Job Search/Career Tips for Marketers

From, here are some job search tips for marketers. I'm OK with most of it. But number 5..."resumes are dead" is dead wrong. Resumes don't sit in a pile anywhere. They sit in a searchable database and this is the first place a recruiter goes when looking for a candidate. So, not only are they not dead, they are more leverageable than ever (not sure if leverageable is a word but humor me just his once, OK?). Keywords are what you need to think about when writing your resume. Think like this: "the recruiter that is working on filling my dream job...what are the keywords they might search on when looking for a candidate to fill the job?" Then use those keywords on your resume. (hint: find that dream job description on a company career page? Use keywords from it).

Perhaps better advice than telling people "resumes are dead" would be telling them that "resumes may not be enough anymore". Because of the Internet, recruiters and hiring managers have more search tools at their disposal than ever before. Where they used to collect that stack of resumes received as responses to a print ad (remember those?), they now have databases (in house and out), search engines, user groups, conference lists, etc. Frankly, no recruiter will ever exhaust what is out there. So my advice: be in the resume database of your top companies AND make yourself visible on the Internet. I would worry less about putting together a portfolio than making sure you are visible within your industry space (like speaking at conferences, getting involved in professional organizations). As a recruiter, I find online portfolios to be a bit fluffy, usually. I can tell so much more about their fit with our company or a job by talking to them on the phone. A good recruiter will make that call.

Comments (5)

  1. Maurits says:

    One technique sites use to capture traffic is to purposely include invisible misspellings of their primary keywords. For example, a site selling toasters might include "toster" in their (invisible) "keywords" section.

    Any potential utility in doing this on our resumes?

  2. Heather says:

    Maurits-Since resumes here are converted to .txt files, nothing is hidden, so that wouldn’t work (I could be wrong…I’m so not a techie). As far as web resumes, I don’t really think it would help. If a recruiter mis-spells a word in their search string, they generally find out about it pretty quickly ("why aren’t any of these people COBOL programmers? Oops, I typed in COBALT programmers"…just a little mainframe humor). Plus the searching population of recruiters is small relative to the general public that could be using a google or an MSN Search. To catch a recruiter mis-spelling a specific word in a specific way…not very likely. I understand why it’s a tactic for general search terms, I just don’t think that there’s enough recruiter traffic to make it make sense for resumes.

    But you did make me think of something else, so I am glad you asked. You should think about the different ways that terms are used/represented. Acronyms are an example. Let’s say that you develop database software and you are looking for a product management job with our SQL team. Sure, you should have the word "database" on your resume…but what about DBMS, RDBM, DB, etc. Consider that recruiters may look up the technology in different ways. As someone who searches often, I’ll try the most specific search term to see what I get and then widen it. So, I would try "RDMS" before I would try DB. The latter would generate too much search noise that I don’t want. Anyway, it’s just good to think about how someone might search for you. Good question.

  3. Pradeep says:

    One stupid qn coming up.

    The examples you used to elucidate Keyword searches suggest a functional slant towards searching. Which I am guessing would provide one with an overwhelming list of "hits".

    So the qn is – what biases would actually refine a search?

    Eg. RDBMS + "Product Manager" + MBA

    or would the bias go to the extent of naming certain universities / Firms/ certifications/ location etc.

    I call it biases in this post – but its just a simple search filter that recruiters tend to use that – I am trying to understand.

    let me elucidate. If you were looking for a great action movie to watch on DVD and havent watched any in 2004 (spiderman 2 is the way to go….)

    You search for "action movie" + 2004" Google doesnt give you spiderman 2 in the first 10 links!!

    If you changed it to "action movie+2004+Columbia. the latter will give you Spiderman 2 within the first 2 links…

    There yu go – One stupid qn with a stupid example too 🙂

    And you’d think With great power, would come great responsibility. Hmmm

  4. Heather says:

    Hey Pradeep-your questions are never stupid! I think different recruiters use different approaches to selecting keywords. My team (along with Gretchen and Zoe’s) are kind of the internert search SWAT teams. We do it more and so we own some of the best practices around boolean searching here at MS. I don’t want to speak for everyone, but we have a lot of experience on our teams in this area.

    OK, so for me, I rarely go to the extent of naming Universities. An MBA is great, for example. Job descriptions often list it as "preferred". But as far as I am concerned, equivalent experience is just as good. So, if I were to use universities as keywords, I would be eliminating some of the folks with equivalent experience from my results. It’s too limiting in my opinion. If a manager were to tell me that he only wants people from X university, I would tell him that my goal is to find the person who can do the job and unless there’s evidence that the person only went to that one university, it’s not a requirement.

    I rarely search on certifications UNLESS I am searching for someone who works in a niche area and there is a certification that corresponds with that area. I don’t really do that kind of niche searching now, but I have in the past. It’s challenging to find folks with those "just-right" skills so you really have to leverage those keywords (networking is super-important in recruiting these kinds of roles as well).

    Locations-I don’t really use it. We do a lot of relocating of folks. Seattle isn’t that big of a market that we can rely only on local talent. We do hire people locally, but many, many are from outside of the Seattle metro area. As far as pools of skills in certain geographies (for example, Silicon Valley has great tech marketing talent), it’s just not specific enough. Every geography that has strong marketing talent also has a lot of other talent that doesn’t fit what we are looking for. I’m strictly talking about boolean searches here. I have different thoughts around doing events by geogrpahy and will share some of that later.

    Company names-yes, definitely. I would say the most important part of my, or any recruiter’s, job is knowing that competitive landscape. When we are looking at competitors, we are thinking about a couple things:

    1)which companies have good talent—that means what companies do a good job of recruiting and a good job of investing in talent development

    2)scope of work-this is about budget, installed base, market size, etc.

    3)in the same market space as us-they understand the challenges of the market, the competitive landscape.

    4) break new markets-this could mean smaller or start-up companies. Innovative thinking, risk taking are valued here

    This isn’t an exhaustive lists…just some of the reasons why company names could be important key words in a search of resumes and how recruiters tend to think about competitive companies as part of a search strategy. Recruiters have to make the call on this based on the type of role. For example, a marketing position in a smaller, start-up product group could indicate a different list of competitors than if the the group was larger with a bigger installed base and more market recognition. It’s definitely not a science at all.

    Recruiters tend to do multiple searches for the same role. We generally build a search string, see what we get, tweak, re-run it. You keep going until you find that your searches are bringing up the same resumes or until you find the folks you are looking for.

    Great question as always Pradeep…keep ’em coming!

  5. Pradeep says:

    Thanx for ur answers – Now I guess I’d ask what in ur opinion are "companies with good talent" and have u open a whole can of worms 🙂 … or for the politically correct ppl out there – "Which firms have historically provided you candidates which have outperformed the average candidates from other firms?"

    The rest of this note is not even related to this blog – but Since we were talking geographies here….

    ABC Action News, while reminding me that its going to be sleet and freezing rain all day tomorrow while we drive to work – just said we – at Philadelphia rank #2 in the Nation as being the fattiest and least healthy. Hey The whole world love our Cheesesteak Dont they – and Kraft even has a Cream Cheese named after the city!

    The only city fatter = Houston!

    Why Should this interest you?

    on the other end of the spectrum – the most fittest and least fattest? – Seattle!

    Cant play golf, tennis or run out cos of the rain – and you ppl rank up there! Go figure.

    There ya go – Ive armed u with data to brag more abt the city 🙂

    PS: The Eagles rock and the Steelers are the best 🙂 heheheh

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