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Monday, August 24, 2009

5 Solid tips for multichannel marketers looking for work in this economy

The following is a guest blog for widely followed direct marketing blogger Jim Gilbert of Gilbert Direct Marketing and columnist for All About ROI (formerly Catalog Success) Magazine.

Note from Jim Gilbert: Filling my virtual shoes this week, while I’m on vacation, is Jerry Bernhart, President of Bernhart Associates Executive Search and author of the Direct Marketing Employment Outlook Survey.

By Jerry Bernhart

For those of you actively looking for employment, let me offer a few things you can do to help you get that extra edge. I'm sure you've heard some of this in other places, but these are key points that are worth repeating.

Make sure your resume screams, "I can add value! I still see way too many resumes that are long on titles and descriptions but short on specific accomplishments and achievements. That always amazes me because metrics are an integral part of the direct marketing process, and yet on their resumes direct marketers often neglect to include what really matters most- quantifiable results. If you don't brag on your resume, no one else is going to do it for you. Be specific, quantify where possible, and use some choice action verbs to describe what you achieved. Companies have already taken steps to slash costs, so think more about what you've done to contribute to revenue growth such as acquiring and keeping new customers, new products, new market segments, how you've helped improve recency, frequency and monetary value, etc. Don't forget to make your resume keyword friendly. Use terms that are specific to your job or career objectives, and use them often.

Network more, visit job sites less. In the Spring 09 Bernhart Associates Employment Survey, we asked employers to identify their biggest source of new hires. Surprisingly, it was not internet job boards or career sections on company websites. It was referrals- referrals from employees, former employees, vendors and partners. In fact, referrals beat out job posting websites two-to-one. If you're spending most of your time on job sites, you need to start shifting that to your network. If you've already exhausted your network, add to it. Think of all the vendors your past employers have had relationships with. Reach out to them. Even the vendors have vendors. Many of my best clients are companies I first contacted out of the blue. I didn't wait for a job posting to appear. Of course, you have to do your homework and company websites have never made that job easier.

For individual contributor positions, play up your strength in project management. Companies that are hiring right now have a much greater need for indians rather than chiefs. They still have campaigns to get out the door with sometimes very limited resources, and it seems every employer I talk to tells me how they want someone who can "roll up their sleeves" and be "hands on". So, be prepared to talk about the successful projects you've managed, and how you delivered them on time and within budget.

Get references and put them on LinkedIn. I really like it when a candidate I don't know about says he has references I can check right now, and there they are on his LinkedIn profile. Sure, you won't find any bad references up there but I look for common characteristics. If everyone talks about someone's keen team building skills, then you can pretty much bank on the fact that this person is a good team builder; good stuff to know if you're an employer with a job to fill that requires strong team building skills.

Get better at interviewing. Sometimes it's not the best candidate who gets the job, but rather the one who has the best interviewing skills. Many have the mistaken notion that interviews, by their nature, are very one-sided: The employer asks questions, you provide answers. That's part of it, but there are certain things you need to get across about yourself, your skills and your accomplishments, and you have to be able to do it in a finite period of time. Check my website under Search Tips for a few pointers.

Jerry Bernhart has Twenty years experience in multichannel direct marketing recruiting, and only multichannel direct marketing recruiting. He can be reached at, or

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