Looking for a job? Be specific, show passion

Here is the question I just received in my email from a young career seeker:

“I am actively pursuing a career in marketing and public relations and am looking to network as much as possible. I have attached my resume for that purpose and would welcome any ideas you may have for me i.e. places to look, people to pursue, etc. I’m trying to get myself out there as much as possible with the intent of hopefully getting a foot in the door.”

Here is what I replied:

My first suggestion is that you get very clear and specific about what you want to do in marketing and PR and then add a para at the top of your resume that says what that is and make sure it is supported clearly by the experience you list below that.

The thing is there are many many jobs in the field – and many kinds of companies where you could work. You could work at a marketing company like Procter and Gamble or in an ad or PR firm. You could be a writer or a strategist or a researcher or an account manager. There are all manner of specialties and the most effective way to get hired is to be really really clear on what you want to do and where you want to do it.

This is a tough market and no-one but you (unless perhaps your dad or mother in law) is going to help you figure it out. People who are hiring are looking for particular skill-sets to solve particular problems. So I recommend you spend some time reading about companies – reading Advertising Age, Media Post, reading about CMOs and what they do, reading PR world or whatever it might be called – and form an opinion as to what you are good at and what you would like to do and where you’d like to do it.

Then armed with that clarity and with a passion for it that you can communicate, you will find it easy to get meetings and interviews and maybe even to get hired.

So that is my 2 cents worth.