Recently I have been working with a software client to hire a Director of Marketing Communications. To jump-start the search, I posted job descriptions on my two favorite recruiting websites/services; KIT List and craigslist.
KIT (Keep In Touch) List is an email job posting service where employers and recruiters advertise permanent or consulting job opportunities to over 35,000 high-quality professionals. The company charges $29 per posting.
A cross between a community site and a job board, Craigslist caters only to a handful of cities, including Chicago, Boston, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco (where it started). Craigslist charges $75 per category for jobs located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Resumes start arriving within hours, with the highest volume on the first two days.
In the last few days I have skimmed more than one hundred resumes from marketing professionals in response to these ads. Here’s what I’ve taken away from the experience so far.
1. There is a lot of marketing talent looking for interesting challenges. Of these, many respondents to craigslist postings are consultants seeking new clients. I wonder how well this technique works for them? These resumes went right in the trash.
2. Marketing people are verbose. Save the time it requires to craft a long cover letter. With the volume of resumes recruiters receive today they can’t possibly read every word. Tiny type doesn’t help either. Use bullets and as few words as possible to highlight how your qualifications match the position’s requirements.
3. A common trend is to summarize capabilities in the first few inches of copy. What once was a few sentences highlighting the applicant's experience has expanded into a redundant list of skills and qualifications. It is hard to read, and actually a little confusing. I ignore the fluff and go right to the work history.
4. Keep your format as clean as possible. Use standard fonts, readable sizes and decent line spacing. Your resume will be easier to read, get more attention, and convey professionalism.
5. Watch out for tracked changes! I received a few resumes complete with a history of revisions. Thanks to the Track Changes feature in MS Word I was able to see the strikethroughs, underlining and balloon comments that revealed the entire editing history. Too difficult to decipher, these went in the trash. I'm not totally heartless, I emailed the sender and alerted them to the problem.
If your resume, or any other document, has this frustrating tracking problem, Microsoft offers advice on how to “Get rid of tracked changes and comments, once and for all.”
6. Strategy, concepts, and vision have a place in marketing, but what I like to see is a candidate that understands marketing’s responsibility is to deliver quantifiable business results. I look for statements like these:
> Grew leads 35%
> Reduced marketing expenses by 10%
> Contributed to record revenues achieving 25% growth over prior year.
> Instituted a closed-loop lead management processes shortening sales follow-up time by two days.
If you avoid these common mistakes and have the right qualifications, your resume will be in the top 10%. And, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you made the recruiters day a bit easier.