The bookmark folder made it easy to keep up with all the sites and prevented me from missing any potential postings.

Scott Howard says your proactive nature should shine through in the interview, as well. Go to the interview prepared, knowing about the company and position. In the past, Scott has taken a notebook into interviews with him. In it, he brought questions for the interviewer, samples of work and paper on which to write notes.

Key Takeaways:

  • Take responsibility. Search all avenues to find your job: networking, job boards, career sites, newspapers, cold letters, social media, etc.
  • Focus on what you can control. Improve your skills while job hunting, take an online course, network at industry events, and read up on the latest industry news.
  • Go to the interview prepared.  Bring questions, samples of work, paper to write on, and knowledge of the company and position.

Next Friday, I will delve into Covey’s second and third habits: “Begin with the End in Mind,” and “Put First Things First.” These two habits work hand-in-hand to bring focus to your job search.

Related Resources: 

MarketingSherpa Marketing Careers Newsletter – Receive weekly updates about new marketing jobs every week

Marketing Career: How to overcome dissatisfaction in marketing jobs

Personal Branding: The five elements of being seen as a thought leader through crowdsourcing

Marketing Career: How to become an indispensable asset to your company (even in a bad economy)


Selena Blue

About Selena Blue

Selena Blue, Partnership Content Manager, MECLABS As Partnership Content Manager, Selena crafts various content to serve MECLABS Partners. From writing books on customer insights to building PowerPoint decks, she creates stories around our Partners’ successes and experiment discoveries to aid their marketing optimization transformation. Prior to her current position, she started at MECLABS as copy editor, then moved into a writing role as reporter. Selena holds a B.S. in communications and an M.S. in integrated marketing and management communications, both from Florida State University.

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