This is a guest post from William Tincup. William is a Virgo if you’re wondering, but more importantly he’s a Marketing Badass and co-founder of Starr Tincup. I’ve underlined badass because the dude is just plain raw. Starr Tincup aims to forcefully bring innovation into Human Capital Marketing, and if you haven’t been to their website yet I suggest doing so ASAP. The website is edgy and hilarious, yet proves they are a force to be reckoned with. Connect with William on Twitter, be his buddy on Facebook, do a Linkedin dance with him, and check out Starr Tincup.
If you are a college student or recent graduate, here’s what you are up against. I’ve been hiring people for over 20 years now, so I can size up a candidate during an in-person interview in about three minutes or less. The hard part is weeding through the lying and desperate candidates to find decent folks to interview. When reviewing resumes, I tend to look for three things – leadership, passion and risk taking. If a candidate doesn’t have any of these – shred, shred, shred – no interview. If they have one or more, they at least get a second look. That’s my process, but everyone that hires has a unique way to filter resumes.
Intimidated? You shouldn’t be, but you should get your shit together. Consider these 20 tips when applying to marketing, advertising or PR jobs:
(Quick editorial note – William wrote this for marketing, advertising, and PR peeps, but his advice is helpful to all 20 somethings – seriously)
1. Dump your GPA. Other than your mom and dad, no one gives a damn. Delete.
2. One-page resumes rock. Two-page resumes are for folks who can’t edit themselves. And people who ramble suck.
3. “Objective” on a resume is a deal killer. Put that content in a thoughtful cover letter and customize it for the interviewer, their firm and the position you are applying for. The key here is personalization.
4. High school is over. Once you have made it to your sophomore year in college, strike any mention of anything you did in high school. No one cares that you played Macbeth your sophomore year.
5. Streamline academic filler. After you have made it to your final semester in college, delete all academic filler content like classes you attended, your very important VP position within your sorority, etc. The only thing that matters at that point is your graduation date, degree and school name. Get it down to 2 – 3 lines of content.
6. Build a creative brand for yourself. Think about it – if you are seriously thinking about a career in the creative world of marketing and your resume looks like someone that just visited the state-run employment agency, should you really get that interview? No.
7. Be yourself. Just be genuine – online, in your phone conversations, on paper, during the interview. Most people make the mistake of trying to be people that they aren’t. The risk, of course, is that you will be found out as a complete fraud.
8. Play to your strengths. Apply to jobs where you have a fighting chance of being successful. If you are a terrible writer, then don’t apply to a gig where writing is going to be 70% of the job. No one wins in that scenario.
9. Do your homework. When you interview, research the person interviewing you, the firm and the role. Come prepared with questions. Show up early to the interview – 10 minutes is the norm – any earlier than that and it creates pain for the organization. Outdress everyone in the office. It doesn’t matter what corporate culture they have – dress nicely. And remember to smile.
10. Quality is job one. Focus your job search on quality matches NOT quantity. Does anyone think that applying to 100 jobs a day really works? Of course it doesn’t. Only desperate people apply scattershot.
11. Smart candidates send thank you notes. That includes both in email form as well as the old fashioned ones.
12. If you are still in college, intern early and often. Candidates that have intern experience on their resume far outperform those that don’t.
13. Practice interviewing. I know, I know – sounds retarded but trust me… practice answering the basic HR “where do you see yourself in five years” question. Imagine you saying “such as, Iraqs globals…” – that’s you if you don’t practice answering questions.
14. Be yourself 2.0. Here’s the thing: if you don’t think recruiters and/or hiring managers look you up via social media before they schedule your interview, then I can’t know you because you are retarded. Of course they do. They won’t admit to it, but they scour Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google to find out shit about you. So, here’s the rub… you recently became a fan of the “Make Bongwater Cologne” group in Facebook. No value judgment here. It is what it is. People are going to know all about you.
15. Glassdoor. Google the company before you interview. Spend hours stalking any firm that you interview with.
16. An “interview” is a two-way street. Tough concept, but you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.
17. Be nice. If someone offers you a cup of water during your interview, take them up on it. In fact, I prefer candidates that ask for water before the interview starts.
18. Don’t say anything negative about a former employer, boss or mentor. Classless act. Platitudes are the way to go.
19. Practice the drive to the interview. Get to know the local environment, and act like you’ve been there. Cuts down on the deer-in-the-headlights syndrome.
20. Be confident. If you’re desperate for a job, stop interviewing. Desperate people suck, and interviewers are skilled at rooting out lame people. Practice a solid handshake and maintain eye contact during the interview.