Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Career Tricks for Marketers from the MSc Marketing, Strathclyde.

Dirty tricks don't just start with your application process- they continue until you have 'made it' in a career shaping job.

Up and until then it is often dog eat dog-marketing jobs are few and far between outside the south east, and even there you will have to fight your way in. People get plum entry level and first move jobs by variously using their old university and family / freinds network, following a boss out to a new job, cheating in the job queu, or actually being in another job and threatening to leave. This last point is very, very often used and I will explain why.

Marketing jobs are very few on the ground compared to all the areas which "feed them" with candidates > sales forces of up to 50 people per marketing position, all the universities, the CRM, etc etc. Mysteriously they are often filled with strange hectic types like Dr. Thomas Klenka, who not only have little marketing savey, but lack interpersonal skills and presentation skills. Klenkatiss managed to blackmail himself three rungs up the ladder from a shitty customer support job to a senior PM role and erm, didn\t do so well so was bunked out into sales, where he vanished from the radar. Each time threats to leave ! The thing is that companies have a pervcieved need to keep people who are ont he learning curve and ahead of it with products, services and customers. It costs a lot to recruit and they @like@ to recruit internally to retain staff and motivate others to work harder. But often they will have no motivation to choose you over a better qualified external candidate if you don\t use the old SPIN and threaten to leave.

You may well have got yourself into a desirable company to work for, as reccommended in my rants, but be stuck in something a little dull like customer services, technical services, or a sales job you don't really like. I have seen this approach work, but in a company where in a few 'klenka' types have done it before, the bosses get tired of it and call bluff- so that is to say it is still a high risk strategy and you should have a back up plan. Looking on the positive side - you have a lot to offer by now, even after just six months in sales or customer services...,and the company has a lot ot lose esspecially if you have been through an expensive sales training programme. If there is a clear vacancy or person leaving / going on maternity then sieze it- work the positive with the marketing managers and threaten to leave with personnel and eventually your own manager.

In a sales job you can always turn round and say " it isn't really for me being out in the field every day charming people, I'd rather be in what I'm educated in' -just please, please don't say this to your sales bosses- reserve it for personnel (who have invested money in your training and time in hiring you and have retention goals !!) or marketing.

Don't what ever you do, say anything to your customer services manager or worse if you work in a sales job, your sales line managers > They will ear mark you for pressure to "perform or leave", or work out an exit strategy which will involve closing deals, closing any potential towards a tender and booking appointments. After all that effort to keep your job, supposedly, they will often fire you! There must be many a person having spent ages in uni or via the CIM sitting in a sales job who played their cards all wrong by "crying mummy" to their sales bosses. This british "need to confess" to your enemy is pathetic.

I've seen very bloody minded types just pull all the stops out tin threatening to leave, without any back up plan I knew of. Klenka! But you should have your CV in at competitors, suppliers, customers (and all the agencies once you have over a year) and be using friday morning to send out job applications, even before work. As a territory rep in Scotland, you could probably hand deliver it on the next day or the monday. Agencies (recrutiment consutlants I mean) probably don't want to touch you until you have their idea of a magic year, but given special fiorst education - a huge plus of doign the MSc after your first "life" - they will at least consider you and also if you work in a high demand industry like telecoms/ ICT, then they will have a bit more frequent marketing assistant jobs which are poorly paid. Now it is likely that given the offer you would rather stay where you are, but this is a fall back and a lever to get you into marketing.

Changing Companies

There comes a point when you either blow out in your persuit within your company or you just realise that maybe there are more interesting & glamerous & fun marketing departments in this world. Quite likely, for instance with medical sales, a marekting job will mean a move to the SE and all that comes with that rat race * although it can be ok, as long as you get a place to live and they don\t work loony hours.

Now you may have identified some key companies you want to work for or a key job descritption which takes you forward. You may even stumble on an employer like Adobe or Invitroegn who throw training at you and are worth getting in just for that (* both of these hav kind of second hand EU marketing departments*) . Also by now you have probably sat over a year or two in sales, or a marketing assistant job or the like and are much more sellable as far as those once evil recruitment consultants are concerened. Now after say two years, they are your best pal all of a sudden. More on them soon.

The key dilema is that you don't want to lose your job and also you don\t actaully have a lot of time to look for jobs and apply for other jobs. So it is going to be quality over quantity and you should be thinking of jobs in terms of a few processes only each quarter. usually interviews go in a round of three with a telephone offer. Now just think, that is a lot of time away from work! There are of course "blocks" of percieved active time in the year,, but just treat it as taking a quarter of a year to either close something or walk away fronm those threads and start again. Howwever run up days before holidays are very fruitful times to apply as the numbers are down!

These days quality over quantity means the following:

Identifying all the "marketing" employers in your industry or supply chain
Identifying those in acceptabel geoegraphic areas to relocate to
Identifying their mehtods of advertising jobs
Identifying their recruitment agencies
Screening advertised jobs/ calling up for all relevatn jobs
Being fussy with adverts and expecially recrutiment c'unts.
Doing some open applications directed to people in marketing
Tayloring your CV for every job or company
Really expressing your interest, motivation and research for a company
Sorting out a personal branding which is targeted for your next job
Identifying quality contacts at rec'unts and working them up

Using Interviews to Your Advantage
You are in a strong position, sitting in a job, so use it. Often in my experience, employers interveiw many and decide to go with an internal candidate or someone who sent a very motivated open application. So interviews can be a waste of time and they are often just that. Interview times are not cast in stone, but quibbling there and then down the phone over a date and time you get given is a very neagtive thing to do. You should sound deligthed! However It is far better to do the following tricks.

1) For jobs which are a bit, well ok, maybe yeah, make it very clear that you are limited in availability and prefer an early evening or an 8am interview. If you have felixtime, firday Pm can be quite nice because most people are running down. It is probably better to take it on the phone / see below on canceling/postponing

2) do go and see recruitment consultants in person. Get your personal branding across and be very very clear on the type of job area your want to work in : marketing!! But But but!! Before you see the consultatn make sure they recruit in this area themselves, personnaly, and try to find out which clients they have. Most work on an account management basis, so explore several contacts in 'working' your way into a consultants to get what YOU want.

Don't bend to what they suggest or let them decide about you. Don't send your CV until you establish who is the best contact(s) for you. Quality, preparation. Speak to them/ send it and immediately follow it up. They will skim read your letter so it can just be blah blah, but you should repeat your 'career goals' etc on the CV and if you are currently in sales, make this lower on the list.,Otherwise you will get endless calls from them about sales jobs. The first 15 second should reek marketing ability and motivation!

3) be fussy about what jobs they will send you forward for. If it is a non key consultant trying to shoe horn you into some rubbishy job, at a non branded company, then palm them off with that you are too busy today and tonight so best not to follow it up. Get them to send details to your hotmail and think up questions on the job. Don't let them bully you with 'so you aren't actually actively seeking work' / just say you can't talk right now. Remember, they need maybe 20 CVs and 6 people for interview who are in jobs most likely and that is a hardf job for them to do. Maybe if you really have a rapport with one you can do a deal whereby you play ball on a few shitty interviews, whilst they know the score and help yuou on a biggy. But mosty likely they are cunts to whom you are just a number or a pawn towards helping them make money off a more experienced candidate - they usually have an ideal candidate and usually won't tell you that it's just a jumping hoops exercise as far as you are concerned.

4) reschedule all direct employer interviews the day before. why ? While in a job You have very linmited time and you need to know that you use this effectively. Understand the stregnths of your CV and experience whilst admitting your weaknesses in relation to the job ad'. Try to get a fuller job spec/desc. from personnel in advance. What you need to know is how keen they are on you versus the whole numbers and screening that some company's SOPs demand. They will be coy on how good a candidate you are, but

Be a litte arrogant. Don't be shy- this is situatiion normal for interwierers - sickness, sudden meetings, no shows....

In advance find out the names of the key person(s) interviewing you and try to talk to them direct, apologising and sayin you were really intereested. See if they know about you /give a shit. Refer to personnel for an actual reascheduling. Offer to take it on the phone. Cancel the day before for that time, no matter when it is. Ask if it can be rescheduled because you have a meeting. If they say it is going on over a few days then maybe ask how many they are seeing. 20 +?? Try to find out just how much they care about your application. If all else fails and it sounds like a great job with a good shout for you, then try and reschedule til later or earlier that day or the next. In probing like this you will have uncovered how interested they are in you!

I reckon on average it takes me about five interviews at employers to scrabble out one job, which may be just the best I coudl get at that time. If I knew in advance then okay, I\d still go to five interviews but those would all be high quality with me as a good candidate and NOT AN ALSO RAN!! I've never been good at looking for jobs within jobs because it is hard and also you can loose motivation and patience with recruitment consultants and inflexible @ must see 20 mailto:candidate@.

5) Try and do any dodgey or long distance first interviews with employers on the phone or outside working hours /flexitime friendly. Use the above or just say it is too hard to work in your schedule. The number of first interviews I travelled 500 miles for just to find out it was cr5ap or a salesy job or make a booboo in is just unbelievable.

5)b) don\t travel to far flung interviews, or even over 50 miles each way, who don't pay travel expenses. It is just mean. As a graduate you will need to do this and get the dole to pay for you to go to selection days in the home counties, but sod it once you have your first step job. Red carpet should atleast be in the cupboard!

6) leave a business card and pick up business cards. You may have a university business card from networking days or just your company's with your mobile on it. A business card is a little bit of gold dust whilst CVs are wieghty private documents. This is especially the case when goign through recruitment consultants. Many, many employers run around recrutiment consutlants when padding out recruitment later/ so they may interview you for a sales job and call you back for a marketing job some months later. I\ve had my two besty career making jobs this way!!

5) get some form of continuation. This could be a delviery of some more details on your background, examples of your work etc. Something which is either an excuse for you to call up and be nice to them or to be called back to 2nbd interview.

6) Before you accept a job, get it all in writing and get your references accepted. This is a real warning and in fact has probably caught out most job moving marketers like myself. go so far as to Find an internal chum who can give the reference when you leave.

Also understand all that comes with the new job in terms of relocation and logistics. At this stage you want to avoid exposing yourself to a lot of risk, and given a substantial move across the land then negoitate relocation. Even accept lower pay for the first six months, just get them to cover the cost of a hotel or decent B^B or a serviced appartment. As with organon in Bucks, there was nowehere affordable in the area unless it was "rent a room out". Get them to pay and make sure it is unconditional i.e. if you hate the job or perform badly then you don\t pay it back.

I have been eally financially stung two times with moves / the one very uncofomfortable recently where I moved my whole family and the bosses diodn\t like me!! They agreed to a loan and I got the dole to pay the lorry over here, but shit! Previoulsy though I did take my career making job in manchester and it worked out a good investment. I did get a over a month in b&B but had to buy a reasonably reliable car amongst other things.

7)Stall the new employer within reason > a few days to organise references (wait if you can to disclose who they are as it buys time and secures the most relevant persons) >a week to discuss it with your spouse or just think about it over the weekend after the reference check > need to see it in writing, maybe questiona few things <>For example you may be a field product specialist while they have no internal product managers and use marketign comms people with no technical background. This is a good lever to come in as a newly created PM/ APM

9) , when you sign up and resign , and you are about to start in the new job, come into a pre/emptive meeting, as above, and discuss or rather thrash out what you will actually be doing and any training you will need. In the run up to a new emnployee starting there is usually a meeting the week just before where the boss discusses what the newbei will actually do and of course announces their arrival. This is where, especially for the would be marketing assisant or APM, the monkeys get cast oiff other peoples backs. Now there is a certain amount of being nice and mucking in with the team, but a lot more plain piss taking goes on at this stage. A pre/emptive strike where you outline the type of things you want, what they expect, the projects and on goign routines etc and you can make it clear that you didnn't do an MSc to make tea and clean the database.

What I am trying to say is be very aware that marketing departments or ad agencies are a tangle of conflicting interests, ambitions, egos and changing situations. The whole thing is very dynamic and you can put a very positive spin when you come in, especially as you have an MSc. If however this is your first job, then I am afraid you will need to most likely suck on the mouldy cock of the shitty stick/. In the context of it being your 2nd or later , career making job, then get as much agreed in forehand.

In an ad' agency there will be a variety of clients you could maybe work with, so getting an idea of which in advance is vital otherwise you will be in shitty end of the stick land. Be positive here, find out who they work for and try to show your highest interest in one, not to the detriment of another. There are always a loty of politics in marketing and precious little mary's not actually performing, so if you show interest and motivation, the monkey can be dumped on someone elses back. So for example, the GUS catalogue or web site gets dumped on competant but unimaginative and dull Debra while you get to work on the Porsche account!

.......and finally .......

Given a minimum legal resignation period you can even accept a new job then tell them it is all goign terribly wrong and stay on in your current work with the employer oblivious to it all.

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