Job-hunting Tips for Every Market

Looking for a new job? You’re in luck: According to an annual hiring survey by The Creative Group, 60% of employers within the creative field plan to hire in the coming year. Nearly half of the total respondents said their company’s efforts to attract new talent increased in the past year.

While this is excellent news for creatives, landing a new position is not a cakewalk, and candidates still must make an effort to distinguish themselves from the competition. For those in the creative field, “standing out” often means using flashy job-hunting tactics. Our company surveyed advertising and marketing executives and discovered that some of the most unusual approaches to getting the job include the candidate who sent lottery tickets with her resume and another who listed his qualifications on a billboard. It’s true that tactics such as these will get you noticed, but not always in the best way; after all, you don’t want to go down in the company’s applicant history as the “lottery girl” or “billboard man.”

Most employers hire substance over style, so consider the following ways to distinguish yourself from the crowd.

Rev up your resume. It goes without saying that your portfolio must pop. But don’t forget your resume, and not just how it looks. When writing this document, consider how your work has benefited former employers. For example, did you oversee projects that came in under budget? Or did you rework your company’s website, which led to increased sales or improved visibility? Quantifiable achievements are much more attention-grabbing than a vague laundry list of job duties.

Do your homework. Conduct online research to find out about a potential employer’s business history, the names of top executives, who the company’s chief competitors are and even the sort of news coverage the firm has received. This information can help you craft a more compelling cover letter, as well as demonstrate your knowledge of the business during an employment interview.

Highlight your strengths. When interviewing with a potential employer, offer specific examples to illustrate your points. If you’re a skilled problem-solver, for instance, describe how you overcame a challenge successfully in your last position. For example, maybe you found a way to bring costs down for an innovative but initially over-budget point-of-sale piece. Stories such as these provide evidence of your skills and help make a more memorable impression on the hiring manager.

Ask good questions. For example, asking about a competitor’s new product and how it’s affecting the potential employer’s business demonstrates your interest in not only in the job, but also the company as a whole. On the other hand, avoid bringing up compensation and perks in an initial interview—save these topics for later on in the interview process.

Employing these tactics will make you stand out from the competition, no matter the job market. Indeed, by focusing less on the “flash” and more on the substance during your job hunt, you’re more likely to receive a job offer in no time.

The Creative Group is a specialized staffing service placing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project basis with a variety of firms.