Finding a job – it’s great when you find a great role but it is hard to compete.

Industries are saturated every year with people applying for the same roles you are. How do you make yourself stand out so you can snag that perfect position?

Michael King, the founder of King Recruiting, had a conversation with Jason Miller about promoting yourself in a crowded industry.

This session was presented at This Just Works, the digital anti-conference. You can see the full session (and 14 other talks) by registering here with code TJWAG2020.

“I’ve got some really big questions that I know that are on the minds of our audience. And I know that you’re just the person to answer. So I will dive right in,” says Jason.

When hundreds and hundreds of people are applying for roles, how does one stand out in this in today’s space?

You have to look at it as kind of like an ABM (account-based marketing) approach. This isn’t a mass email campaign. You’re not just applying for all these roles and sitting back to see who responds. You have to target specific companies and specific roles. And don’t just hit the apply button – take a step back and see who this role reports to.

Look at that person’s profile. Do you have any mutual connections that could introduce you? When there’s no face-to-face interview process, companies are really leaning towards people that come from referrals. So you want to try to leverage all that to get the foot in the door.

If you can find out who the role reports to, and you have a connection with them, be proactive. Send them a nice email and work samples to separate yourself from everyone who’s just hitting the apply button and sitting back to wait.

If you want a job you really have to go after it. You can’t be shy, you’ve to ask for help.

Next question – how do you make your resume and LinkedIn profile stand out?

Double-check all of the information and endorsements, basically all of the content you have on your profile.

My biggest pet peeve is that people don’t do this. I’ll get a resume from somebody, I’ll pull up their LinkedIn profile and I’ll see that the title is different or the dates are different. If I’m a hiring manager, I call those pink flags, when things don’t match.

I’ve seen some pretty wild resumes of people like doing infographics on themselves, and then there’s just the beautiful classic resume. What do you think works best? Should you try to do something kitschy and different or should you stick to the classic?

First of all, do not include a picture on your resume. I just like the classic resume. The more creative resumes should fit the role and company they go to. But overall, I just love the classic resume full of results and accomplishments.

When looking at companies and new roles, what do you recommend someone starts off with? Do they go to a big company and learn that corporate structure? Or do they go to a small startup company and learn how to be a little bit more scrappy before they graduate into that bigger corporate world? What do you recommend for a marketer?

There’s no perfect blueprint. If you’re lucky enough to go to a startup, the key is making sure you have a mentor.

If you go to a startup as a very junior person coming in, just make sure whoever you’re reporting to is going to be a great mentor. Because in a start-up, you’re going to learn so much that you never knew you would, because things are constantly changing and you’re gonna have to think on your feet. As your career progresses, you can maybe go to a big company, because after 10 or 12 years, it’s good to have a mix of big and small.

What sort of things do people need to consider when they’re looking at these companies? What do they wish they’d be focused on there?

Funding. Make sure the company you’re looking at is well-funded and honest about their cash flow.

Another thing I tell people is the old racetrack saying – “when you go to the racetrack you pick the jockey or you pick the horse.” I’ve always picked the jockey. When I look at successful first time CEOs, I just go, wow, I’d want to go join that person, especially as a marketer.

Do they understand marketing? Do they value marketing? That gets tough sometimes when you join a first time CEO that’s very tech-driven and product-driven. Do they really value marketing? Do they understand marketing, it can be an uphill battle. So those are the kind of things you really want to look at before you make that jump.

What about the marketing manager who’s looking to level up to a VP of Marketing and go into one of these roles? Is there a skill that they need more than another in this case? What is that? What does their skill set look like before they’re ready to make that jump?

Be a well-rounded marketer. Marketing is about driving revenue. If you want to be a VP at a Series A company, the majority of those people that are getting those roles came up through demand generation. The majority of Series A companies want to drive revenue, and that needs a demand generation person. So you really, you need to have a strong demand background.

Going back to mentors – do you think that enough marketers take that seriously? And when do you know that you need a coach?

The smartest people I know are always learning. I always tell people that you need to have your go-to person just to bounce things off. From day one, I mean once you’re out of college, you should always try to find people you can learn from.

I think it’s interesting when a marketer gets into a new role and they might be afraid to ask for help or look for a mentor because they think they’re supposed to know everything. And that’s not the case. It’s a bit of imposter syndrome, which is a huge topic right now for marketers. So I’m constantly learning to let my guard down and not try to do everything myself and always be learning in this growth mindset.

So here’s the million-dollar question (and the last question I have for you) – what’s the one thing that marketers can do to grow their career? What’s the most important thing you think they can focus on?

In 2016 I decided to write this article. And I titled it, ‘Chase Companies, Not Money or Titles.’ To me, to grow your career, you need to be a good brand company. And I’m not talking about Google or Apple as big brand companies. You need to go to companies that are on the rise, even if you might have to take a lower title or a little bit less cash. But if you go to that company, and they become successful in the next 2-3 years, you may never look for a job again.

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