November 02, 2020 5 min read

Throughout any career journey, there’s going to be hurdles and sprints which feel massively disruptive. Navigating each stage, like the tiring job search or interview process, may seem like a train that’s suddenly delayed. There’s a sense of being stuck when all you want is to move forward. Luckily, you’re not the only passenger, and a new perspective is sometimes all it takes to clear the tunnel vision. We’ve rounded up eight pointers of advice from hiring managers from our Roles in Marketing series who have been where you are and want to share what they learned throughout their own careers.

#1: Networking & Building Connections

Searching through job sites is only the first half of the equation in a job search. Our first advice from a hiring manager is from Solange Bernard, Senior Manager of Media, CRM & Partnerships at McDonald's, who counsels on the importance of networking.

Two young students waving and smiling in front of laptop.

Networking is all about the connection between people. Being genuine in your approach always makes it feel less awkward and more often than not, people want to share their experience. Networking for Solange became an opportunity to learn as much as possible about the many different industries available when starting a career. Reframe networking as a means to learn new information rather than just making it about word of mouth opportunities.

Although networking looks different these days, there’s been an onslaught of innovation in virtual networking. We cover the basics in our blog here: “Learning Key Techniques to Online Networking & Staying Connected In A Socially Distanced World”.

#2: Volunteering with Like-Minded People

If cold networking isn’t for you, another route you can explore is volunteering. That’s right, volunteering is still doable because the virtual world knows no bounds and we’re here for it! It’s more important than ever to give back to your community so why not find something that aligns with your core values?

Plus, it’s one of the major ways that Solange was able to meet new people. It’s a win-win situation: you help a cause you believe in and in return, meet like-minded people who share the same core values as you. Virtual high five!

#3: Conferences & Galas

Last but not least, Solange's last bit of career advice recommends attending as many conferences as you can. Virtual or not, it’s a great way to connect with others especially if you’re all there for the same thing: hot topics, fireside chats, and virtual learning is all the rage these days. There’s something for everybody and it’s easier than ever to attend. Setup an alert for organizations you admire that might host conferences and search the web for events that are upcoming and fit into your schedule.

Did we mention that the CMA Awards Gala  is coming up? It’s only the biggest celebration for Canadian marketing campaigns and professionals and this year, it’s all virtual. It’s going to be exciting, so make sure you register for your spot today!

#4 Be Open-Minded While Applying

Young man studying tablet at desk.

If job after job description is starting to blur around the edges for you, it’s time to look outside your comfort zone. By being open-minded in applying to jobs of all types, you’d be surprised what opportunities might present themselves.

This even applies to situations where you aren’t necessarily looking, but an opportunity might pop up! Kyle Lichtman, Senior Manager of Customer Revenue Management at Rogers Communications, experienced this firsthand. Kyle landed a role thanks to a reorganization that seemed intimidating at the time. On paper, it didn’t seem like the right role but in practice, it ended up being a great career experience.

Think of it less as ‘I’m going into work’ and more as
‘I’m going in to learn’.
—Kyle Lichtman

#5 Learn the Hard Skills

Anyone who has ever looked at job role descriptions might notice a section that’s about requirements. This usually outlines education but take note if it lists specific applications and terms you might not be familiar with. Now’s the time to brush up on those hard skills so even if you don’t have practical experience, you can say you know how they work once you hit the interview. Kyle calls this learning the hard skills —the technical skills.

Every role you find yourself in will allow you to learn these hard skills and then take them with you to the next phase in your career. Whether you’re an expert or a beginner, taking inventory of these hard skills showcases your ability to learn.

#6 And Definitely Learn the Soft Skills

On the other side of the spectrum, soft skills are just as important. Kyle developed soft skills by moving around in the organization in different roles and working with different teams. By being empathetic, Kyle began to understand how they worked which helped in the role.

It also comes down to the little things you might not realize make a big difference. Anna-Marie Menezes, Vice President of Consumer Marketing at Toronto Star advises to “look up from your computer. Take the time to talk to your peers, leaders, talk to people in other departments.” By showing interest in others you work with, you set yourself apart.

The beauty of soft skills is that they’re transferable in any role and there’s many to choose from. Figure out which ones you need to work on by reading our soft skills breakdown in our blog “Why Your Soft Skills Are Key Ingredients to Your Career Growth Strategy”.

#7 Resume Advice on Paper

Resume writing combines not only strong writing skills but also demands a certain level of self-reflection so you can pinpoint all your incredible key skills. There’s no such thing as a perfect resume but you can get close. Andrew Gartha, Vice President at Mandrake Human Capital, advises that you provide a quick summary. “You want to be able to define yourself in two to three sentences.” Much like your elevator pitch, this quick summary should hold the reader’s attention and entice curiosity.

#8 Interview Tips: Ask for Feedback

So, what happens after all this, you’re still out of luck without a job? For Karen Nguyen, Senior Director of Wireless Marketing at Rogers Communications, that experience led to this great piece of advice: ask for feedback after the interview.

Starting out, Karen confidently underwent a hiring process for a role that appeared to be a good fit. It ended up not playing out as expected. Determined to understand why and learn from the experience, Karen asked for feedback to discover what to work on and avoid fixating on trying to improve everything at once. Approaching this as a learning experience, set forward a plan resulting in applying for the same role later down the road – and getting it!

Recognize that failure is not the end all be all. —Karen Nguyen

So even if you don’t get that job offer today, working on what’s in your control, will lead up to it for a brighter tomorrow.

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