Why Marketing People Fail To Get Hired

Attention Marketing Candidates:
the Product is YOU

I recently posted a job opening for a Senior Marketing Manager at my company, a fast-growing Silicon Valley firm in the information services space.

After reviewing hundreds of resumes and speaking with dozens of candidates, I’m surprised at how many “seasoned” marketing professionals just don’t get it. For those of you keeping score at home, here is a clue:


Stand Out From The Crowd

That means, you need to package, position, target, and message in the same way you would market a product.

So, now for some DO’s and DON’Ts from the point of view of a hiring manager. You may want to print this out.

✔ Your approach. Of all the cover letters I received, only one stood out. It was a PDF called “Am I the right employee for you?” and it was a datasheet about the candidate. It got her the interview.

✔ Your resume. Do not — I repeat DO NOT — use an MS Word (or other generic) template. You are a marketing person. Do something creative! Prove to me that you are different! Please!

✔ Your qualifications. Don’t list Microsoft Office as a skill you possess. Definitely don’t list Outlook. For god’s sake — don’t list web browsers (do I really need to say this?). If you want to get my attention, tell me you know how to do advanced mail merges, pivot tables, or 3D graphs.

✔ Your follow-through. Do your homework before the interview. Have 3 well-thought-out questions to ask me. Again, I can’t believe I have to say this — send thank you notes (or emails) as soon as you get home.

None of these tips guarantees you a job. But, each one of them will increase your chances of going further through the interview process. I have a feeling I will be adding to this list as I continue to seek (and be disappointed by) marketing candidates.