GMT NewYork London Moscow Tokyo Sydney

Jul

12

2017

How Takeout Improved Our Candidate Experience: A HubSpot Experiment

Published by in category Daily, hiring | Comments are closed

Takeout-recruiting-compressor.jpg

Here at HubSpot, we take culture pretty seriously. After all, we have an entire code dedicated to it, and it doesn’t just apply to our internal environment — it also shows up when we’re recruiting new people to join our team. We have an inbound recruiting mission of attracting top talent through a world-class candidate experience.

That’s why, one January night that started like any other — watching Netflix in my pajamas and eating chicken tikka masala from my favorite Indian takeout joint — I decided to respond to a mobile customer satisfaction survey from the food delivery platform that I use, called Grubhub.

Grubhubsurvery.png

I had been thinking a lot about mobile, and how it could play a role in our inbound recruiting efforts at HubSpot. So, when I got an automated text that night saying “Grubhub here! Tell us about your order from India Quality Restaurant,” I wanted to know: How could we recreate that kind of seamless experience for HubSpot’s candidates? Boost your resume and join 30,000 marketers by getting inbound  marketing-certified for free from HubSpot. Get started here. 

So read on — and find out how takeout inspired our approach to recruiting and interviewing.

How Takeout Improved Our Candidate Experience

The Hypothesis

We all know that texting for business is nothing new. You might get a text message when you pay your wireless, make a hair appointment, or confirm a time slot at the dentist. But texting hasn’t played a role in HubSpot’s recruiting and hiring process since its earliest days, when developer recruiting was essentially managed on one VP’s smart phone.

Eleven years later, whether or not a candidate receives or accepts an offer to work at HubSpot at the end of her interview process, we want her to enjoy their time with us. That experience has a big impact on whether or not candidates advocate for HubSpot in the future, the Glassdoor reviews they leave, and the likelihood that they refer friends or pursue future opportunities with us. That’s why we ask for feedback — so we can learn how we can improve. And until recently, we used what we called a Net Promoter Score survey (NPS), that was distributed via email.

But when you consider that, today, people spend more time browsing on mobile than they do on desktop, we couldn’t help but wonder if following up with candidates via text, instead of emailing them for feedback, would make it that much easier and engaging for them to actually respond.

So, we came up with a bit of a unique hypothesis: If our candidate NPS survey was more like Grubhub’s, and the survey was sent via mobile instead of email, response rates would increase. The objective, then, was to get a higher volume and quality of feedback that could enable us to even better improve the recruiting experience.

The Experiment

The Candidate NPS Survey Today: Email

When candidates globally have a face-to-face interview with HubSpot, they receive an automated email at 7:00 PM that evening with a link to take a short survey with three questions:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend HubSpot to a friend based on your experience?
  2. Which department did you interview with?
  3. Anything else you’d like to share with us?

CandidateEmailSurvey1.png

From there, my colleague Danielle McLellan analyzes the results and synthesizes the feedback, so the recruiting team has some tangible insights into what is (not) working well.

For context, the response rate to date on the email survey hovers around 55%.

The Introduction of Mobile

There was just one hiccup with implementing my mobile survey distribution idea: I’m not mobile development savvy, so executing an automated text survey was pretty foreign. But, I could still perform research with the best of ’em, so I gathered some information on mobile survey vendors, and chatted with HubSpot’s developer team about the feasibility of two options:

  1. Buying the tech to create this feedback system.
  2. Building that tech internally for the same purpose.

We ended up going with a scrappy, but reliable, solution that combined two platforms: Textit.in + Twilio.

Textit.in is a mobile messaging platform with pretty intuitive usability. You build a visual workflow of the desired text series, upload contacts’ phone numbers, and schedule the workflow to start at a certain time and date. While it’s not highly sophisticated, for the purposes of this experiment, it provided the solution we needed.

Twilio, a cloud communications platform, provided us with a virtual phone number that could easily be connected to Textit.in. All in all, this technology cost us about $60, showing how frugally something like this experiment could be replicated by other marketers.

Only candidates interviewing in our Cambridge office received the mobile survey, as establishing an international virtual phone number would have required additional steps that, considering our deadline, time simply didn’t permit. That said, we had a population of roughly 220 Cambridge candidates to work with.

The Process

We ran the experiment from February 13 – March 31. Once the technology was up and running, here’s how it worked:

  1. Collect Phone Numbers. Our recruiting coordinators added candidates’ mobile phone numbers to a shared Google spreadsheet by 4:00 PM daily, with information like the candidate’s full name, date of her face-to-face interview, and the department she interviewed with.
  2. Schedule Text Workflow. I then imported that information into Textit.in, and set up a workflow to have that group of contacts receive the mobile feedback survey via text at 7:00 PM on the evening of their respective interviews. To make sure we didn’t change any variables aside from the method of communication, we kept the following variables consistent across all messages:
    • Time of send.
    • The series of questions asked of candidates, with the exception of one trigger question: “Hi, HubSpot CareerBot here! Thanks for interviewing today, we’d love your feedback. Will you answer a few quick questions about your experience? Y/N”. (By the way — shout out to my colleague Noah Gilman for coming up with the “CareerBot” name.)
  3. Collect results. I then created another spreadsheet to track the following results:
    • Who did (not) respond to the survey.
    • Each person’s NPS score.
    • Any open-ended comments.
  4. Analyze results. McLellan analyzed those results to look for patterns and other actionable outcomes.

CandidateMobileNPS-1.png

For the sake of privacy, the above example isn’t one from an actual candidate, but one that I made up to illustrate how the system works — though, the part about Dave’s beard is true.

Results

Takeout recruiting results.png

As predicted, the volume of responses to the mobile surveys outnumbered those from email considerably. Even better: We saw an improvement to our percentage of promoters and the overall candidate NPS score via this medium.

And thanks to the higher volume of responses, we also were able to gain better insights from more open-ended comments. We observed that, no matter what the medium, our recruiters were receiving high praise from candidates, and — although, yes, I’m biased — the best part of this experiment was getting to read that feedback. Here are a few of our favorites:

Julia Blatt and Kelsey Freedman were awesome coordinators and made my day great! Everything was timely and went smoothly. Thanks to Becky, Gus and Amy!”

The entire interview experience was amazing. The recruiter was flexible to accommodate my scheduling requests at every stage of the interview. I was well informed on each stage of the interview which certainly helps the preparation. The follow ups have been prompt and timely.”

My recruiter, Noah, has done an absolutely amazing job throughout the process. Very transparent and informative. Send him my thanks.”

(P.S. We’re hiring.)

Next Steps and Takeaways

Across the board, the mobile results indicate an improved follow-up experience for candidates — and that candidates are more likely to give us feedback via mobile. And based on these positive results from the experiment, we know there’s a place for mobile in our recruiting process … and that there could be in yours, too. Remember the statistic from above about how many people are browsing on mobile than desktop? Keep that in mind next time you’re looking to improve a user experience.

We’ll continue to carry out additional tests of this kind to collect more directional benchmarks — things like language modification, timing, and scalable technology. Also, we’d like to expand the experiment to our global offices and will be formulating a timeline and corresponding plan to do so.

If you’re curious about what else is going on in our world of inbound recruiting, check out the Move On Up blog, which gives readers a peek inside culture and careers at HubSpot.

And in the meantime — I would highly recommend India Quality Restaurant to a friend.

How has your team enhanced its recruiting experience? Let us know about your best experiments in the comments –and hey, we might even feature it on our blog.

download free guide to company culture

Powered by WPeMatico

Jun

10

2017

How HubSpot, Moz, Buffer, and TrackMaven Staff Their Content Teams

Published by in category Content Marketing, Daily, hiring | Comments are closed

content-teams-structure-compressed.jpg

It’s always valuable to look at how other organizations within your industry get things done every day. And It’s particularly valuable to look at how an organization you admire, or aspire to emulate, has nailed what they do.

When we read in 2016 that BuzzFeed was changing the entire way its content creation team was structured, it made us curious about how we were creating our own content. Were we dedicating enough resources to video content? Was our social media strategy as built out?

HubSpot doesn’t operate at nearly the same scale as BuzzFeed, and we aren’t a strictly media company, but it made me wonder how our industry peers are getting the job done. So I asked some of my friends in the B2B marketing space, “How do you create content every day?” 

Download our full collection of free content marketing templates here. 

In this post, we’ll discuss how different content teams are structured — and what wisdom you can take away for staffing your own team.

How 4 Content Marketing Shops Staff Their Content Teams

1) TrackMaven

TrackMaven

TrackMaven is a marketing attribution analytics software company, and I asked Senior Director of Marketing, Kara Burney, about her team’s unique approach to structuring the content marketing team of “mavens.”

Over the past year and a half, we flipped our content creation hierarchy from an exclusively in-house model to a primarily freelance-based model. The impetus was to divide and define the responsibilities of content creation, content distribution, and content reporting.

While we still oversee social media and advertising in-house, we now manage a consistent cadre of freelancers: four to five writers, one to two videographers, and two to three designers. As a result, our team is able to focus on the distribution and ROI of each content asset, while benefiting from the expertise of specialized freelancers.”

Takeaway for Marketers: TrackMaven structured its team to best prioritize everyone’s time according to their strengths. TrackMaven consists of experts in content distribution and proving ROI, so its content team focuses on those parts of the content creation process — and leaves the actual creation to freelancers to free up time and energy.

And according to our research, this is a smart move: The 2017 State of Inbound report revealed that some of marketers’ top priorities include proving marketing ROI and content distribution/amplification.

2) Buffer

Buffer_Structure

Buffer is a social media scheduling app that creates a ton of useful content and research on its different blogs, so I asked its Director of Marketing, Kevan Lee, how the content team is assembled to produce so much.

We have nine people in total on our marketing team: one director, one content writer, one blog editor, one community builder, one loyalty marketer, one PR marketer, one bottom of the funnel marketer, one digital strategist and social media producer, and one product marketer.

We all create content in some way, at some time. We’ve built the team based on the marketing channels that we’ve been able to validate. So, at first, when our team was one or two people, we went after a wide range of marketing channels to see what worked. Content marketing yielded some huge results, so we hired a content writer to go deep on that channel.

As channels get validated, we try to move people into those roles so they can maximize the impact we can have on that channel. In our case, blogging has been highly validated as a strong referral source for us, so we have multiple people working on content marketing. Video is showing lots of potential, and we’re definitely doing more there — it just hasn’t quite reached the peak validation of content marketing for us yet.”

Takeaway for Marketers: Buffer’s marketing team waits for channels to start to drive meaningful results before dedicating staff members to leading the charge, which makes a lot of sense. In this way, Buffer can use ROI to make intentional and impactful choices about where to dedicate resources to get results — and fast. Buffer has consistently seen blogging move the needle for its outcomes, so it built out the blogging team to constantly keep the content engines running.

3) Moz

Moz Structure

Moz sells SEO, link building, and content marketing software. I asked its Audience Development Manager, Trevor Klein, about how Moz creates the Moz Blog, Whiteboard Fridays, and other great content.

Moz doesn’t actually have a single full-time content creator. We do have a content team of four members. One marketer is in charge of our content experience, ensuring we’re addressing the needs of our audiences and offering them the right paths (and the right stops on those paths) to get the value they need. We also have our blog manager, though her purview extends to strategy for all of our educational content. Our video wizard — with expertise in both video strategy and production — helps teams throughout Moz make the most of a complicated medium. And I manage the team and set overarching strategy.

We also, though, have a handful of other Mozzers who devote some of their time to creating content, including several Moz Associates — industry experts with whom we have ongoing contractual relationships.

Our team is structured in a way that encourages each individual to contribute in their most meaningful ways, working as much as possible with our wonderful community of contributors. We divide the creation and editing responsibilities among several people instead of retaining full-time writers, and that gives us two important benefits. For one thing, it affords us great flexibility. We don’t have to wait on a bottleneck or get stuck because someone is on vacation, and it allows us to play off each writer’s individual skills for different content needs. This works out well, as Moz’s priorities are in a near-constant state of flux. It also ensures that work never gets too monotonous for anyone on the team. Some people enjoy writing things all day every day, but those folks are few and far between. Splitting the creative work among several people encourages coordination and allows us all to spend some time on other things.”

Takeaway for Marketers: Moz’s approach to content creation is smart — it maximizes and takes advantage of employees’ strengths and talents, and it makes the entire publication process a collective team effort. And by training the whole team to fulfill writing, editing, and publishing roles, the team is more nimble and adaptable to institutional or industry change that might drastically alter priorities and goals.

4) HubSpot

HubSpot Content Structure

Here at HubSpot, our content creation is spread over many different teams — in fact, we like to say that everyone at HubSpot creates. Within our “strictly” content team, outside of the HubSpot blogs, where we have four full-time writers creating daily content, we have a team of three multimedia content creators, a researcher, two podcast producers, and two social media and video content producers. Additionally, we have a team that creates co-marketing content with our partner organizations, a team that creates ebooks and content offers designed to generate leads, and specific blogs and dedicated to recruiting prospective employees and providing valuable insights to our partner marketing agencies and our various clients’ verticals.

In short, the official content engine is made up of nearly 20 employees, but everyone at our organization has the expertise and ability to create content — whether it’s a blog post, a Facebook Live broadcast, or a podcast recording.

Takeaway for Marketers: We recommend creating opportunities for all employees to be a part of the content team — team members in other departments have valuable insights and data that can be adapted into relevant content for your audience, so don’t be afraid to grow its size to meet your traffic goals.

How is your company’s content team structured? Share with us in the comments below.

get a free inbound marketing assessment

Powered by WPeMatico

May

23

2017

10 Job Interview Questions to Stop Asking Candidates

Published by in category Daily, hiring, Office Life | Comments are closed

job-interview-questions-stop-asking-compressed.jpg

When I get a job interview, there’s a lot to prepare. I diligently research the company and my interviewers, pore over Glassdoor interview questions, and print out copies of my resume and portfolio.

When I interview someone else, it’s easier to prepare. I don’t have to put together the perfect outfit, I don’t have to worry about how to find the restroom, and at the end of the day, I don’t have to worry about if I got the job or not.

Download our free guide here for more interviewing and screening tips to build  your team.

A quick Google Search for job interview questions brings up some of the most common asks you might have already answered 20 times over the course of your career. They’re popular, but that doesn’t mean they’re good questions. In fact, they could be hurting your chances of the candidate accepting an offer.

Nobody wants to feel stressed out, put on the spot, or tricked during a job interview. After all, you wouldn’t want to experience that in your day-to-day job, so why do we demand it of candidates?

Be mindful of the different personality types, cultures, and backgrounds that are applying for open roles at your company, and consider retiring some of the more common interview questions in your arsenal. Instead, try these alternatives that might give you more helpful information about the candidate — without making them feel awkward in the process.

10 Job Interview Questions to Stop Asking (and What to Ask Instead)

1) What can you tell me about yourself?

You might be surprised to see such a traditional interview question at the top of our list, but it’s not as great of an opener as you might think. In fact, from the candidate’s perspective, it might tell them that you haven’t read their résumé, browsed their portfolio, or checked out their LinkedIn profile. Candidates don’t want to brief you on their entire job history during the short time they have to make a first impression — they want to have a conversation.

Instead, ask a question based on what stood out to you most from their resume and application. Show the candidate you’re taking them seriously and want to learn more about them, beyond what’s on paper.

2) Why are you leaving your current job?

This question could lead to an awkward answer that doesn’t cast the candidate in their best light. The answer could be highly personal, and it isn’t that helpful for learning more about the candidate.

Instead, ask them about their favorite part and biggest challenge of their current role. You’ll learn more about their priorities, dealbreakers, and culture fit — without the conversation becoming too negative.

3) What’s the project you’re most proud of?

It’s useful to learn what projects a candidate enjoys working on most, but you could take this question further by asking something broader. 

Instead, ask them to talk about how they produced a piece of work with multiple different teams. The answer will reveal how they work dynamically and as a project manager — useful traits for most marketing and sales teams.

4) What’s your biggest weakness?

Simply put, it’s presumptuous to assume that you understand what a candidate’s perceived weaknesses are. The answer could exclude candidates from other cultures or industries who aren’t familiar with yours, and it puts candidates in a negative state of mind.

Instead, ask them to describe a challenge they faced in a role and how they handled it. The answer will teach you more about their problem-solving skills, without putting them in the awkward position of personal self-reflection.

5) What’s your five-year career plan?

HubSpot Inbound Recruiting Manager Hannah Fleishman has made more inclusive hiring her mission, and she suggests replacing this interview question. “It can be a loaded question, especially for women, professionals who are thinking of starting a family, and even aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start a company one day.”

Instead, Fleishman suggests asking candidates a more specific question: “How does this role fit into your long-term career plans?” The answer will give you the information you’re really looking for — if the role and your organization present opportunities for them to grow.

6) What makes you passionate about your work?

Candidates don’t have to be passionate to be successful in a role. Sure, it helps — but passion is such a subjective topic, it’s not necessary for a job interview.

Instead, ask them what makes them passionate about a company. The answer will tell you about their culture priorities and if they’ll fit with the larger team they’ll be working with.

7) Are you a team player?

Generally speaking, we advise against asking yes or no questions. Open-ended questions are more conversational and will give you more information about the candidate.

When it comes to this question, the answer is valuable, but a candidate is unlikely to self-identify as an individual worker. Likewise, your company probably doesn’t have any roles that are completely solitary — everyone has to attend meetings or work on campaigns at some point.

Instead, ask the candidate what their ideal team dynamic is. You’ll get the same answer you’re looking for — if they work well with others — while allowing them to elaborate on their preferred working environment.

8) How many people do you think flew out of JFK Airport last year?

Brain teasers might be entertaining to ask — and they might teach you a thing or two about a candidate’s problem-solving abilities — but brain teasing questions like this one create too much stress for the candidate. They’re usually ridiculously hard to solve and put the candidate on the spot — without revealing a ton of helpful information.

Instead, ask the candidate how they’d solve a problem that’s common on your team. The answer will be more useful, and it won’t take the candidate by surprise.

9) Sell me this pen.

If you’re hiring for a sales role, you should know: “Sell me this pen” has become such a frequently-asked question, it can be easily answered in a quick Google search before the interview. It might not give you the candidate’s true selling abilities — something you need to know before investing time and resources in training them.

Instead, ask them how they would handle a common roadblock your sales team faces. The answer will prove if they’ve done their research, and it will give you an idea of their persuasion skills if they were on a call. 

10) What’s your salary history?

Fleishman also suggests avoiding questions or discussions of salary or benefits until an offer has been extended to the candidate. “Salary history shouldn’t determine what a candidate’s offer package is,” she says. “This question can actually discriminate against minorities who are more likely to be under-compensated compared to their peers — which is why cities in New York and Massachusetts have banned it from interviews.”

Instead, scratch this question altogether from your list altogether.

The interview is only one piece of the puzzle for the candidate, but by asking more thoughtfully-phrased questions, you could be doing yourself and the candidate a favor. For more recruiting and hiring ideas for your next open marketing position, download our free ebook.

What’s a common job interview question you wish would be retired? Share with us in the comments below.

get a free inbound marketing assessment

Powered by WPeMatico

Mar

10

2017

How to Create and Share an Infographic Resume [Infographic]

Published by in category hiring, IGSS | Comments are closed

infographic_resume_compressed.jpg

The modern job search is incredibly competitive, and technology has made it easier for your resume and job application to be overlooked and discarded before you even make it to the interview.

Luckily, technology is also here to help. There’s no longer a template for how to apply for a job — you can use social media, websites, and even interactive campaigns to get your name noticed by a recruiter.

Download our 10 free marketing resume templates here. 

One resume format you may not have considered? Infographics. A highly engaging and visually appealing infographic that explains your skills and qualifications might help you stand out in the crowd and serve as a work sample when applying for a job.

Venngage produced an infographic about how and why to use an infographic resume the next time you start the job search. The infographic is full of tips and tricks for making your visual resume as impactful and beautiful as possible.

It’s important to note that an infographic resume won’t be appropriate for all job applications. If you submit an infographic resume through an automated system, you could disqualify yourself if the technology can’t read visual information, so it’s best to stick to the format prescribed by the job posting. Infographic resumes are a great fit for creative job titles that you’re able to submit directly to a recruiter or hiring manager via email so you can ensure they receive it.

infographic-resume-1.png

10 free marketing resume templates

Powered by WPeMatico

Nov

30

2016

The Top Questions to Ask & Avoid During a Phone Interview [Infographic]

phone-interview-questions.jpg

Did you know that the average job seeker spends only 76 seconds reviewing a job posting online before they decide to apply?

While this may be enough time for the candidate to determine if the role is in their area of expertise and meets their salary requirements, it probably isn’t enough for them to evaluate if they’re the best fit for the role.

If you’re an interviewer, this is where the phone interview can come in handy. Instead of taking time to coordinate an in-person interview, a phone interview requires only a few minutes of your time and can quickly and easily determine if the candidate is qualified for the role.

Hireology produced the following infographic to review questions you should — and shouldn’t — ask in a phone interview to decide if a candidate should move forward in the recruiting process. Check it out below to sharpen your phone interview skills.

PHONE-INTERVIEW-1.png

What questions do you always make sure to ask during a phone interview? Share with us in the comments below.

learn how to hire an all-star marketing team

Nov

30

2016

The Top Questions to Ask & Avoid During a Phone Interview [Infographic]

phone-interview-questions.jpg

Did you know that the average job seeker spends only 76 seconds reviewing a job posting online before they decide to apply?

While this may be enough time for the candidate to determine if the role is in their area of expertise and meets their salary requirements, it probably isn’t enough for them to evaluate if they’re the best fit for the role.

If you’re an interviewer, this is where the phone interview can come in handy. Instead of taking time to coordinate an in-person interview, a phone interview requires only a few minutes of your time and can quickly and easily determine if the candidate is qualified for the role.

Hireology produced the following infographic to review questions you should — and shouldn’t — ask in a phone interview to decide if a candidate should move forward in the recruiting process. Check it out below to sharpen your phone interview skills.

PHONE-INTERVIEW-1.png

What questions do you always make sure to ask during a phone interview? Share with us in the comments below.

learn how to hire an all-star marketing team

Oct

28

2016

8 Personalities to Look for When Assembling a Content Team

Content team personalities (2).png

Not having enough of the right people on your content team is a problem for many of today’s marketers. In fact, 38% of B2B marketers say HR and staffing issues are responsible for delayed success in content marketing, and 22% blame a lack of training and education.

Developing, executing, and measuring a content marketing plan can be difficult under the best of circumstances. But when you’re not adequately staffed, even the most well-conceived content marketing plan can struggle.

That’s why it’s so crucial to have the right roles outlined and fulfilled by the people who can execute them the best. We’ve identified eight personalities that can strengthen your team. As you learn more about them, you might notice that many possess the same qualifications — things like an ability to meet deadlines, good interpersonal skills, and task-specific marketing knowledge.

Check out more about these personalities below — they’ll help bring your content strategy to fruition. 

8 Personalities to Look for When Assembling a Content Team

1) The Taskmaster

This person is your project manager — the one responsible for the successful execution of your projects and campaigns. While creative, the taskmaster should also be proactive and action-oriented. After all, this person is your closer, or as we like to say around here, the overseer of getting stuff done.

The importance of well-executed project management is especially clear when comparing high-performing companies to low-performing ones. According to the Project Management Institute, in a workplace culture that emphasizes project management, 71% of projects actually meet their original goals. Compare that to the 51% of projects in non-project-management cultures, and it’s clear — companies that prioritize project management do better — period.

The taskmaster has a lot on his or her plate — things like budgets and being able to identify and prevent possible issues. But there’s technology out there that can benefit the taskmasters of the world, like the Projects app in your HubSpot software.

2) The Wordsmith

Not only does this person write well, but he or she is agile enough to do so in different voices and tones, based on your content topics and personas. In other words, the wordsmith brings your ideas to life through language. Plus, this person is able to create compelling work quickly — like the rest of the team, he or she should be deadline-driven enough to keep deliverables on track.

To state the obvious,  you can’t create content without a content creator. And it’s not just about writing — it’s about being able to do it well. These days, that’s a rare asset — American businesses spend up to $3.1 billion on training employees for basic writing skills.

The wordsmith should be well-versed in the goals and audience of the content — that’s what’s going to help him or her make it engaging. In many ways, this person is a translator who’s able to convert abstract ideas into tangible composition. And being able to work independently, as well as part of a team, is essential here, as the wordsmith must understand the ideas being communicated by his or her colleagues, and work with it autonomously.

3) The Grammar Geek

While the wordsmith gives the content life, the grammar geek is an editor makes your brand look smart. He or she holds brand values high and serves as the champion for consistency and quality across all channels.

Here’s why your grammar geek is so vital. If you publish content that contains errors, you risk losing sales. For some businesses, in fact, a single typo was speculated to result in an 80% drop in sales.

The grammar geek has a passion for language — preferably, the one in which your content is being published. But he or she also understands how to write specifically for the format of what you’re producing. Digital content, for example, sometimes takes on a different voice than print, so make sure this person is fluent in both.

And make sure this person works well with your wordsmith — chances are, they’ll have to share a back-and-forth to get a polished finished result.

4) The Artist

The strongest content teams have someone who can turns ideas and data into beautiful visuals. The artist supports your content marketing efforts by designing images, infographics, logos, and collateral — online and print — that adhere to brand style guidelines.

Compelling visuals are imperative in today’s landscape — articles with one image for every 75-100 words get twice as many social shares than articles with fewer images. You’ll need someone who can create them in a way that aligns with your brand, and is proficient in the technology used to create them. An innate sense for color, text style and layout wouldn’t hurt, either.

Make sure this person will thrive in a client-facing role, too — he or she will likely have to communicate with multiple parties and be able to understand their respective visions.

5) The Growth Hacker

Of course, it’s always good to have a master of numbers and data on your team. How else can you accurately measure and analyze the ROI of your content marketing? This person love metrics, A/B testing, and proving that ROI. In fact, it’s possible your growth hacker has a t-shirt with Peter Drucker’s famous management quote, “What gets measured, gets managed.”

The growth hacker should be more than just a data hound, though. This person truly understands what Peter Drucker meant when he wrote, “Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge are essential resources, but only effectiveness converts them into results.”

Your growth hacker helps reveal what’s effective. That, in turn, shows the team how to funnel its time and talents into the right actions to produce the right results. That requires an ability to develop, execute and report on a comprehensive content strategy — on that both attracts potential customers and retains existing ones. Plus, this person should be able to collaborate with sales and operations, because you’ll need their help to meet objectives.

6) The Social Butterfly

Your social butterfly is in charge of content distribution, promotion, and amplification. They have an affinity for social media and branding and enjoy interacting with people online.

Why is this team member important? You can thank the rules of good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth marketing. After all, After all, content consumption on Twitter has increased by 25% in the past two years alone — and 76% of its users are likely to recommend a brand after a positive social media interaction with it.     

Like the rest of your content team, the social butterfly must understand the goals of the project and the audience — that’s necessary in order to effectively communicate on social media. This person should be generally skilled in content distribution and promotion, and know how to engage influencers to drive interest around the brand and build customer loyalty. And it doesn’t hurt if this person knows how to manage paid promotions and campaigns on such social networks as Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and Snapchat.

7) The Risk-Taker

Every content team needs someone who challenges colleagues to try something new. Your group needs this dreamer to come up with the occasional crazy idea — because it might just work after all — and, you won’t know if you don’t try.

This individual’s unique perspective keeps your content approach from getting stale, or lost in any project chaos. And while the risk-taker role is a scary one for some teams to embrace, there’s evidence that taking risks can be beneficial — when done with caution.

But maybe that fear comes from a desire to emulate other brand leaders; if the big guys are doing it “this way,” we should, too. Or, a team may be afraid of looking dumb or silly. If you find yourself a little uncertain about the risk-taker role, ask yourself, “What content have I seen that’s really stood out to me lately? Was it the same-old-same-old, or was it something different, edgy or new?”

Obviously, your risk-taker should have a big-picture mindset, and a sense of adventure. This person shouldn’t be too preoccupied with what other people think, either. But remember: He or she must know how to take a calculated risk.

8) The Rule-Follower

To keep the risk-taker (and everyone else) in check, make sure you fill the role of rule-player. This person ensures that your content follows industry best practices. If you’re in a regulated industry, this role becomes even more important — violate any codes of conduct, and your content marketing efforts might get your company into hot water.

This rule-following team member is someone who executes on the finer, more mundane parts of the strategy. Though unsexy to some, the details are important, and they need to be thoroughly ironed out before your content goes live.

To that end, the rule-follower has a meticulous and methodical personality, with the ability to ask critical questions. And believe it or not, there are some who find joy in the execution, so to speak, and not just the strategizing — this person should have that quality.

Make It a Combo

So what happens if you can’t have a team this large? Not every company has the capacity for an eight-person content team. That’s okay — combinations are possible, and some are more important than others.

  • Make sure you have one risk-taker and one rule-follower. The risk-taker can come up with all the outta-this-world ideas, and the rule-follower can reel them back to earth. One becomes the yin to the other’s yang.
  • However, your taskmaster and growth hacker can be combined. Both are usually super-organized and meticulous; they like numbers, project management tools, and spreadsheets, and it’s fairly easy to find these traits in the same person.
  • You cannot combine your wordsmith and your grammar geek. Everybody needs an editor, right? Or as Ann Handley wrote, “Editors are not optional. Period.” And while wordsmiths can make great editors, it’s always challenging to review your own work — that’s why they call it a “second set of eyes.”
  • But, you can combine your social butterfly with your wordsmith. Creative types have a natural affinity for promotion, and your wordsmith should be able to compose the right kind of copy for your social networks.

Most content marketers are familiar with the pain of trying to do too much with too few resources. The usual result? We end up doing little to none of it well. Having these personalities on your team will help you produce better, more consistent content that your audience will want to click, read, and share.

How have you made the most of your content team? Let us know about your top content personalities in the comments.

learn how to hire an all-star marketing team

 
free productivity tips

Oct

10

2016

How to Write a Job Ad That Excites Candidates

Job_Description.jpg

As a direct response copywriter, I specialize in making readers take a specific action. I write a variety of copy, including articles, landing pages, sales emails, and job advertisements.

In fact, I’ve written hundreds of job ads over my career, as one of my first gigs was for a big employment website, where I created several ads a day. Ads that had one ultimate purpose: to compel readers to hit the “APPLY NOW” button.

My job was to make people want to press that button. My words were supposed to make them feel excited about the prospect of being in the role they were reading about. If I could do that, consistently, I was lightning in a bottle.

To get better, I read direct response copywriting books and hand-copied successful sales letters. And my job, naturally, provided me with plenty of practice. Then, one day, I opened an email from my boss: “Your visitor-to-application conversion rate is twice what it was this time last year,” read the note. “Nice work.”

This article is about how I achieved that conversion rate. Keep reading to learn the strategies and best practices I used to grip candidates, exciting them enough to take action.

How to Write a Job Ad

You want to write a job ad that consistently drives candidates to fill out an application. Of course, you also want qualified applicants, people that meet your requirements.

Here’s how to attract the right people to your open position:

1) Study your target candidate.

You might’ve heard that people buy on emotion first, and then rationalize their purchases using logic.

Applying for a job, in that sense, is a lot like making a purchase. Pressing the “APPLY NOW” button is an emotionally charged decision.

When writing your job ad, tap into those emotions by learning everything you can about your target candidate (i.e., the person you want to be interviewing). What are his or her professional goals and aspirations? What makes him or her happy?

Create a target candidate persona, or a composite of your ideal employee. (Download these buyer persona templates to get started.) Use the information you acquire to make potent promises that 1) you know you can keep and 2) your target candidate wants to hear.

2) Mind your SEO.

Every day, the job hunt leads millions of people to search millions of keywords. So, yes, relevant keywords are still important, especially when writing job ads.

In your quest to be unique and desired, don’t make up a new, creative name for an established role. In other words, don’t call your open content marketing position an “Attention Ninja” or “Audience Crafter.”

Call it what it is: a “Content Marketing Specialist.” If you’re in the B2B space with clients all over the world, for instance, add a few more adjectives: “Global B2B Content Marketing Specialist.”

Post the position under a recognizable, keyword-friendly title because that’s what candidates will be searching.

3) Follow a scannable, digestible format.

Before candidates settle into your ad, they’re first going to scan it. And if it’s not formatted using big, bold, clear, and concise subheads to make the scanning process effortless, they’ll move on.

The easier your ad is to scan, the more likely it is to garner attention. Attention that ultimately leads to action.

Open your ad with a “Company Summary” paragraph followed by these subheads, or sections, in this order:

  1. Overview
  2. Benefits
  3. Requirements
  4. Responsibilities

Here’s a breakdown of each section along with example paragraphs that, when combined, will form a “Content Marketing Specialist” job description for Security Software Co., a shamelessly made-up company:

a) Open with a benefits-rich overview.

Every ad must start with a concise description, or overview, of the role. It should be snappy and compelling — and it’s clear, quick explanation of the role should be complemented by the job’s big-picture benefits.

General Electric, for example, did a nice job with the latter in their branding campaign commercials.

People inherently want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Appeal to that desire by helping candidates envision the impact of their work. 

For example, if you’re hiring a software developer, explain the mark that software will leave on others. Will it help them beat traffic? Will it help them communicate better with their family? Will it help them get clean drinking water every day? Be specific. The more specific you are, the more compelling your message will be.

Example:

As the Content Marketing Specialist for Security Software Co., you’ll create articles, infographics, and eBooks that build an engaged audience. Your goal will be to drive thousands of people to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn. Your success will expand Security Software’s global reach – helping millions of parents protect their children from online predators – while simultaneously developing your personal brand as a foremost expert in our space.”

b) After the overview, lead with even more benefits.

Now that you have the candidate’s attention, draw him or her deeper into the ad with a section dedicated to your company’s benefits package, a topic employees care about. But know, there’s a correct way and a wrong way to write a benefits bullet …

Use examples to help candidates envision the benefit, not just read it. Like this:

  • The wrong way: “Heated parking garage.”
  • The right way: “Arrive and leave work comfortably, thanks to a heated garage.”

Example:

At Security Software, we ask a lot of our employees, which is why we give so much in return. In addition to your competitive salary, medical/dental/vision plan, and matching 401(k), we’ll shower you with perks, including:

  • Dress: Wear anything you like to the office – and be as comfortable at work as you are in your own living room.

  • Flexibility: Two days a week, feel free to skip the commute and hit your deadlines from home.

  • Food: Save hundreds of dollars on food each year thanks to our well-stocked, healthy kitchen.

  • Location: On the days you
    are in the office, get here quickly thanks to our highly accessible central location.

  • Wellness: Stretch away the stress every morning in our in-house yoga studio.”

c) Keep your requirements clear and concise.

This section will be your ad’s most sterile, so don’t close with it. Stick it in the middle, sandwiched between two sections that highlight promise and opportunity.

Keep your list of requirements only as long as it needs to be. You don’t want to scare great candidates away with extraneous requisites. You also don’t want to engage and inspire unqualified people with a shortlist.

Example:

Not everyone can be a Content Marketing Specialist. To be seriously considered for the role, please have the following in regards to:

  • Experience: At least 3 years in a similar role with comparable goals and responsibilities (security and/or software background,
    preferred).

  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in English, Marketing, Communications, or a similar field,
    preferred.

  • Skills: You
    must be an excellent writer, someone who understands how to frame a message in a clear, concise, and compelling way. You
    must also understand the mechanics of an efficient, effective Marketing Automation campaign (HubSpot experience,
    preferred).

  • Characteristics: This is an autonomous position, so you should be self-sufficient and self-motivated. It’s also a creative role, so you must be able to gracefully receive criticism and feedback about your work.

d) Use strong verbs to describe responsibilities.

Responsibilities are the job. They’re the work, the paycheck. That said, responsibilities can also generate excitement and promise in a passionate candidate.

Begin each bullet with a unique, yet fitting, verb. For example, the role doesn’t “manage” people, it “shapes” them; the role doesn’t “oversee” projects, it “enables” their success. See the difference? One word can offer a fresh perspective, altering the reader’s frame of mind.

Example:

As Security Software’s sole Content Marketer, you’ll meet the initiative’s strategic needs on your own, experimenting, learning, and adjusting as you go. Throughout your journey to grow our brand’s audience and reach, you’ll be responsible for:

  • Sculpting informative, entertaining, digestible articles that audiences can’t stop reading.

  • Designing beautiful, rich infographics that are as engaging as they are shareable.

  • Publishing easy-to-skim, value-driven eBooks for download in exchange for business-email addresses.

  • Crafting persuasive, laser-focused landing pages that compel your target audience to take one valuable action.

  • Purchasing targeted ad spend on well-performing social media platforms.

  • Pulling prospects through each stage of our marketing funnel, gradually warming them up for a productive conversation with sales.

The Final Product

Here’s what our example job ad for Security Software Co. looks like when stitched together (plus a standard “Company Summary” paragraph plugged in at the beginning):

Content Marketing Specialist

[company summary]

OVERVIEW:

As the Content Marketing Specialist for Security Software Co., you’ll create articles, infographics, and eBooks that build an engaged audience. Your goal will be to drive thousands of people to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn. Your success will expand Security Software’s global reach – helping millions of parents protect their children from online predators – while simultaneously developing your personal brand as a foremost expert in our space.

BENEFITS:

At Security Software, we ask a lot of our employees, which is why we give so much in return. In addition to your competitive salary, medical/dental/vision plan, and matching 401(k), we’ll shower you with perks, including:

  • Dress: Wear anything you like to the office – and be as comfortable at work as you are in your own living room.
  • Flexibility: Two days a week, feel free to skip the commute and hit your deadlines from home.
  • Food: Save hundreds of dollars on food each year thanks to our well-stocked, healthy kitchen.
  • Location: On the days you are in the office, get here quickly thanks to our highly accessible central location.
  • Wellness: Stretch away the stress every morning in our in-house yoga studio.

REQUIREMENTS:

Not everyone can be a Content Marketing Specialist. To be seriously considered for the role, please have the following in regards to:

  • Experience: At least 3 years in a similar role with comparable goals and responsibilities (security and/or software background, preferred).
  • Education: Bachelor’s degree in English, Marketing, Communications, or a similar field, preferred.
  • Skills: You must be an excellent writer, someone who understands how to frame a message in a clear, concise, and compelling way. You must also understand the mechanics of an efficient, effective Marketing Automation campaign (HubSpot experience, preferred).
  • Characteristics: This is an autonomous position, so you should be self-sufficient and self-motivated. It’s also a creative role, so you have to be able to graceful receive criticism and feedback about your work.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

As Security Software’s sole Content Marketer, you’ll meet the initiative’s strategic needs on your own, experimenting, learning, and adjusting as you go. Along your journey to grow our brand’s audience and reach, you’ll be responsible for:

  • Sculpting informative, entertaining, digestible articles that audiences can’t stop reading.
  • Designing beautiful, rich infographics that are as engaging as they are shareable.
  • Publishing easy-to-skim, value-driven eBooks for download in exchange for business-email addresses.
  • Crafting persuasive, laser-focused landing pages that compel your target audience to take one valuable action.
  • Purchasing targeted ad spend on well-performing social media platforms.
  • Pulling prospects through each stage of our marketing funnel, gradually warming them up for a productive conversation with sales.

APPLY NOW

The Final Thought

This ad, for all intents and purposes, is a generic example. It’s designed to illustrate, at a high level, the techniques that make candidates feel something when they read a job ad. That said, it’s important to first use your knowledge of the role to create an accurate ad, one that reflects your company’s culture and specific needs. Then use the tips above to build excitement.

Good luck — although something tells me you have this one in the bag.

What tips do you have for writing effective job descriptions? Share them in the comments.

free marketing job description templates

Aug

25

2016

How to Attract, Hire & Train the Best Marketers for Your Team [Free Ebook]

Training_and_Hiring_Marketers.jpg

Hiring marketers for your company is not an easy job. Ironically, a lot of it is actually about marketing to potential candidates. But the best marketer’s out there know when they’re being marketed to, and are therefore tuning out the old-school recruiting noise.

Those copy-pasted job descriptions filled with buzzwords and new challenges aren’t going to suffice anymore, which is why HubSpot Academy and Udemy for Business teamed up to bring you: How to Hire and Train Marketing All-Stars.

In this ebook, you’ll learn how to focus on career context to attract your target candidates, as well as how to spot future marketing all-stars who will be able to make their mark on your company.

By the end of this ebook, you’ll know:

  • How to reach your target candidates.
  • How to spot future marketing all-stars.
  • The inbound recruiting framework.
  • How to deliver on your promise with career training.
  • A new model for career training.

Download your copy of How to Hire and Train Marketing All-Stars now.

learn how to hire an all-star marketing team

Aug

15

2016

10 Signs It’s Time to Grow Your Content Team

Grow_Your_team.jpeg

Growing traffic can be a bittersweet experience when you’re first starting out in content marketing. On one hand, you’re thrilled to see your posts gaining traction as incoming traffic and engagement climbs. On the other hand, your growing audience demands frequent content updates and they expect you to deliver good material.

You might be able to manage the content by yourself initially, or with the help of an in-house employee or freelancer. At some point though, that increase in traffic means your team and your content strategy are going to have to “grow up.” Download our full collection of 37 marketing job descriptions here to build an  all-star team of your own. 

Fail to grow your content team and you could find yourself among the 57% of marketers who are struggling to consistently produce content. A lack of resources and slow output can limit the top of the funnel content and make it a lot more difficult to properly nurture leads — let alone attract them. 

Is your team experiencing growing pain? Do you think it might be time to add another set of hands … or maybe even a few? Check out the 10 warning signs below to determine if it’s time to make a change, as well as actionable tips to alleviate strain on your team if you do decide you’re not quite ready.

10 Signs It’s Time to Grow Your Content Team

1) Deadlines are looming (or rushing by).

An editorial calendar is supposed to make it easier for you to track everything going through the pipeline. It helps you stay on top of topic areas and ensure that content is published on a regular basis.

But if you find yourself faced with constantly looming deadlines, or worse, missed deadlines, then you might have a problem on your hands.

While some people work well under pressure, feeling it constantly can create a need to just get things done as soon as possible — leaving little time for polishing. And drop in content quality is not going to do you any favors.

What You Can Do Right Now:

2) Editing is eating up all of your time.

The magical combination of a great writer and an experienced editor is content marketing gold. Quality posts can be written quickly with minimal editing and a good editor can glance through and add the finishing touches to a well-written piece in a fairly short timespan.

But if content is written in a hurry with little to no in-depth research and hordes of grammatical and spelling errors, then editing can turn into a lengthy process that steals you away from other important business matters you need to focus on. This is especially true when you hire one or more new writers: there’s always an adjustment period as they learn your specific style guide and find their groove.

What You Can Do Right Now:

3) Research leaves little room for production.

To build credibility, a lot of your content will require you to collect authoritative data, conduct quality research, and provide proper citations. There are no shortcuts here: It can sometimes take hours just to research and produce a single post.

If the time you spend researching starts cutting into other projects and little time is left for actually writing the content, then you have to take action right away. When this happens, some marketers scale back production or let time slip by without getting content published, but don’t fall into that trap.

When you start skimping on research, you start skimping on quality, so don’t take this one lightly.

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Diversify your content to fill schedule gaps. A quick video might be easier for you to publish than a 2,000 word blog post (just don’t skimp on value).
  • Expand your pool of writers to more than just one. Hire enough writers to maintain consistency and quality in your editorial calendar.

4) Quality is slipping.

I mentioned this in the above warning sign, and I’ll mention it again: Quality is key. If you have a team of one or more writers and the quality of their content is starting to slip, then you need to evaluate your production process.

Are your writers getting enough down time? Are projects being managed well? Are projects being assigned to the right team member based on their expertise and skills?

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Acquire a project management system to streamline the production process.
  • Stagger project schedules for your writers to give them more downtime and promote better work/life balance.
  • Change topic assignments if possible to give writers more variety.
  • Hire a project manager skilled in content marketing to better handle and manage projects.

5) You’re falling short on engagement.

Content marketing involves so much more than just publishing content. In most cases, your audience wants to engage in the comments, or on social, or via email, too. 

If you’re not responding, then your engagement levels might take a hit — readers often want to see that you’re actually paying attention to them.

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Schedule at least 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon/evening to respond to comments.
  • Hire a social/community manager to handle your engagement across the channels you use for promotion and branding. 
  • Issue a survey that asks your audience for their feedback directly to prove that you do value their opinion. 

6) You have a poor promotion plan.

One critical aspect of your content marketing strategy is the promotion of your content across a variety of channels. Although there are many useful tools to help you distribute content online, content promotion is still a time-consuming effort for each piece of content you publish.

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Use social publishing tools (like HubSpot) to streamline promotional efforts.
  • Use a process management tool such as inMotion, TallyFy or Process Street.
  • Use these free social media image templates to create more engaging post promotions on the fly.
  • Hire a virtual assistant to handle content promotion for you.
  • Delegate content promotion to a dedicated project/content manager.

7) You’re constantly dealing with inconsistent posts and missed opportunities.

If you suffer from irregular posting habits, regularly miss out on great content ideas, or leave trending topics out of your content marketing strategy, then it’s time to reevaluate your approach. Perhaps you don’t have the time to dedicate to strategy and planning right now, or your current strategy is stagnating and you don’t know where to go from here.

What You Can Do Right Now:

8) You’re lacking content diversity.

If you limit the types of content you produce, then you also limit your potential engagement. Your audience may have different preferences when it comes to consuming content: Some prefer to read articles while others might prefer visuals, video, or audio.

Diversity is important in content marketing, and you should reanalyze your audience research to figure out what other types of content might work best for your audience.

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Hire a contract designer or video specialist to test out custom images and video.
  • Use an online tool like Canva to easily add more engaging images to your content. 
  • Check out HubSpot’s 386+ free content creation templates to simplify your process.
  • Hire a freelance designer to repurpose older content into new material, like an infographic or SlideShare. 

9) You’re missing out on conversions.

Poor conversion rates are caused by a variety of factors, from minor design flaws to poorly worded or missing calls-to-action. A lack of steady conversions can also be a result of content that isn’t mapped appropriately to your sales funnel or the buyer’s journey. Rather than guessing how you can improve conversions, you may want to consider expanding your team by adding an expert on conversion rate optimization (CRO).

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Don’t just create content for the top of the funnel (acquisition). Adding lead nurturing content to the mix to provide vitiors with a next step can make all the difference.
  • Hire a CRO specialist to help you map content to buyer intent and your sales funnel.
  • A/B test content offers to see what your audience prefers.
  • Leverage heatmap software like Hotjar to get a better read on your website visitors’ behavior.

Are You Ready to Expand?

When you’re ramping up your content marketing efforts, it’s important to continually reassess the function and performance of your team as often as you monitor and evaluate your metrics. Set benchmarks or triggers that let you know early on where bottlenecks might form in your content creation and promotion.

Be proactive in the expansion of your content team to stay on top of your workload and avoid problems that might arise if you wait too long to hire experienced writers and editors to help you.

Have you run into any of these problems as you expanded your content marketing efforts? How did you address them? Share your tips with me in the comments below.

free marketing job description templates

Aug

15

2016

10 Signs It’s Time to Grow Your Content Team

Grow_Your_team.jpeg

Growing traffic can be a bittersweet experience when you’re first starting out in content marketing. On one hand, you’re thrilled to see your posts gaining traction as incoming traffic and engagement climbs. On the other hand, your growing audience demands frequent content updates and they expect you to deliver good material.

You might be able to manage the content by yourself initially, or with the help of an in-house employee or freelancer. At some point though, that increase in traffic means your team and your content strategy are going to have to “grow up.” Download our full collection of 37 marketing job descriptions here to build an  all-star team of your own. 

Fail to grow your content team and you could find yourself among the 57% of marketers who are struggling to consistently produce content. A lack of resources and slow output can limit the top of the funnel content and make it a lot more difficult to properly nurture leads — let alone attract them. 

Is your team experiencing growing pain? Do you think it might be time to add another set of hands … or maybe even a few? Check out the 10 warning signs below to determine if it’s time to make a change, as well as actionable tips to alleviate strain on your team if you do decide you’re not quite ready.

10 Signs It’s Time to Grow Your Content Team

1) Deadlines are looming (or rushing by).

An editorial calendar is supposed to make it easier for you to track everything going through the pipeline. It helps you stay on top of topic areas and ensure that content is published on a regular basis.

But if you find yourself faced with constantly looming deadlines, or worse, missed deadlines, then you might have a problem on your hands.

While some people work well under pressure, feeling it constantly can create a need to just get things done as soon as possible — leaving little time for polishing. And drop in content quality is not going to do you any favors.

What You Can Do Right Now:

2) Editing is eating up all of your time.

The magical combination of a great writer and an experienced editor is content marketing gold. Quality posts can be written quickly with minimal editing and a good editor can glance through and add the finishing touches to a well-written piece in a fairly short timespan.

But if content is written in a hurry with little to no in-depth research and hordes of grammatical and spelling errors, then editing can turn into a lengthy process that steals you away from other important business matters you need to focus on. This is especially true when you hire one or more new writers: there’s always an adjustment period as they learn your specific style guide and find their groove.

What You Can Do Right Now:

3) Research leaves little room for production.

To build credibility, a lot of your content will require you to collect authoritative data, conduct quality research, and provide proper citations. There are no shortcuts here: It can sometimes take hours just to research and produce a single post.

If the time you spend researching starts cutting into other projects and little time is left for actually writing the content, then you have to take action right away. When this happens, some marketers scale back production or let time slip by without getting content published, but don’t fall into that trap.

When you start skimping on research, you start skimping on quality, so don’t take this one lightly.

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Diversify your content to fill schedule gaps. A quick video might be easier for you to publish than a 2,000 word blog post (just don’t skimp on value).
  • Expand your pool of writers to more than just one. Hire enough writers to maintain consistency and quality in your editorial calendar.

4) Quality is slipping.

I mentioned this in the above warning sign, and I’ll mention it again: Quality is key. If you have a team of one or more writers and the quality of their content is starting to slip, then you need to evaluate your production process.

Are your writers getting enough down time? Are projects being managed well? Are projects being assigned to the right team member based on their expertise and skills?

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Acquire a project management system to streamline the production process.
  • Stagger project schedules for your writers to give them more downtime and promote better work/life balance.
  • Change topic assignments if possible to give writers more variety.
  • Hire a project manager skilled in content marketing to better handle and manage projects.

5) You’re falling short on engagement.

Content marketing involves so much more than just publishing content. In most cases, your audience wants to engage in the comments, or on social, or via email, too. 

If you’re not responding, then your engagement levels might take a hit — readers often want to see that you’re actually paying attention to them.

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Schedule at least 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon/evening to respond to comments.
  • Hire a social/community manager to handle your engagement across the channels you use for promotion and branding. 
  • Issue a survey that asks your audience for their feedback directly to prove that you do value their opinion. 

6) You have a poor promotion plan.

One critical aspect of your content marketing strategy is the promotion of your content across a variety of channels. Although there are many useful tools to help you distribute content online, content promotion is still a time-consuming effort for each piece of content you publish.

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Use social publishing tools (like HubSpot) to streamline promotional efforts.
  • Use a process management tool such as inMotion, TallyFy or Process Street.
  • Use these free social media image templates to create more engaging post promotions on the fly.
  • Hire a virtual assistant to handle content promotion for you.
  • Delegate content promotion to a dedicated project/content manager.

7) You’re constantly dealing with inconsistent posts and missed opportunities.

If you suffer from irregular posting habits, regularly miss out on great content ideas, or leave trending topics out of your content marketing strategy, then it’s time to reevaluate your approach. Perhaps you don’t have the time to dedicate to strategy and planning right now, or your current strategy is stagnating and you don’t know where to go from here.

What You Can Do Right Now:

8) You’re lacking content diversity.

If you limit the types of content you produce, then you also limit your potential engagement. Your audience may have different preferences when it comes to consuming content: Some prefer to read articles while others might prefer visuals, video, or audio.

Diversity is important in content marketing, and you should reanalyze your audience research to figure out what other types of content might work best for your audience.

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Hire a contract designer or video specialist to test out custom images and video.
  • Use an online tool like Canva to easily add more engaging images to your content. 
  • Check out HubSpot’s 386+ free content creation templates to simplify your process.
  • Hire a freelance designer to repurpose older content into new material, like an infographic or SlideShare. 

9) You’re missing out on conversions.

Poor conversion rates are caused by a variety of factors, from minor design flaws to poorly worded or missing calls-to-action. A lack of steady conversions can also be a result of content that isn’t mapped appropriately to your sales funnel or the buyer’s journey. Rather than guessing how you can improve conversions, you may want to consider expanding your team by adding an expert on conversion rate optimization (CRO).

What You Can Do Right Now:

  • Don’t just create content for the top of the funnel (acquisition). Adding lead nurturing content to the mix to provide vitiors with a next step can make all the difference.
  • Hire a CRO specialist to help you map content to buyer intent and your sales funnel.
  • A/B test content offers to see what your audience prefers.
  • Leverage heatmap software like Hotjar to get a better read on your website visitors’ behavior.

Are You Ready to Expand?

When you’re ramping up your content marketing efforts, it’s important to continually reassess the function and performance of your team as often as you monitor and evaluate your metrics. Set benchmarks or triggers that let you know early on where bottlenecks might form in your content creation and promotion.

Be proactive in the expansion of your content team to stay on top of your workload and avoid problems that might arise if you wait too long to hire experienced writers and editors to help you.

Have you run into any of these problems as you expanded your content marketing efforts? How did you address them? Share your tips with me in the comments below.

free marketing job description templates

Aug

12

2016

How to Write a Marketing Resume Hiring Managers Will Notice [Free Templates + Samples]

resume-job

It’s ironic, but despite knowing how to sell products and services, so many marketers have a hard time selling themselves. It can often be difficult to turn the spotlight inward, but creating a standout resume is a skill all marketers need to perfect if they want to grow their career.

If you’re a marketer whose resume could use a little polish, don’t worry. With just a few resources and some actionable tips from hiring managers themselves, we’ll help you create a truly impressive marketing resume that’s sure to stand out to recruiters. Download our 10 free marketing resume templates here. 

These free resume templates feature sample copy for 10 of the most popular marketing positions. Take a look at them, and then use the advice below to customize your resume and make it rise above the rest in the stack.

How to Write a Standout Marketing Resume

Know Your Target

You never start a marketing campaign without knowing who you want to reach. That’s because once you know your target audience, it’s easier for the other decisions to fall into place.

The same logic applies to your resume. If you know who will read it and what’s important to them, you can shape your message accordingly. To do this, you need to think about the type of job and company you’re hoping to work for.

Ask yourself questions like: Is the job purely in inbound marketing, or will it require both traditional and digital work? Will you be a specialist or a generalist? Who is the employer — an agency with a buzzing digital marketing team in place already, or a small company looking to leverage the power of social media to grow their sales? Or maybe it’s a marketing department within a large and established corporation?

Once you’ve outlined what’s most important to the company and job you’re applying for, you can carefully target your resume to them. You’ll know what skills or traits to highlight, what keywords to use, and which parts of your background will be most interesting to the hiring manager. (For clues about which skills different marketing roles typically require, read this blog post on marketing job descriptions. You can borrow phrasing from those for your own resume.)

Define Your Unique Value Proposition

You have a unique blend of skills, characteristics, and experiences that make you different from every marketer. To create a truly effective resume, you need to define exactly what this unique blend is — we’ll call this your value proposition.

To develop your own value proposition, think about what separates you from other marketers. Is it your in-depth knowledge of marketing analytics? Your ability to write irresistible headlines? Perhaps it’s your talent for creating compelling videos? Or maybe you have an impressive record of using social media to drive sales growth? Whatever it is, you can use it to set your resume apart from the crowd.

To a large extent, your value proposition depends on the type of positions and companies you’re targeting. Large and small companies often look for completely different skill sets, as do companies in different industries. So as you think about what makes you uniquely valuable, and how that aligns with the jobs you’re applying to.

Determine Your Messaging Strategy

It’s crucial to determine your messaging strategy — before you write a single word of your resume. That’s what you do when you’re running a marketing campaign, isn’t it? Here are some of the things to think about:

  • What is the best structure for your resume in order to highlight your value proposition?
  • Which keywords will your ideal employer be looking for?
  • How can you give real world examples of your value proposition in action? (Think about campaigns you’ve run, social media successes, ideas you developed, etc.)
  • What is the best layout and design to reinforce your message?

All these decisions should be made before you start writing, and they should all be made with your target audience in mind. That way you can be sure that when potential employers read your resume, it will immediately strike a chord.

If you want an example of great messaging in a resume, check out the digital marketing executive resume sample among our free downloadable resume templates. Look at the progression of roles and key accomplishments in those roles — it tells his career story while also making him look exceptionally qualified.

marketing-executive

Make Sure Your Resume Gets Seen

If you don’t already have a connection at the company you’re applying to, you’ll most likely need to apply through a computer system. This process is what makes it so critical to upload it in a format that allows all recipients to read it as intended, like a PDF. That way, none of the original formatting or spacing is lost in translation, making it really yucky to read from a recruiter’s perspective. Although they’ll still have access to your resume, confusing formatting might distract them from the content.

Many common applications have similar save or export options that let you ultimately save as a PDF. The most common are Microsoft Word and iWork Pages:

  • Microsoft Word: Choose File > Save as Adobe PDF
  • iWork Pages: Choose File > Export to > PDF

Once you send in your resume, the computer service will do is scan it for relevant keywords that have been programmed in advance by the recruiter. Then, the system will either “pass” or “fail” you, depending on how many keywords and phrases are included in your resume that match what the recruiter’s looking for.

Don’t worry: Even if you “fail,” it doesn’t mean your resume won’t ever get seen by a real human. But it doesn’t look great, either — so try to foresee which keywords the recruiter will be looking for by making a note of all of the skills you have that are relevant to the job description.

Keywords to include might be the names of the social media sites you use, analytics or CRM systems you know, and software programs or SAAS systems you’re familiar with. Make sure you’ve included these terms as seamlessly as possible throughout your resume (where relevant), and add any outliers at the very bottom under a “Technical Skills” or “Digital Marketing Skills” section.

9 Things Hiring Managers Are Looking For in Your Marketing Resume

Sure, computers may be used in the initial screening process, but it’s humans — with real feelings, pet peeves, hobbies, relationships, experiences, and backgrounds — who are ultimately reading and evaluating our resumes.

They’re also the ones who get annoyed when we don’t put our employment record in chronological order; who just don’t feel like reading paragraph-long job descriptions; and who get excited when you went to the same college as them. So to get a sense of what really matters on a marketing resume, I asked some hiring experts what they actually care about when they scan resumes, and here’s the inside scoop on the tips they shared with me. (By the way, don’t miss out on what they said about cover letters at the end.)

1) Length

Limit your resumes to one page if you can. It takes hiring managers six seconds to decide whether they like your resume or not. If they do, they’ll keep reading. If they don’t … well, it’s on to the next. So, chances are, they won’t even get to page two.

In some cases, bleeding onto another page is OK, especially if you have a lot of really relevant experience. But if you have to do that, just don’t exceed two pages. Remember, recruiters can always look at your LinkedIn profile for the full story. (Because you’ve completed your business profile on LinkedIn, right?)

2) Formatting

Formatting speaks to the way candidates collect their thoughts and organize their ideas. As HubSpot’s VP of Training and Development Andrew Quinn explains it, “A candidate’s resume is their ad to me. How are they structuring this ad so I get a clear picture of what they’re capable of?”

There’s a fine line, though, warns HubSpot Senior Marketing Recruiter Emily MacIntyre. “If you stray too far from normal formatting, it’s hard to read and understand your resume. Don’t get so creative that your resume becomes difficult to digest.”

Below is a snippet from a 2-page resume with great formatting that’s easy to read. If you like the format and want to use it as your own, you can find it among our free downloadable resume templates here under “Digital Marketing Strategist.”

Digital_Strat-1.jpg

Here’s another one, this time a one-page resume from a student seeking an internship. If you like the format and want to use it as your own, you can find it among our free downloadable resume templates here under “Inbound Marketing Intern.”

Inbound_Marketing_Intern_1-1.jpg

To explore other resume formats, download our free resume templates.

The creatives among you might be asking, “What about infographic resumes?” Here’s the general consensus: Don’t make an infographic resume. Every hiring manager I spoke with advised sticking to the classic resume form instead of infographics or other formats.

“Infographic resumes are impossible to understand,” says MacIntyre. “We appreciate creativity, except when it’s overkill and hard to follow. Keep it simple. Everyone appreciates a simple resume. If you’re a designer, showcase your creativity with a cool portfolio website in addition to your simple resume.”

Below is an example of a creative format that’s still easy to read and understand. It was made using the Apple desktop app iWork Pages, which can be exported as a PDF so none of that beautiful formatting gets messed up in translation.

calvin-baker-resume-sample-2.png?noresize

3) Writing Quality

Hiring managers throw away resumes with spelling errors — but writing quality goes beyond just simple spelling mistakes. Writing and presenting data in meaningful ways is a critical skill for any position, from blogging to engineering.

Are the details you want hiring managers to know about you easy to consume? Do you use concise sentences to convey your performance and accomplishments? Are your verb tenses consistent (except for current positions)? Is your language overflowing with buzzwords, or does it sound natural? Are you making sure to use first-person without using “I” or “my”? (See #11 in this blog post to understand why that’s not okay.)

“Formatting, spelling, syntax, and structure are all evidence of attention to detail,” Quinn told me. “This is important for any job, but especially if you’re applying to a job where attention to detail matters.” If you’re applying for a writing position, this is even more important.

4) Location

Hiring managers want to know if you’ll need to relocate. If you already live near the company’s office, great! If you would need to relocate, then it gets a little more complicated. Technically, hiring managers can’t legally ask you directly where you live — but omitting location will raise eyebrows. Even P.O. boxes are a little iffy.

If you do need to relocate, you should still include your current, out-of-town address on your resume, but be prepared to answer relocation status questions in an interview. If the company doesn’t offer relocation packages, will you be able to afford taking the job and moving anyway? If not, you may be wasting time.

5) College/Graduate School and Major/Concentration

Which is more important: Where you went to school, or what you studied?

It depends on the job you’re applying for. In most cases, your degree should make sense for the role. Hiring managers are looking for the tie-in; what’s relevant about what a candidate’s done in school. That doesn’t mean only marketing majors can apply to marketing jobs — marketing teams might hire someone who came out of creative studies like liberal arts, graphic design, or writing. An engineering team, on the other hand, probably won’t hire someone without a computer science degree.

It also depends on how successful you were at the school you attended. While there are some hiring managers who only give interviews to graduates of top-tier schools, most say it helps to go to a top-tier school, but it’s certainly not a deal-breaker if you went to a lower-tier school or community college. A community college graduate with a 4.0 GPA could be more attractive than an Ivy League graduate with a 2.0.

Education_Resume.png

Speaking of GPA — when to take it off your resume is subjective. If your GPA was below a 3.0, consider removing it altogether. If it’s higher than that, the Andrew says, “The benchmark is five to seven years after graduation, which is when candidates tend have a solid track record of employment. If you did well in school but had lackluster job prospects following graduation because of, say, a bad economy, you could definitely leave it on longer.”

education-section-example-1.png

It goes both ways, he explained: If you had great jobs and accomplishments following graduation but didn’t have a good GPA, consider removing your GPA earlier.

Three to five years after college or graduate school graduation, you can move your “Education” section to the bottom of your resume — unless you connected with someone through an alumni network or if you know an executive there also went to your school.

Want to take your marketing education to the next level and make your resume even more appealing to potential employers? Become a certified inbound marketing professional with HubSpot’s free marketing certification. Get started here.

6) Companies and Titles

Hiring managers will look at where you’ve worked before (do they recognize the company names or know anyone who works there?) and your titles at those companies.

“If you’re applying for a sales position at a software company like HubSpot, we’re looking for experience selling software,” David Fernandez, Recruiting Team Lead at HubSpot, told me. “If you’re applying for a services position, we’re looking for customer-facing experience.”

resume-2.png

Yes, people tweak their titles at previous companies to more closely match the positions they’re applying for. If you do this, your “new” title should be close enough to what you really did that if someone were to call and check a reference, they wouldn’t be dumbfounded. Maybe “Clerk to the Surgical Waiting Room” becomes “Customer Service Clerk.” Also, make sure to change your titles on LinkedIn, too — hiring managers will check for consistency on LinkedIn, Fernandez said.

7) Top Few Bullet Points in Each Section

Each position you’ve had should be accompanied by no more than five to six bullet points. Remember, these hiring managers are scanning your resumes really quickly, so you want to make it easy for them to find and digest the relevant information by consolidating the most important points and putting them first. Paragraphs are a big no-no.

Luckily, you work in a profession where everything can be measured and analyzed, which means it’s relatively easy to tell an impressive story of success. Think about all the ways your work can be quantified through hard data and then fill your resume with action-packed bullet points that convey the value you’ve added.

Focus on accomplishments first before responsibilities and duties. If you had a senior management role, include the number of people you managed.

Also, include goals and metrics that hiring managers can use to compare you against other candidates, and make sure those metrics make sense so you don’t confuse the hiring manager. Run the metrics by your mom. I’m serious. If they make sense to her, then they’re all set. If not, then you weren’t clear enough and you need to tweak the language.

Examples might be increasing social media engagement, improving SEO ROI, driving increased web traffic, reducing bounce rates, boosting landing page conversions, etc. Once you have a list of your results, choose the best four or five and turn these into bullet points like these:

  • Drove 37% improvement in newsletter clickthrough rates by rewriting sales copy.
  • Grew ecommerce sales 23% in just 6 months by redesigning and A/B testing all landing pages.

Here’s a more detailed example:

kathryn-resume-sample-1.png

If you want more examples of actionable data points, download these free resume templates.

8) Dates of Employment

Hiring managers look for job hopping and large gaps in employment, which are both red flags. Job hopping is a sign of failure to commit, a quality no one wants at their company. A word of advice: You should try to stay at every job for at least a year, preferably two or more years. Otherwise, it’s a red flag.

And if you took longer than six months off of work, MacIntyre suggests you explain the gap on your resume. If it’s something like teaching or the Peace Corps that you can describe like a job, then you can insert it into your resume just as you would any other position:

peace-corps-resume-2.png

If it’s something like traveling abroad or taking time off for family or personal reasons, you can simply add it in italics of parenthesis. “Travelled abroad.” “Took time off for family.” “Took time off for personal reasons.” Hiring managers just want to see a rational explanation — that you were doing something productive with your time.

9) Interests and Hobbies

Whether you include interests and hobbies on your resume depends on the company and the job. If you’re applying for a creative role, hobbies like photography and painting could be interesting to an employer. If you’re hiring for an accounting role, then a hobby like skydiving wouldn’t be good to include — hiring managers might categorize you as a risk-taker, and do they really want a risk-taker managing their money?

“Think about the conclusions someone could draw from your hobbies relative to the role you’re hiring for,” Quinn advises. “Do they enhance or detract from the image you’re trying to convey? If you know the culture embraces unique individuals that have a broad background and set of interests, then it could be useful information. But conservative organizations probably don’t care what you do in your free time — in fact, they could interpret outside hobbies as distractions.”

Companies with cultures like HubSpot’s want their employees to have some personality and invest in outside interests. So if you’re applying to join that kind of culture, an “Interests” or “Hobbies” section could benefit you. “They’re great conversation starters,” says MacIntyre. “‘You’re a skier? Me too! Which mountain do you go to?’ It creates common ground for conversation and helps us assess culture fit.”

Before including or omitting this section on your resume, gain some intelligence about the company’s environment and culture. (And check out HubSpot’s culture code if you haven’t already.)

Spend Less Time on These …

Personal Statements/Objectives

In fact, we recommend skipping these altogether. Frankly, they’re irrelevant — not to mention way too easy to screw up. I’ve spoken with HubSpot recruiters about numerous times where candidates put the name of another local company on there — huge mistake.

Instead, replace it with a “Skills” or “Key Skills” section at the top of your resume, in column format, that highlights the top six to nine skills applicable to the role you’re applying for. Be sure to change these skills for each job and use the job description as a guideline.

Don’t plagiarize the job description by any means, but you can pull out key phrases. For example, in the example below, one of the listed skills is “Deep understanding of the consumer lifecycle.” That’s because the job description asked for exactly that: a deep understanding of the consumer lifecycle and customer journey.

skills-resume-sample.png

Pro Tip: Although you should leave this section off your resume, you should have something in the ‘Summary’ section of your LinkedIn profile. Focus this section on specific skills and achievements. It’s a good place to put a link to your portfolio, blog, SlideShare presentations, or examples of work you’ve created like open-source code.

Use that space to talk about specific achievements from previous roles, awards you’ve won, or projects you’ve worked on. The information and skills on here should be applicable to where you’re headed in your career, not irrelevant past skills. (When I first heard this tip, I immediately took “emergency medicine” off of mine.)

Cover Letters

Cover letters vary in importance, depending on industry, and even on individual company. Here at HubSpot, we phased out requiring one — and instead ask candidates thoughtful questions during our application and interview process. Many companies that require you to write a cover letter will read it, but they’ll focus mostly on your resume.

With this in mind, include important details on your resume, like gaps in employment, rather than relying on your cover letter — which may never get read — to explain it. And reallocate those hours you plan to spend writing and perfecting your cover letter to writing and rewriting your resume. Your resume is the most important tool in the first stage of the application process, so spend a lot of time on it and ask multiple people to critique it.

It’s Just Like Marketing

As a marketer, you have a talent for communication and a solid understanding of what makes people buy. The good news is that by applying this knowledge to your own resume, you can easily stand out from the crowd.

Need to revamp your resume? Get started by downloading and customizing these free marketing resume templates.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

10 free marketing resume templates


free resume templates

Aug

9

2016

13 Networking Mistakes You Need to Stop Making

networking-mistakes.jpeg

When done right, networking is an incredibly valuable investment of every professional’s time and effort. It helps us make meaningful business connections, get feedback, and advance our careers. And best of all, it pays significant dividends over time.

So why does it seem so unpleasant sometimes? It can feel fake, it’s exhausting, and frankly, standing alone in a sea of unknown faces with nametags and cheese plates can be utterly painful.

But there are ways to make networking less of a chore. It starts with reflecting on your current networking habits and learning where you might be making mistakes. I’m not talking about obvious mistakes, like talking super close to someone’s face or not dressing the part. I’m talking about the more subtle mistakes you may not even know you’re making.

Here are 13 networking mistakes that could be holding you back from developing meaningful business relationships and creating real value out of them.

13 Networking Mistakes You Need to Stop Making

1) You’re waiting to build your network until you need it most.

A lot of people neglect to build their networks until they’re desperate — perhaps they’ve lost their job, they’re looking for a career change, or they’re applying to graduate school and need advice or references. It’s hard to prioritize networking when you don’t have a specific goal you’re going after. But if you’re constantly doing things to help you build your network — even when you’re gainfully employed — then it’ll be strong when you need it most.

When it comes to networking, it pays to be proactive. Don’t wait until fate brings you a new networking opportunity; seek them out yourself.

“Put an hour on your calendar each week specifically focused on expanding your network.” Katie Burke, HubSpot’s VP of Culture and Experience, wrote in her article about networking.

“Ask a friend who the most interesting person they know is and go meet them. Email a blog author whose content you love with a specific comment or question about his or her work. Reconnect with an old colleague whose work you always admired. Sometimes, these conversations will lead nowhere. But many will generate new ideas, connections, and creativity, so it’s worth the break in the action from your usual busy day,” she added. 

2) You aren’t keeping up your personal brand.

When you network with new people, it’s pretty inevitable that they’re going to look you up online later to see what your deal is. They’ll look at your LinkedIn profile, your Twitter page, and your blog posts. They might even Google you. And when they do, you’ll want to have an active, interesting, and thoughtful online presence for them to browse.

That’s why, in addition to regularly seeking out new connections, it’s also important that you continuously develop your personal brand online. That means keeping your social media profiles (like LinkedIn) updated and regularly posting interesting, relevant articles and commentary to your social media accounts. It also means responding kindly when people message, email, or tweet at you, contributing to your company’s blog, and writing guest blog posts for other blogs and publications (like these ones), and getting personal brand exposure through earned media.

3) You’re afraid to attend networking events by yourself.

Even extroverts don’t like going to networking events and conferences alone. It’s straight up anxiety-inducing to stand around by yourself, wondering why everyone else seems to know each other already.

“For a long time, I never wanted to go to networking events by myself,” my colleague Amanda Zantal-Wiener told me. “But eventually, I realized two things: 1) When I went with someone I already knew, that ended up restricting the conversations I had; and 2) if I went into the event with the mindset that I’m a person who will start a conversation with anyone, it was really quite effective.”

Gaining the confidence to approach people and join in on conversations has a lot to do with simply being prepared. My advice? Approach every event you attend with a game plan, starting with looking through the speaker and/or guest list and identifying the people you’d like to talk with. Then, challenge yourself to connect with each of them. People really are willing to talk to you — especially if you’re the first one to say hello.

4) You don’t do your homework.

Preparing for events, conferences, and meetings doesn’t just mean coming with a stack of freshly printed business cards. If you know certain people who are attending or speaking at an event whom you know you’ll be interested in meeting, then you should do research on them ahead of time. When you do your homework, you can skip the small talk and get right into the meaningful conversation you’re looking for in the first place.

“Time is the most valuable resource people can offer you, so respect it,” says Burke. “Do your homework on [the person’s] title, their background, their email address, their preferred mode of contact — e.g., never call Dharmesh, he’s made it clear he hates the phone — and their career history. That way, your conversation via email, phone, or in-person can focus on the advice you need help with, the subject matter you’d like to learn more about, or the organization you want to learn more about.”

In addition to coming prepared with questions for other people, prepare to answer the questions they’ll ask you. Practice your own pitch, as well as answering questions about your career goals.

5) You don’t follow up with personal messages.

So you go to an event, talk to someone awesome, have a great conversation with them, and exchange business cards before you part ways. Great! But don’t call it a day just yet. Unless you follow up with some sort of personal message, says my colleague Aja Frost, then you risk never talking with that person again — and losing out on a potentially meaningful connection.

That’s why you should follow up every great networking conversation with a personalized and thoughtful thank-you message or email. Here are 12 templates for follow-up networking emails that I’ve personally found super helpful.

Or, you can send something as simple as a short message along with your LinkedIn invitation:

Hi Shannon, it was great meeting you at the happy hour last night! I enjoyed hearing about the design project you’re working on. I’m an aspiring designer myself, so I’d love to connect and follow your work.”

A message like this gives the recipient both reassurance that you’re someone they should have in their network, and a jumping off point to start a discussion.

If the person you spoke with gave you some suggestions for your own project or career, follow up to let her know how that’s going — and, later, whether or not her suggestions panned out. 

Pro Tip: Set yourself up for a substantial follow-up conversation by building a bridge to your next exchange before saying goodbye. Benjamin Akande, dean of Webster University’s George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, suggests asking people what they’re working on right now. Take note of their response and mention it when you strike up your next conversation.

If you tend to easily forget small details or are meeting a lot of different people at once, make follow-up easier by (subtly) writing a note or two down on the business cards people give you, or make some notes on your phone.

6) You can’t follow up — because you don’t take other people’s contact information.

Ever given someone your contact information, but neglected to take theirs? That leaves you depending on them to contact you, rather than the other way around.

That’s what my colleague Padraig O’Connor cited as his biggest networking mistake to-date. “Sadly, these busy people would not always get in touch and contact was lost,” he told me. Since then, he even goes so far as to open up his own LinkedIn account on his phone and have people find and themselves as a connection right then and there.

“It also saves on data entry,” he added. Can’t argue with that.

7) You ask the same questions everyone else is asking.

Part of being good at networking is standing out from the crowd. How are you going to do that if you’re asking the same old, predictable questions everyone else is asking? This is especially true for folks who are in high demand, like event speakers or high profile attendees.

The best way to make a positive impression on someone is to ask questions that unleash that person’s passion or require them to tell personal stories.

“Asking more interesting questions gets you undeniably better answers,” wrote Burke in her article, on how to talk to anyone about anything. “So instead of probing on what someone does now (which typically leads to awkward humble bragging), ask what they wanted to be when they grew up, what their first concert was, what magazines they subscribe to, or which celebrity they’d want to invite over for dinner. Doing so relieves people of the boring back-and-forth of typical office party conversation and into far more interesting territory.”

For more ideas, here are 20 conversation starters to help you break the ice at a networking event.

8) You dominate networking conversations.

We’ve all been in one of those conversations. You know, the one where it slowly dawns on you you’re listening to a person’s life story and you may never be allowed to leave. Ever.

But have you ever been caught in a moment where you realized it was you who was doing this to another person? It can happen to any one of us, especially when we get excited about a particular topic or we really want to sell someone on our pitch. But dominating the conversation and monopolizing people’s time can make you seem self-important, uninterested in listening to other people, and generally annoying. Remember: Networking events are for mingling and meeting a variety of people. Multiple people.

“A lot of people use networking as an opportunity to hard-sell themselves,” said Hannah Fleishman, marketing lead on HubSpot’s product team, in an email. “This is a big mistake. We should be using networking to make new connections and leave great impressions on those connections. Stealing the spotlight to talk about all the amazing things you’ve done isn’t how you connect with someone — save that for your job interview.

“Have a conversation, ask questions, and be genuinely curious about the new people you’re meeting. People who can pick up on social cues, show an interest in others, and listen as well as they carry a discussion are the ones who stand out to me as someone I’d want to work with or stay in touch with.”

To learn more about the importance of listening to others, asking questions, picking up on others’ emotional cues, read this blog post on the 19 signs you’re emotionally intelligent (and why it matters).

9) You avoid being the one to end the conversation.

Ah, the art of gracefully ending a conversation at a networking event. It’s a tricky skill to master, but it’ll save you from ending up feeling trapped. 

“One of my bigger mistakes is that I let people dominate my time because I’m terrible at ending a conversation and moving on,” said Sam Mallikarjunan, principal marketing strategist here at HubSpot. “So I end up only talking to a few people for long periods, and wasting the opportunity to connect with more folks.”

So, how do you end a conversation without looking like a jerk? I actually wrote a whole blog post about gracefully excusing yourself from conversations. Here are a few of my polite suggestions for conversation-enders:

  • “Did you see the restroom anywhere?”
  • “I think I left my [laptop/bag/phone] in the other room. I’d better go grab it before it disappears.”
  • “I need another drink, what about you?”
  • “You love XYZ? You should meet Joe, he loves XYZ too!”

10) You’re overeager.

Once you meet someone at an event and exchange information, be cool. Being a likeable person has a lot to do with the interactions you have with others, so take care that you’re not overdoing it.

“Don’t add someone you’re looking to get to know better on LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, and Medium in one fell swoop,” Burke told me. “It just comes across as too aggressive out of the gate. Pick one channel you know the person meaningfully engages with on a regular basis, and focus your attention there.”

When you do choose that channel, make sure you’re using it correctly, personalizing your messages, and being friendly and professional. In other words, don’t be this guy: Here’s a screenshot of an actual conversation that my colleague Siobhán McGinty was pulled into on LinkedIn:

linkedin-spam.png

There’s a little lesson on how not to network with people. If you’re not sure how to use LinkedIn for professional networking, read the networking section of this awesome blog post on how to use LinkedIn

11) You aren’t helpful.

In Burke’s post on networking like a pro, she reminded me of a concept revered by HubSpot’s co-founder and CTO, Dharmesh Shah: the notion of being shockingly helpful. Focus on being helpful to others rather than on what you can get out of a networking relationship. When you rethink how you network in this way, you’ll see the quality of your interactions go way up.

Burke suggests starting with the goal of helping ten people per month in a meaningful way. Start with a list from your immediate network, and “once you’ve warmed up your shockingly helpful muscles, expand your network each week.” Trust me, this will pay off over time.

Remember: What goes around comes around. 

12) You don’t venture outside your existing network.

Speaking of expanding your network … far too many people avoid building relationships outside their existing network or field of work, even if they don’t mean to. 

And are we surprised? It’s way easier and more comfortable to stick with what’s familiar, and at the end of the day, we all want to sound smart.

But if you don’t expand your network, you risk creating a virtuous closed loop and rarely challenging your own perspective. To solve this problem, you need to be proactive: Start with the goal of following ten new people on Twitter and LinkedIn this week who are experts in something you know nothing about but find interesting. Don’t let the algorithms pick these people for you — actually go out and search for them. It could open you up to people worth learning from.

13) You don’t ask for anything, or you ask for too much. 

It’s helpful to come to a networking event or conversation with a specific goal in mind. Maybe you’re looking for a job and want to get advice on how to build your resume — or even get a referral. Or perhaps you already have a job and you’re looking for feedback on your project, or you want to spread the word about your company’s work.

Once you have a goal in mind, the hard part is letting the other person know about your goal without coming off like you’re using them. When you’re networking, it’s okay — even encouraged — to have an “ask.” Not only can it help move the conversation and the relationship along, but it can also provide some welcome context to your follow-up.

However, there are two mistakes people often make here: Either they don’t make their “ask” clear enough, or they overdo it and ask too much of someone.

“My last VP told me that not enough young people early in their careers make a proper ‘ask,’ my colleague Sophia Bernazzani told me. “They just talk, and maybe get a business card, without asking or saying something more definitively.”

But no one’s a mind reader. You’ll never get what you’re looking for if you don’t ask — and it’s all about asking politely and genuinely. For example, if you’re looking for a job and the person you’re talking with doesn’t have any openings, you might ask him:

  • Well, what’s the outlook for future opportunities?
  • Do you know anyone else in the industry who might have something?
  • Any thoughts on what my next step should be?
  • Do you know someone whom it might be good for me to talk with?

If you’re talking to this person via email, here are 12 networking email templates with language that might help you better position the request.

On the other end of the spectrum, you shouldn’t ask for too much from someone you barely know. There’s a huge difference between asking someone for advice on your next career move and asking them to be your mentor forever and ever. Same goes for asking for a quote for a piece you’re writing, versus asking them to review the entire piece and give you in-depth feedback.

We hope these tips will help you make more meaningful connections, expand your network, and strengthen your emotional intelligence.

What other networking mistakes can you add to this list? Share with us in the comments.

free guide to using linkedin

Jul

28

2016

21 Things Recruiters Absolutely Hate About Your Resume

things-recruiters-hate-about-your-resume.jpg

I’ll never forget one of my first job interviews out of college.

I was applying for a marketing position at a technology company. (No, not HubSpot.) Because my college major had nothing to do with marketing or technology, I’d written “Relevant coursework: Statistics” in the education section of my resume in an effort to draw a connection.

When I came in to interview, everything was going great — until I met with one of the company’s VPs. He sat down, turned my resume over on the table in front of him, scribbled down an advanced statistics question, and pushed it across the table to me.

Crap.

Let’s just say it’d been a while since I brushed up on my statistics. I ended up reasoning my way through the problem, but it wasn’t a piece of cake — and I was stressed as heck. I learned an important lesson that day: Never put something on your resume you can’t back up 100%. That, my friends, is just one of the many things recruiters hate to see on resumes. Download these marketing resume templates to make your job hunt easier. 

Every recruiter has their own list of things they don’t like to see on resumes, and you never know who’s going to see yours. That’s why it’s important to avoid all the most common resume mistakes.

I spoke with some of the top recruiters here at HubSpot to find out the top 21 things recruiters and hiring managers don’t want to see on your resume. Needless to say, you may want to bookmark this one …

21 Things Recruiters Absolutely Hate About Your Resume

1) When you send it in a Google Doc, and then don’t grant proper permissions.

Before you send your resume to a recruiter, you need to convert it to a format that allows all recipients to read it as intended.

Ideally, this means converting it into a PDF format so none of the original formatting or spacing is lost in translation. You can convert a Microsoft Word document into a PDF by choosing File > Save as Adobe PDF.

save-as-PDF.png

If you have to send your resume over as a Google Doc, at least grant the recipient proper permissions to view it by clicking “Share” in the top-right corner of your Google Doc, entering in the email address of the people you want to include, and choosing “Can view” from the dropdown menu.

google-doc-share-with-others.png

Or, you can let anyone read it by clicking that “Share” button and then choosing “Get shareable link” at the top. Then, choose “can view” from the dropdown menu and send that link to the recruiter.

google-doc-anyone-with-link-can-view.png

We recommend a PDF format, though. It’s much more professional.

2) When your email address is “soccergrl0721@yahoo.com.”

There’s a lot you can tell about a person from their email address … and you don’t want this to be how the recruiters find out you like soccer. Outdated names can be a red flag, especially for tech-savvy companies. In the same vein, if you’re still using a Hotmail, Comcast, Yahoo!, or AOL email address, it’s time to upgrade.

If you need to, set up a separate email for your job hunt that’s some iteration of your name. It’s easy enough to create a new Gmail account for free. If you’re interviewing for a technical job, you might consider using or creating an email address associated with your own custom domain to show you know more than the average person about the web and technology.

3) When you mention the wrong company. (Oops.)

Of course, no one ever means to address the wrong company in their resume. But if you’re including your intentions as a candidate somewhere on your resume (which we don’t recommend, by the way; see #10), then you need to get it right.

“It’s unfortunate when a candidate has a good resume or cover letter, but don’t proofread and put in the wrong company information,” says Emily MacIntyre, Senior Marketing Recruiter here at HubSpot.

Getting this right goes beyond proofreading; it means paying attention to the details of the transaction. Customizing your resumes to different companies is expected, but you need to make sure you’re sending the right resumes to the right companies. One tip is to save your different resumes with the company name in the title, like Kolowich-Resume-HubSpot.

4) When you get a little too creative with your fonts.

Recruiters are going to notice the font and formatting of your resume before they even start reading it — which is why it’s important to choose a font that’s easily readable and professional.

The most common resume font is Times New Roman, in size 12-point font and black. It’s a serif font, which tend to look more professional because they have what’s called “tails” on the letters. These tails make the letter look less block-like than sans serif fonts.

serif-vs-sans-serif.png

Image Credit: Kensington Design

Serif fonts other than Times New Roman that are great for resumes include Georgia, Bell MT, Goudy Old Style, and Garamond. If you really want to use a sans serif font, try Arial, Tahoma, Century Gothic, or Lucida Sans. Check out this infographic for some more guidance on what makes a good resume font.

Oh, and only use one font. Using two fonts looks a little messy and unprofessional — and, worse, it can even look unintentional.

The only exception here is for designers. “I’ve seen some really wild, creative, and awesome resumes from designers, and since that’s their craft, I encourage that,” says Sean Marsters, Senior Product Recruiter at HubSpot.

5) When your high school is still on there.

Unless you’re in high school or college, you can leave your high school off of your resume, says Marsters. He says that college graduates with minimal experience might be able to get away with it, but to most recruiters, it ends up looking like filler information.

The only exception here? If you connected with someone through your high school alumni network. In this case, you’d only want to include it in a resume that you send directly to that person. Otherwise, it could be seen as filler information.

Pro Tip: Three to five years after college or graduate school graduation, you can actually move your “Education” section to the bottom of your resume. Again, the only time you wouldn’t want to do this is if you connected with someone through an alumni network, or if you know an executive there also went to your school.

6) When you have two degrees, but only one GPA.

If you have a college degree and a graduate degree, don’t only list the one GPA you’re proud of. This calls into question why you’ve only listed one GPA, and so obviously left the other one out, explains HubSpot’s Recruiting Team Lead Dave Fernandez.

The benchmark for being able to remove GPA from your resume altogether is five to seven years after graduation, which is when candidates tend have a solid track record of employment, says Andrew Quinn, VP of Learning and Development at HubSpot.

“But if you did well in school but had lackluster job prospects following graduation because of, say, a bad economy, you could definitely leave it on longer.” It goes both ways, he explained: If you had great jobs and accomplishments following graduation but didn’t have a good GPA, consider removing your GPA earlier. Just don’t remove one and not the other if you have multiple degrees.

7) When you list every piece of technology you’ve ever touched, seen, heard, smelt.

In the technology industry, it’s very common for recruiters to see candidates listing out experience with all the technology they’ve ever heard of. But unless you’ve cut and edited videos extensively, you can’t really put “Final Cut Pro” on your resume.

“Unless you’re confident in your skill set and experience in that area, don’t add technology just to add fodder,” says Marsters.

Same goes with languages you speak, or your college classes. “College students shouldn’t feel the need to list out every single class they took at school. In fact, you don’t need to add any classes — but it’s OK if you want to list a few important ones relevant to the job you’re applying for.”

Pro Tip: Unless you can hold your own in an interview on the subjects you’re listing, leave them out.

8) When you’re “Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.”

Almost every single candidate feels the need to include this phrase on their resume — but recruiters hate to see it. Basic proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite is assumed for college graduates these days.

“Unless you can run pivot tables, VLOOKUPs, and complex data modeling out of Excel, then don’t include proficiency in Excel on your resume,” says Marsters. “Writing a 500-word essay in Word and sorting a column in alphabetical order in Excel does not count as proficiency in those systems.”

Pro Tip: If you want the Excel chops to be able to include it on your resume, here are the 10 best resources for learning Excel online.

9) When the formatting is all over the place.

Formatting speaks to the way candidates collect their thoughts and organize their ideas. As Quinn explains it, “A candidate’s resume is their ad to me. How are they structuring this ad so I get a clear picture of what they’re capable of?”

There are a few key things every candidate should check off the list before sending in a resume:

  • Is your formatting consistent across all positions? For example, if you’re bolding job titles, are all job titles bolded?
  • Are your margins even?
  • Are all items properly aligned? For example, if you’ve right-aligned dates, are they all lining up in tandem with one another?

Formatting consistency is another reason we recommend you send your resume as a PDF. (See #1.)

10) When you start off with a generalized summary.

Unless a company specifically asks for a summary at the top of your resume (which is doubtful), you really shouldn’t include one, says MacIntyre. They’re too easy to screw up — this is a place where candidates have put the name of the wrong company. Plus, they usually come off sounding stuffy and insincere.

Instead, lean in to a “Key Skills” section either at the top or bottom of your resume, in column format, that highlights the top six to nine skills applicable to the role you’re applying for. Be sure to change these skills for each job — and remember, leave out Microsoft Office Suite unless you’re truly proficient.

Pro Tip: Although you should leave this section off your resume, you should write something in the “Summary” section of your LinkedIn profile. Use this section to write out specific skills and achievements, link to your portfolio or blog, and talk about awards you’ve won or projects you’ve worked on. The information and skills on here should be applicable to where you’re headed in your career, not irrelevant past skills.

11) When you use the pronouns “I” or “my.”

Resumes are not the time to be using pronouns like “I” or “my,” says MacIntyre. However, you should still use first-person, not the third-person, when conjugating your verbs.

This is tricky to explain. Here’s how I think about it: Don’t use the word “I” in your resume, but assume the word “I” when you conjugate your verbs to ensure they’re in the first-person. So if you want to write that you develop promotional materials in your current role, write “Develop promotional materials,” as in “I develop promotional materials” — but without using the pronoun “I.”

  • Correct: “Develop promotional materials.”
  • Incorrect: “Develops promotional materials.”

12) When your verb tenses are wrong.

Speaking of verb conjugation … make sure all of your verb tenses are in the past tense for past positions, and in the present tense for current positions. Verb tense is evidence of attention to detail, which is important for any job — especially if you’re applying to a job where attention to detail matters, says Quinn.

Using the same example as above, here’s how I’d write out that responsibility on a resume if it were my current position versus a past position:

  • Current position: “Develop promotional materials.”
  • Past position: “Developed promotional materials.”

The exception here is if you’re talking about something that you did in your current position that “ended” in some way. For example, you’d use the past tense to write “Earned a spot in President’s Club for achieving XYZ” because it’s something you did that had a finite ending.

13) When you list your responsibilities, but not your accomplishments.

Sure, it’s helpful for candidates to list out what they were responsible for doing in their job. But it’s way more interesting to learn the results the candidates actually drove — and putting down more responsibilities than accomplishments is a red flag.

Here’s a great example: “Instead of writing ‘Handled all monetary transactions,’ write ‘Increased revenue by X% year-over-year, resulting in promotion to Senior Account Manager and entrustment with enterprise-level deals,'” says Fernandez. “The latter is much more telling.”

Include goals and metrics that recruiters can use to compare you against other candidates. List out the cool stuff you did in every position, and then choose the best four or five and turn them into bullet points like these:

  • Drove 37% improvement in newsletter clickthrough rates by rewriting sales copy.
  • Grew ecommerce sales 23% in just 6 months by redesigning and A/B testing all landing pages.

(For more examples of actionable data points, download these free resume templates.)

14) When you list outdated or irrelevant experience.

A resume isn’t a place where you just tack on a new section every time you add a new job or volunteer opportunity. You should be picky about which roles, skills, experiences, and accomplishments you include — all based on the role you’re applying for.

So unless you’re applying for a job that requires lifeguarding skills, you can leave out your summer lifeguarding job from college. If you’re further down your career path, list the more recent roles you’ve had that complement the job you’re applying for.

The only exception here is if you’re still in college, or you’re a recent college graduate with limited experience and you need to “fill out” your resume a little bit. In that case, don’t just write that you were responsible for monitoring the waters for people in need of saving; glean relevant skills, such as learning how to resolve challenging, ambiguous situations.

15) When there are large chunks of text.

It takes hiring managers all of six seconds to scan your resume before deciding whether they’re interested in you. If they see large chunks of text that aren’t broken up by bullet points, it’ll turn them off big time. Who likes reading large chunks of text?

It’s the same reason bloggers use headers, bullet points, and other formatting tricks to break up long blog posts. It all comes down to making it easier for people to like reading your stuff.

Make sure you’re using bullet points to list out your accomplishments underneath each position, and limit them to five or six bullet points per post. The order of your bullet points matters, too: Put the most important, relevant, and impressive ones first.

16) When it’s ridden with buzzwords and meaningless clichés.

So you’re a hardworking team player with exceptional problem-solving skills? That’s cool, but … what does that actually mean? Anyone could write this on their resume. (And believe me, they do.) It’s meaningless. You need to give solid examples that are sincere, BS-free, and backed by evidence.

For example, let’s say the job you’re applying for is asking for someone with a strong knowledge of the marketing lifecycle. Use your resume as an opportunity to showcase this — but don’t just write, “Developed a strong knowledge of the marketing lifecycle.” Write “Developed a strong knowledge of the marketing lifecycle and consumer journey through researching and writing in-depth articles on topics including SEO, content marketing, email marketing, branding, social media, and more.”

Same goes for corporate buzzwords: Leave them out. Sweep your resume for annoying jargon and business babble, and replace these phrases with clearly articulated ones that make it clear to the recruiter what you did and how you did it.

17) When you don’t explain your gaps.

Most of you know already that gaps in employment are red flags to recruiters — but that’s only true when you don’t explain them.

If you took longer than six months off of work, you may want to explain the gap on your resume — perhaps in italics or parenthesis. “Travelled abroad.” “Took time off for family.” “Took time off for personal reasons.” They just want to see a rational explanation — that you were doing something productive with your time, not just hanging out watching Netflix. 

If you’d rather leave your resume for the meat of your relevant experiences, you choose to address a gap by including a note in your cover letter or in the email you send to the hiring manager that your resume is attached to: “You’ll notice that there is a year-long gap between X and Y jobs. I’m more than happy to explain that further.”

Either way, be honest about it. If you’re upfront, you’ll seem trustworthy instead of fishy.

18) When it’s inconsistent with your LinkedIn profile.

If a recruiter is interested in your resume, chances are, they’ll look at your LinkedIn profile alongside it to learn more about you — and check for discrepancies. Make sure you’re updating your LinkedIn profile at the same time you’re updating your resume. The two don’t have to be identical, but they do have to be consistent. 

Pro Tip: Don’t want to tip off your current colleagues that you’re on the hunt for a new job? To make sure your LinkedIn profile edits aren’t broadcast to your network, log in and move your cursor over “Profile” at the top of your homepage, then select “Edit Profile.” Find the box on the right-hand side of your profile that says “Notify your network?” and toggle the button so it says “No.”

linkedin-broadcasts-off.png

19) When you get a little too crazy with the formatting.

Standing out from the crowd is a good thing, especially when you’re competing with hundreds, even thousands of applicants with a single piece of paper. But there is such thing as getting too crazy with the formatting. While recruiters have seen some really cool resumes — particularly from designers — sending a resume that strays far away from the normal resume format is a risk.

“If you stray too far from normal formatting, it can be hard to read and understand your resume,” warns MacIntyre. “Don’t get so creative with infographic-style resumes that the information becomes difficult to digest.”

If you’re willing to take the risk, gut check with a friend before you send your work in. But if you opt for a regularly formatted resume, that’s perfectly OK. There are a few, subtle ways to make it stand out from looking like literally everybody else’s. 

“You could stand in line at a college career fair and see 200 resumes in a row that all look the exact same,” says Marsters. “Recruiters don’t want to see word clouds or calligraphy, but it doesn’t hurt to find subtle ways to stand out from the crowd,” says Marsters. “Start by staying away from the top three options when punching ‘resume format’ into Google.”

(P.S. If you’re working on a marketing resume specifically, then use these free templates to get you started.)

20) When it’s basically a novel.

Remember how nobody likes to read a ton of text? Recruiters don’t want to flip through multiple pages to read about your experiences. A good rule of thumb is to limit your resume to one page for every ten years of experience. Chances are, recruiters won’t even get to page two — but if you absolutely must bleed onto another page, then definitely don’t exceed two.

If you’re having trouble cutting your resume down, think about tip #13 and make sure any outdated or irrelevant work experience is cut. You might also consider cutting your education section if you’re more than five years out of college or have a lot of solid, relevant experience.

21) When you pair it with unprofessional email copy.

There are a lot of jobs out there that ask people to apply via email. But think about how many emails those recruiters get. Do you think they actually open the resumes in every single one of those emails?

Not a chance. What you write in that email will make a huge difference in whether or not the person you send it to actually opens your resume and gives you a shot. That’s why you have to spend time crafting an email that’s concise, professional, and makes you sound appropriately enthusiastic about the position.

Your subject line should make it totally clear what the content of your email is — something like “Application: Content Writer”.

As for the email itself, clearly state the position name and team you’re applying for. Write 1–3 sentences explaining why you think you’re good for the position and why you’re excited about the role. Then, end with something like, “I’ve attached my resume in case you’d like to learn more about my background and experiences. Feel free to contact me by email or phone [give phone number here] with any questions. Thanks for taking the time to read my application.”

And finally, don’t forget to name your resume attachment something clear and professional, like Kolowich-Resume-HubSpot.

If you’ve gotten this far and your resume is clear of all these things, then you’re ready to send it in. Good luck with your search! (P.S. We’re hiring.)

What do you absolutely hate seeing on a resume? Share with us in the comments.

10 free marketing resume templates

Jul

13

2016

The 9 Worst Resume Mistakes You Can Make & How to Avoid Them [Infographic]

worst-resume-mistakes.jpeg

Crafting a standout resume requires a whole lot of work.

Not only do you have to write the darn thing, but you also have to check (and double-check) for typos, even out your margins, make sure you’re not repeating the same action verb ten times … the list goes on.

While there are a lot of little things you’ll want to check before sending your resume to a recruiter, some are more important than others.

Download our 10 free marketing resume templates here.

In the name of prioritization, check out the infographic below from StandoutCV for a list of nine of the resume mistakes you definitely don’t want to make the next time you apply for a job — and how to avoid them.

worst-resume-mistakes-infographic.jpg

10 free marketing resume templates

Jun

20

2016

Trying to Find a Job? 8 Little Ways to Make Your Job Search a Whole Lot Easier

Job_Search_Hacks.jpg

The average job search is a peculiar paradox. There may be 2,278 available positions for your chosen field, but as you scroll through pages and pages of listings, you’re lucky if two stand out.

Perhaps you’re a recent college graduate searching for the needle in the haystack of three- to five-year experience jobs. Just as frustrating, you could be a senior employee wondering if any position out there matches your unique mix of skills. Either way, it doesn’t take long before you start to feel like the Goldilocks of job searching.

So how do you know if you’re being too picky? In my own job searching, I’ve tried two opposite methods:

  1. Blanketing hundreds of postings with the same resume.
  2. Strategically focusing on a dream list of companies.

But for the sake of full transparency, the former option was fueled by the motivation to get off of my parents’ couch as quickly as possible.

If you’ve read any amount of job search advice on the internet, you probably know which of these two methods yielded the best results. However, there are plenty of other factors beyond your resume-sending habits that go into finding the perfect position and ensuring you get the call back. Below, I’ve gathered some of the top tips to score a job without all the added stress that comes along with the search.

Trying to Find a Job? 8 Little Ways to Simplify Your Search 

1) Customize your web presence.

It should go without saying, but if you aren’t customizing your resume, cover letter, and portfolio for the specific job you’re applying to, you probably won’t get the interviews you’re hoping for.

While a full resume checklist warrants a blog post of its own, one tip I will highlight is taking the time to match the wording of your resume and cover letter to the position you’re applying to. In the world of marketing, jargon abounds. Whether it’s content management or landing page optimization, talk about your skills in a way that a first-round recruiter — or even a computer — will understand.

Let’s take a look at the listing for a blogging position on our content team as an example (and did I mention, we’re hiring?):

content_marketing_writer-blogger.png

Having found this promising job listing, here’s how you might begin customizing your application:

  • Create word cloud. As a first check, use a word cloud generator to extract the terms that are used most in the job description. For example, here’s what terms stand out in the blogger listing:

blogger_word_cloud.png

  • Scan the job description for technical terms you can repeat in your own writing. This doesn’t mean mentioning “high-impact experiments” if you’ve never actually tested content distribution or format. But it would be wise to replace “designs hero images” on your resume with “creates multimedia assets” to make the connection clear for a recruiter.
  • Identify themes between the resonsibilities and qualifications. If the job description repeats a desired quality, you can assume it’s a pet rock of the team. For example, the posting stresses the importance of experimentation. Therefore, you should replace or refine the anecdotes of your cover letter to highlight this quality.
  • Take notice of culture clues. Sentiments of collaboration and teamwork appear multiple times in this job posting. As you aim to show you have this quality, refer to the company’s culture code to inform your language choice.

Beyond tweaking your resume and cover letter for the specific company and role, make sure all instances of your name on the internet — including your LinkedIn profile, Twitter, Instagram, published clips, and portfolio — tell a cohesive story. Remember, every aspect of your online presence should scream, “I’m perfect for this job!” before you pick up the phone for your first screening call.

2) Don’t limit yourself to formal applications.

“It’s not what you know, but who you know.” No matter how many times I hear this quote, it still makes my blood boil. In the back of my mind, I hear my post-grad self wine: “But I don’t know anyone. How am I supposed to get a job then?”

Even if that saying is true, I would now push back on my former self with a little tough love: If you don’t know the right people, make the connections.

No matter what what stage of your career you’re in, it won’t hurt to reach out to friends, alumni, and former colleagues. Even if you don’t know the right person, they might. And that referral can make all the difference. While employee referrals make up only 7% of applications, Jobvite estimates they account for 40% of all hires.

Opt for targeted, personalized emails as opposed to a single spammy message to your entire address book. For an example, take a look at this inquiry email I might send to a former co-worker for potential leads:

job_inquiry_email.png

You’ll notice that besides attaching my resume, I’ve shorted my recent experience to a few quick bullet points in the body of the message to make it as easy as possible to scan. I’ve also included ideal job titles and companies, while of course, thanking them graciously for their support.

As frightening as it may be, emailing second connections or companies of interest without job listings is not out of the question … as long as you do it in the right way. There’s a big difference between a cold email and a genuine, personalized message. Many of my best leads came out of direct messages to content directors, admiring a specific aspect of their work and asking for their creative expertise over a cup of coffee. For those who know me be best, they’ll confirm it’s completely out of my introverted, Midwestern-nice comfort zone to ever do this. But in the end, your momentary discomfort could pay off tremendously.

3) Reflect on your why.

Most interview questions never change. Why are you interested in this position? What are your top strengths and weaknesses? Where do you see yourself in five years?

Yet, no matter how many interviews you’ve had, it’s still easy to stumble through these questions. According to Charles Duhigg, building mental models and telling yourself stories of potential situations can help control how you think. What could be more helpful in an interview than being able to control your racing mind?

Too often, we wait until the night before an interview (or even the 30 minutes before) to reflect on why we want that particular position and how we’ll answer the questions we know are coming.

Instead, move this process to the top of your job search to-do list. Don’t settle with just knowing you want a position as a content marketer or project manager. Consider the “why” and write it out. From my experience, the more I wrote out my reflections to common interview questions, the more confident I felt in each of my interviews.

4) Be specific in your search.

At this point, you’ve compiled a list of dream companies and scoured their individual careers pages. Likely, you’ll still want to spend some time on job boards to complete your search.

If you’re anything like me, clicking through pages upon pages of job links is not your ideal pastime. In the best interest of your sanity, prioritize your searching on niche job sites. If a company has taken the time (and often, money) to post a position on a niche site as opposed to simply Indeed.com, they are serious about finding the perfect fit. From my experience, companies that prioritize the interview experience also value things like career development, people operations, company culture, and management training later on.

Not sure where to start? Sales Gravy is great for sales jobs, while JournalismJobs.com and Mediabistro are perfect for writers. Be sure to check out Inbound.org for marketing positions.

To stay on top of new listings, most job boards allow you to set up instant alerts that’ll immediately email you when a position is posted with specific keywords in your chosen area. Twitter is another option for monitoring job listings in real time. Get yourself in the habit of searching for specific keywords like “marketing job Boston” or “content director.” As you find specific companies or job sites tweeting about positions regularly, you can add them to a public or private Twitter List to make monitoring easier.

job_search_boston.png

Of course, don’t forget to clean up your profile with a nice headshot, creative bio, and link to your porfolio — that way, when you find the perfect job listing tweet you’re ready to start the conversation.

5) Think about timing.

With a stroke of luck, perhaps you do find the perfect job in your endless scrolling through job listings. So, do you stop everything and submit the application as quickly as possible? Besides, you don’t want someone else to snatch the position before you do …

Not so fast. When you find the listing for your dream job, here’s might advice: don’t apply for it. At least not until you think about your timing.

According to a study by Bright.com, applicants that apply on a Monday are most likely to advance in the hiring process. In fact, nearly one in three job seekers who applied on a Monday moved forward successfully in the hiring process.

Sound like a myth? Considering a separate study by SmartRecruiters found that most applications are submitted on a Tuesday, there could be some truth to the early bird gets the worm philosophy for job searching. The data shows that 18.5% of candidates apply on Tuesday, with 21.5% of hiring decisions also being made on a Tuesday. Therefore, use the weekend to get your cover letter and resume in line. Then, be ready to submit your application before the emails flood the recruiter’s inbox on Tuesday afternoon.

6) Stay organized.

While it’s nearly impossible to know the average number of applications an individual job seeker fills out before they get an offer, we do know that, on average, 118 people apply for any given job.

There’s a lot of factors that affect how long your search will last: your experience level, your network, the time of year, the demand for your skill set in your geographic area. No matter what, you’ll probably fill out more applications than you can remember. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that you stay organized.

Keep an organized spreadsheet with more information than you think you’ll need. There are some obvious inclusions, such as the title of the position, the location, the type of company, etc. But don’t forget to include the date you applied, who you included as your references, and the name and email of the hiring manager. That way, when your former boss reaches out to you because of a reference, you’ll know exactly how many times you gave out their contact information.

Good news here: We have a job application tracking template ready for you to use as a part of our Interview Kit for Job Seekers. As you proceed through the job search process, use this Google Sheet to keep track of where you are in the interview process with each company and manage all of those new names like a pro (Believe me: I’ve messed up someone’s name in a job interview. It’s not fun).

7) Go the extra mile.

What if I told you that your resume doesn’t matter? You’d probably question me to some degree. Of course, your resume serves the very important purpose of telling a hiring manager where you’ve been and what you’ve done. However, when it comes to making a impression, there is something much more important than a list of bullet points: proof.

Show, don’t tell. It’s nothing new. In his recent Medium article, writer Raghav Haran spoke of the importance of this through the concept of a “pre-interview project.” And not nearly as many people are taking advantage of this opportunity as they should.

The idea is to show your potential employer that you can do the job before you get the job, and often before you even talk to a hiring manager. For a salesperson, that might be reaching out to prospects and introducing them to the team. For a marketer, you could replace the traditional cover letter with a sample campaign, complete with an ebook, social images, and promotional blog post.

The trick is, do the project before they ask. Especially for creative jobs, it’s normal for hiring managers to ask final-round applicants to write a blog post or draft a creative brief. But to really stand out, show that you are proactive about solving problems.

8) Don’t obsess.

There is a behavioral pattern I seem to follow whenever I’m applying for jobs. 90% of the time, I’m my usual conscientious, rational self. I thoughtfully sort through job listings, take breaks, consider my cover letters word-by-word.

The other 10% of the time, I’m a chaotic mess. Suddenly it hits me how much I need a job and how much I need one right now. In a frenzy of panic, I binge apply. In a single night, I’ll power through 30+ typo-ridden applications until I’m too tired to function.

From someone who’s fallen prey to this lie more times than I’d like to admit, don’t panic. If you’re truly being thoughtful about which positions you are applying for, there’s a limit to how many you can apply to in a single day, or even a week.

Instead, take your time and form a strategy for each company on your dream list. The irony of obsessing over the job application process is you’ll bring yourself to burnout before you even start training for your new position. Don’t treat applying for jobs like it’s your full-time time job — it’s emotionally exhausting in a way I hope your actual job never is.

No matter who you are, self-promotion is draining and rejection is inevitable. The truth of the matter is, applications can’t fill a forty hour week. Keep your expectations reasonable and give yourself adequate breaks to rest, spend time with people, and stretch your creativity. Your future employer will thank you for it.

Unsure if now’s the time to start the job search? Take our career development quiz to learn how to accomplish your professional goals.

take our five-year career plan quiz

Jun

9

2016

How to Recruit Top Talent Using an Inbound Framework

Inbound_Recruiting.jpg

Inbound marketing has fundamentally changed the way most companies think about customer acquisition. By building a relationship with prospects before they’re ready to purchase, companies can acquire customers in a far more cost effective (and efficient) way. 

With inbound, companies earn consumer attention through great content, and as a result, it’s easier for them to move leads through the customer lifecycle towards a purchase.

Consistent readers of this blog will be pretty familiar with the value of inbound marketing, but you may be unaware of the full potential of the inbound methodology.

At Beamery, we’ve started thinking about how to apply the inbound framework beyond our marketing efforts. In doing so, we’ve come to realize just how valuable it is to think about hiring in the same way that we think about our marketing efforts.

We’ve seen fire hand exactly how effective this formula is for improving recruiting, which is why we’re sharing our process with you below. 

Recruitment vs. Marketing: How Do the Two Compare?

It’s easy to hire with a short-term mindset. In fact, many people reduce it to this simple transaction: Send out a job advert, screen applicants, and make a decision.

You’re probably starting to think that this process sounds a lot like the way companies used to compete for potential customers. Traditional marketing relied on ‘interrupting’ your flow of activity to grab your attention. But these tactics don’t work too well anymore.

As a result, many marketers have changed tack. They’re reaping the rewards of an inbound strategy — one that focuses on building relationships over making a quick buck. And forward-thinking companies are using this framework to build relationships with candidates well before the application.

At a time when getting the very best people through the door is becoming harder and harder, engaging the candidates that don’t apply might be the best way to win the hiring game.

Here’s how to put inbound recruiting into action …

How to Get Started With Inbound Recruiting

1) Create candidate personas.

Creating buyer personas is crucial to every targeted marketing strategy. You need to have a clear picture of who your ideal customer is if you want to craft an effective plan to reach them.

The same applies to recruiting. You need to know who you are really looking for when you have an open role. Forget the job title and the company name, what does your ideal new hire really look like?

Once you’ve established this, you can start thinking about the ways that you can attract this ideal candidate, as well as the kinds of content that they would find valuable.

So how do you go about this? Fortunately, there’s a simple formula to creating your own candidate personas:

  • Review your current process. Are you currently attracting quality applicants? How are you currently trying to connect with relevant candidates? Are you using LinkedIn? Is this working?
  • Define your company culture. What helps employees succeed at your company? What skills are valuable? What traits do you hold dear? An easy way to gather this information is to survey employees or other stakeholders in the hiring process.
  • Create your persona narrative. Use your new definition of company culture –and the traits that you know help people flourish — to put together a persona of your ideal candidate. This persona should be different for each new role that you’re hiring for, but will share some underlying traits.
  • Create relevant content. Brainstorm the type of content that your persona would find valuable based on their unique wants, needs, values, and challenges.
  • Share your content. Find the best forums to connect with your persona and share your new content. Depending on who you’re looking for, the right forum could be anything from Twitter to online gardening forums.

Ultimately, this candidate-specific content will bring relevant people to your site and introduce them to your brand — the first step towards getting them to apply.

2) Start prospecting to fill the funnel.  

Modern sales and marketing is a symbiotic relationship. Sales teams are fed by a steady stream of leads from marketing. It’s the foundation of how online businesses generate customers and revenue.

For sales teams to be successful they need that influx of leads. They need marketers to constantly fill the top of the funnel with interested prospects. However, pipeline isn’t just a revenue requirement — it’s also central to effective recruiting.

In modern talent acquisition, candidates care about where they’re applying. It’s your job to attract them to your brand and make them interested in learning more. Companies need to do more to start relationships with candidates that haven’t applied if they want to build a recruiting pipeline that gives hiring the same predictability as sales.

Case Study: Spotify

Spotify’s recent sponsorship of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Tech is a great example of how to use event marketing to attract qualified candidates. 

One of the music service’s key hiring pain points is the ability to attract technical talent, specifically female tech talent. By sponsoring this event, they not only got access to a pool of talented engineers, but also had the chance to make a positive statement in the ongoing debate over women in tech.

But you don’t need the resources of Spotify to get this kind of effect, in fact, you don’t even need to sponsor an event. Instead, try inviting candidates to schedule a Google Hangout with members of your team.

This worked particularly well with one of our customers: They set up a monthly Google Hangout between their head of engineering and all the engineering candidates that they’d encountered that month.

It’s a small time commitment (30 minutes), but the candidates get to ask questions, feel like they’ve been given special treatment, and get insights into what life as an engineer at the company is really like. Needless to say, their application rates (and quality of applicants) have gone through the roof.

3) Create opportunities for micro-conversions. 

Many of the people that come to your website are not ready to make a buying decision. This is why calls-to-action and content such as ebooks, whitepapers, and webinars are such widely adopted marketing tactics.

Instead of asking a prospect to make a full conversion (e.g., signup or demo request), you can entice them to make a ‘micro-conversion’ where they exchange their email address for valuable content.

Recruiting is no different. Many people that come to your careers page aren’t ready to apply (yet). After all, applying for a job is a pretty big investment. Sometimes they just want to find out more about your company or learn about relevant opportunities — so make sure you’re making that information readily available and provide them. 

Whether you present them with related blog content, point them towards other company resources, or provide them with an opportunity to stay up-to-date with future job openings, providing these alternative options helps to keep them engaged with your brand.

Case Study: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin — a global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technologies company — offers candidates the option to join their ‘Talent Community’ if they’re not ready to apply. As a result, they’re left with a huge pool of talent to tap into over time.

To join the community, potential applicants must specify their areas of interest, as well a preferred time frame for how often they’d like to be contacted about opportunities. This makes it easy for their team to source the right candidates, for the right jobs, at the right time. 

Lockheed_Martin.png

You may not have Lockheed’s resources, but the key thing to learn here is focus. Communities based around a specific skillset or persona, will have a better chance of success than ‘generalized’ ones.

4) Start turning those leads into applicants.

As any great lifecycle marketer will know, getting a prospect’s email address is only the first step. Turning leads into customers can be a lengthy process with numerous different touch points.

Inbound recruiters face the same issue. After they capture contact information for candidates, they still have to sell their company and convince people to apply. In other words, lead nurturing is just as important for recruiters as it is for marketers.

Most companies lean heavily on email marketing for this. Comfortably the most effective tool, it’s 40x more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined for customer acquisition.

Well-timed email is also your best bet when it comes to nurturing your new hiring leads. Keep candidates in the loop about new opportunities that match their skillset, major company news (e.g. funding) and relevant events (e.g. graduate hiring fairs).

It goes without saying that all communication should be targeted. Only sales candidates should receive emails about sales roles. This sounds simple, but it can be the difference between successful nurture and irritating your entire candidate database!

Here’s are a couple of quick examples of the kinds of messages that are effective:

Find something worth sending

If your company has been in the news or released something cool, one of the first things you should do is tell your candidates. Smart people typically want to work at companies that they perceive as successful.

Recruit_Email_.png

Share your culture

Show candidates what you’re like when you’re not tied to your desk. 56% of people see your culture and brand as the most important thing when they make a job decision.

Event_Sample_Email.pngAs you can see, the best nurturing emails provide candidates with something of value, not just a bunch of different job links.

You might not end up hiring everyone you make an effort with, but that’s not the point. Maybe six months down the line a great salesperson will have read another one of your ebooks and changed his mind. Maybe a top engineer has been following your email updates and wants to get involved.

It can take a lot of touch points to influence a decision, so you never know when these relationships will start to pay off. Invest the time in building them now to reap future rewards.

5) Optimize and iterate your recruiting efforts.

It’s pretty rare that new company initiatives take off without a hitch. In fact, there’s usually a little tweaking necessary before things run completely smoothly. This makes a culture of testing and optimisation crucial to success. And the same can be said for your inbound recruiting efforts.

You need to test different content formats to attract candidates. You need to explore different ways to connect with prospective employees. And you need to experiment with different career page designs to encourage visitors to apply.

To get the data you need, you’ll need to lean on your marketing automation software or Google Analytics to track how candidates are finding your content. For example, if your team has been sharing content on LinkedIn, dig into the numbers to see if candidates are clicking through to your site and converting into applicants or new leads. If not, maybe it’s time to try a different approach.

You should also use your analytics platform to determine what content is most effective at turning prospects into applicants. Are there particular landing pages on your careers site that have a higher conversion rate? Are certain job descriptions encouraging more applicants than others?

Make sure you use your learnings here to improve your less effective content –constantly tweaking your approach is the best way to get better results.

However, data only paints part of the story. We recommend asking applicants how they found out about your company, and why they applied. You can add this to your application form as a short question, or ask it in the first interview or screening. This should give you a little more information on what gets people interested in applying.

Ultimately, the key to optimising your inbound recruiting machine is finding a repeatable model. You need to know what kind of content helps you connect with talented people and start producing more of it.  

Immerse yourself in the data and you’ll see what works for you.

Getting Started

Inbound marketing has fundamentally changed the way that we acquire customers, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it has other applications. Inbound recruiting is a developing area, but if you give it enough attention, you should be able to reap the rewards.

Do you use inbound techniques to fuel your recruiting process? If so, share your ideas in the comments below.

learn how to hire an all-star marketing team

Jun

3

2016

The Demographics of Developers Around the World [Infographic]

developer-demographic-statistics.jpeg

If there were 100 developers in the world, how many would be women? Which countries would they live in? How many would be pros, and how many would be hobbyists? What coding language would they speak?

These are the kinds of questions the folks at VisionMobile wanted to know — which is why they surveyed over 30,000 developers for their annual Developer Economics survey, and then illustrated their findings in the infographic below.

Their findings are pretty interesting. For example, a whopping 94% of developers are male. And while 77% of developers are professionals, a significant minority are creating software just for the fun of it.

Check out the infographic below from VisionMobile to see what other interesting statistics they uncovered about developers around the world.

100-developers-infographic-visionmobile.jpg

free HTML hacks guide

May

19

2016

How to Get Hired as an Inbound Marketer: 17 Qualities Hiring Managers Look For

How_to_Get_Hired_as_An_Inbound_Marketer.png

Let’s face it: Getting a job in marketing isn’t easy these days. As more and more companies realize the importance of implementing a successful inbound marketing strategy, they’re becoming even more selective about who they’ll hire to take charge of their marketing efforts.

So how do you get a job in marketing?

To help you get a head start in your job hunt or quest for a marketing promotion, we’ve compiled a list of 17 qualities that managers look for when hiring or promoting an inbound marketer.

We’ve broken these qualities into 3 categories: Core Behavioral Traits, Key Marketing Skills, and Specialized Skills. Use this list to evaluate in which areas you excel and which skills you need to focus on developing further to set yourself up for inbound marketing success.

(And, in the spirit of learning and growing in your marketing career, check out HubSpot Academy’s “World Certification Week” — a week of inspiring and educational talks broadcast on Google Hangouts.)

Core Behavioral Traits

1) You’re inquisitive.

The online world changes every day, so it’s important that you have a natural inclination to question ideas, processes, and tactics — both old and new. An inquisitive marketer will be helpful in revealing weaknesses, flaws, or even identifying additional opportunities in their work by asking the right questions about your marketing strategy and methodologies.

There are specific ways you can become a more inquisitive and more curious person, which my colleague Carly Stec wrote about in this post. A few of these include asking lots of questions, reading content that’s outside your comfort zone, listening without judgment, embracing change, and learning how to actively change your perspective.

2) You’re adaptable.

Being inquisitive and curious is one thing, but being able to actually adapt to that change (and even be psyched about it) is another. As we’ve discussed, the challenges that a marketing team faces will inevitably change. New challenges will come up all the time, and if you can’t change how you work and/or what you’re working on with a good attitude, then you won’t rise very far.

As Scott Stratten wrote in his book Unmarketing, the ever-changing marketing landscape isn’t the only reason adaptability is important; it’s also because of the ever-changing demands of your brand or your client. For these reasons, you’ve got to be comfortable adapting to changes and be able to “roll with the punches” when necessary.

3) You’re decisive.

Surprises are normal for most marketers. A campaign could unexpectedly underperform, or sales leads could suddenly plateau. A good inbound marketer can pivot quickly and make decisions on how to prioritize their time and capitalize on these surprises. You should recognize that making decisions involves taking risks, but it’s almost always better to do something than nothing. Most companies want to move forward knowing mistakes will be made.

That being said, don’t confuse decisiveness with rash decision-making. A decisive person still takes time to gather necessary information, encourages feedback from their team, and gains perspective from people whose viewpoints might be helpful or even critical, like HR or operations.

4) You get s*** done. 

While this competency is … direct, it is also quite simple: inbound marketing takes work. While outbound marketing is less about nimbleness and more about your budget, inbound marketing requires you to take control of your business’ website and online presence. Inbound marketers today need to be a lot smarter and a lot more proactive when it comes to their marketing programs.

Sometimes, generating results means working harder, faster, or stronger — big campaign successes often require a major effort. Businesses want a candidate that can face that kind of challenge with confidence. They also want someone who doesn’t sacrifice quality for quantity; remarkable inbound marketers know how to strike a balance between the two.

5) You’re transparent.

Being close-lipped and closed off doesn’t just hurt the hiring managers — it hurts the candidates, too. Some candidates feel like they have to keep it to themselves that they’re interviewing at multiple places, for instance. Others feel as though they should act more aspirational and say they want to be a manager in the future. But it’s totally OK to not want that — or to not know — if the role you’re applying for doesn’t call for it. If you approach an interview with the attitude that you just want to get hired no matter what, you’re bound to be disappointed down the line.

Key Marketing Skills

6) You can write well.

The ability to write is one of the most important skills in the inbound marketing world. Every day marketers write ebooks, social updates, emails, website pages, and so on, that attract customers to your business and represent your company.

While most people can write, not many do it well — and effective copywriting in marketer requires you to write well, and write with a marketing slant. You need to know how to produce scannable copy, whether it’s by breaking down the features and benefits of their products for the web, or by breaking up blog posts with headers to encourage casual readers to keep going.

Here are a few resources to help you improve your marketing writing skills:

7) You can teach well.

What good is a deep understanding of your industry if you can’t share that knowledge with your market? The ability to teach is integral to inbound marketing, especially if a business wants to create content that can establish your company as a thought leader and attract new customers to your business.

Hiring managers don’t want to see your blog posts and ebooks crammed full of product content, for instance. Instead, they want to see a focus on creating educational content that runs parallel to your product or service offering — and they want to see that you’re able to break down any complicated concepts or terminology in a way that’s easy for your readers to understand.

8) You’re a quick learner.

Just as important as being able to teach is your ability to learn and understand new things. A marketer might need to create content, analyze metrics, and implement tactics that he or she may have to learn on the fly. A team can be more nimble when led by people who can learn and comprehend new strategies quickly. Show your hiring manager you’re a quick learner by emphasizing your willingness and ability to experiment and adapt to new challenges.

9) You understand the industry.

You should have a firm understanding of your industry in order to teach its best practices and have context to draw from. The deeper the industry understanding you have, the more authority your content will hold. 

If you’re switching industries, showing you’re a quick learner is even more important. Research and preparedness can, to a point, make up for your lack of experience. To get started, follow and read blogs on your target industry, follow key industry influencers on social media, research industry benchmarks, and so on. 

10) You can dig into data and analyze results.

Inbound marketing is becoming increasingly data-driven — and there’s increasing pressure for marketers to prove the ROI of their campaigns and experiments. That’s why marketers need to balance creativity with an analytical brain to process all the information we see every day. Make sure you can review ROI, spot metrics-driven trends, understand important marketing metrics, and know how to create and segment relevant marketing reports.

When you’re writing your inbound marketing resume, include goals and metrics that hiring managers can use to compare you against other candidates, and make sure those metrics make sense and aren’t confusing. Examples include:

  • Drove 37% improvement in newsletter clickthrough rates by rewriting sales copy.
  • Grew ecommerce sales 23% in just 6 months by redesigning and A/B testing all landing pages.

(If you want more examples of actionable data points, download these free resume templates.)

11) You know the product.

Even if you don’t work on the product marketing team at your current company, your manager is looking for people who understand the business’s product or services in and out. Take time to truly understand the goals of the business as it pertains to the product or service it sells. If you know someone with access to the product or service and can talk to them about it or request a free trial, then go right ahead.

12) You’re “T-shaped.”

If you wear multiple hats at a business, you may be known as a “horizontal line.” While having the ability to tackle various projects competently is valuable, it can only take you so far if it’s not balanced with a specialized strength.

Managers are looking for marketers who are T-shaped, meaning those who have knowledge on many topics and are collaborative (the horizontal part of the T), while still having deep expertise on one topic (the vertical part of the T). Read this blog post to learn more about how to get “unstuck” in your career by finding depth or breadth.

breadth-depth-arrows.gif

Specialized Skills

13) You can use Excel.

Excel is a powerful tool that we sometimes take for granted. With the right training and experience, marketers with an advanced understanding of Excel can create powerful spreadsheets to break down important metrics, and allow a marketing team to better understand the numbers behind the strategies.

Here are some blog posts to help you out:

14) You have public speaking experience.

Many marketers have the opportunity to give talks and present educational content to the public or for groups within their company. Whether that talk is a conference keynote or a presentation to a boss, public speaking is a valuable skill to add to your team dynamic — and it’ll also impress hiring managers.

There’s a lot you can do to improve your public speaking skills for free. Here are a few blog posts to get you started:

HubSpot CMO Kipp Bodnar suggests taking improv classes to help you get better at public speaking by improving your confidence, your timing, and more. You could also join your local Toastmasters, which is probably the best public speaking club available and has more than 15,400 different Toastmasters clubs in 135 countries worldwide.

15) You know a thing or two about video production.

In the past few years, the increase in online video consumption has been enormous. After all, video is a terrific platform for creating and sharing lovable content.

With video content on the rise as a preferred method of media consumption, having a marketer with a background in video production can give a team a real competitive advantage. A skilled video producer on a team makes creating video content in-house on a regular basis possible.

Not a skilled video producer? That’s OK, as long as you’re not applying for a job that requires it. But hiring managers will be impressed by candidates who are familiar with video marketing terminology and best practices, popular platforms, and examples of other brands using video in their marketing. You may want to play around with Facebook Live, creating animated GIFs, and other types of video content to get a feel for how it works.

16) You can dabble with design.

User experience has become more and more focused on design and conversion, making it essential for marketers to have at least a base level of design knowledge. If a business prioritizes the design of ebooks, infographics, social images, or other visual content, a marketer who has experience with Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, or Illustrator can be a major asset to a marketing team and the company as a whole.

It also helps to study up on some of the psychology of design, like typography and color theory

(Here are over 195 free design templates that are perfectly optimized for email, infographics, social media, and more.)

17) Know have basic coding skills.

There’s been a lot of talk over the past few years about whether coding is the next must-have skill of the modern marketer. After all, code is what lies behind so many of marketers’ great marketing campaigns.

That’s why marketers should gain a basic understand of HTML at the very least to understand the structures that bring their websites, apps, and tools to life. Even if you don’t have to do a lot of hard coding yourself, knowing the basics will help empower you to make quick fixes, and help you communicate effectively with developers when you do need help with something.

To help you get started, here’s a blog post outlining the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript in plain English. For a deeper understanding of these programming languages, I’d recommend looking at the many free resources available online, like Codecademy, which is a longtime favorite for beginners. Coursera also has a number of free introductory programming courses from universities like University of Washington, Stanford, the University of Toronto, and Vanderbilt.

There you have it.

Even if you don’t have every single skill on this list, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a great inbound marketer. That being said, be sure to spend some time developing your weaker skills so you can put yourself in the best position possible to become an inbound marketing rockstar.

What other skills do you think inbound marketers should have? Share with us in the comments.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Join us for World Certification Week talks, live streamed on YouTube

May

11

2016

What Do Recruiters Look For in a Resume? [Infographic]

recruiter-reading-resume.jpeg

Recruiters receive an average of 118 resumes for every job listing they post.

As you can imagine, they don’t always have time to read through every one. In fact, they may not even have time to open every one.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure your resume — and the email or cover note you send along with it — is written in a way that pleases the recruiters reading it. That means it should be scannable, free of errors, and formatted in a way that makes it easy for them to uncover key metrics and accomplishments. 

To learn more about how recruiters read resumes and what they’re looking for, check out the infographic below from StandOutCV.

how-recruiters-read-your-resume-infographic.jpg

10 free marketing resume templates


Below are Sister sites of the Site you are on Powered by: MCC Group
Advertising Pages Exchange Free Traffic Exchange Free Links Directory Free Promotion Forum