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The One Piece of Advice I offer to ALL Job Seekers

Pamela Norman
December 17, 2020

Listen. It’s easy to get discouraged during a job search. It’s actually part of the process, as far as I’m concerned. But if you want to know what the single biggest challenge to finding a job in marketing is, I’m here to tell you: It’s your attitude. That’s right. It’s not about how many times you interview and don’t get called back. It’s not about how often you attend networking functions, only to feel like NO ONE is hiring. And it’s not even about getting all the way to a final round of interviews at the company you’ve always dreamed of working for, only to be rejected with zero feedback.

Nope. None of that matters. You know what does matter, though? Your attitude.

Do you give up, or do you keep going? Do you stop at 100 resume submissions, or are you willing to go to 1,000? Do you go into your interviews with an attitude of: “This is never going to work. I can’t tell a good story and don’t have the right skills.” Or, do you go into your interviews with an attitude of: “I’m going to nail this, and these clowns won’t know what him them after we’re through.”

It sounds corny, I know, and if you were hoping for more actionable advice, I’m sorry for not delivering (this time…hahah), but I get asked this question all the time. People wonder, “What am I doing wrong, and can you help me?” The first thing I always notice in these situations is their attitude. The way they communicate with their body language and their tone of voice. It just looks like someone dragging themselves through the process, and who wants to hire that?!

I get it. Looking for a job in marketing can be brutal. These are very competitive positions in a job market that hasn’t really recovered since 2008. There are candidates who have better qualifications than you now, and let me tell you…that’s something that’s going to be true for time eternal. It’s easy to feel discouraged and defeated, but you cannot.

When times get tough and you feel like you’re enduring long, painful stretches without a single call back or email or interview, you must find the strength within yourself to keep going. When it feels like you’re trying to sell something (your skills) but no one is buying, you need to convince yourself that buyers still do exist. And when you hear tons of criticism and feedback – all of it different from each other – and you don’t know what to do, you must stay true to your inner voice and proceed the best way you know how.

Everyone has a number.

The main reason I offer this advice is because if you’ve ever worked in sales before, you know that to be good, you must always be thinking in terms of numbers. To be effective in sales, you must always be motivated to make just one more phone call or send just one more email, because it takes a certain number of “touches” before you get a conversion. Sales guys – the ones who are good – understand this. They know, for example, that it takes 100 phone calls to get 5 meetings. And it takes 20 meetings to get 1 sale. For some guys, it might take 200 calls to get 3 meetings. For others, it’s 40 calls to get 10 meetings. Everyone is different, but my point is that everyone has a number.

Finding a job in marketing is basically the same thing, and instead of getting down in the dumps if things aren’t going as well as you’d like, remember that it’s got nothing to do with you. All you’re doing is trying to find your number. The one that’s right for you. And if you stop before hitting your number, all bets are off at that point.

People will always look at how you find your job as how you’ll do your job.

The other reason I offer this advice is because as a hiring manager in marketing, you’re really looking for people who are resourceful. The ones that don’t let barriers get in their way, and accomplish the mission come hell or high water. If you let a couple of bad phone calls or rejections stop you in your tracks, what kind of message are you sending to hiring managers? Always remember: “People view how you find your job very similar to how you’ll do your job.” Resourceful and willing to try something different? Good. That’s what you’ll bring to the team, and it’s something we could all use more of. Dejected and defeated after four applications don’t pan out? How will you ever cut it at our org?

If I – as the Job Hunter – have just one piece of advice to offer you, it’s just that. Stay positive. Stay focused. And whatever you do, no matter who, what, or where gets in your way, NEVER EVER NEVER GIVE UP!!!!

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