A lot of people want jobs in marketing, which is great news for those of us currently hiring. However, after a decade of screening, interviewing and onboarding marketers, there are still some mistakes that I constantly see. Here are examples of some mistakes you should avoid.
1. You use a Hotmail or AOL email address
Marketers should see into the future, not live in the past, so unless you’re applying for a job as a historian for 1999, I would suggest updating your email address, perhaps to a Gmail address. Bonus points if you use an email address associated with your own custom domain because it shows you know something about using the web and technology.
2. I can’t find you on Google
You don’t have to be popular like Michael Jordan or Michael Jackson, but you should be present enough on the web that I can easily find your LinkedIn profile, content you have created, your Twitter account, or your personal web page just by typing your name into Google.
3. Your last tweet is from 2011
Don’t tell me you’re a digital guru if you haven’t tweeted in the last three years. You don’t have to have a million followers (though I’ll pay closer attention if you do), but you do need to be participating in the conversation on a regular basis by sharing other people’s content and staying current. A few tweets a week is enough; a month long lapse is unacceptable. I’d rather see you using one network well and not have accounts on the others, than have accounts everywhere and use none of them effectively.
4. Your public Facebook photos resemble “Frank the Tank”
Doing keg stands when you’re young is cool (believe it or not, I did a few back in the day) but there is literally no excuse for any of them to be in your public Facebook profile. Shirtless or bikini photos have no place in your public-facing profile on any network, so plan accordingly unless you’re applying to be Will Farrell’s stunt double; in which case, best of luck to you.
5. Your LinkedIn photo is a selfie
LinkedIn is, by definition, a professional network. To that end, I think it’s fair to expect your photo there to be professional-looking. Do you need a glamour shot or Annie Leibovitz-quality image to get hired? Absolutely not. But you should be looking straight to the camera, show your entire face (emo, shadowy portraits are cool for Instagram but not for LinkedIn), and be appropriately sized for the channel.
6. The only number on your resume is your phone number
Marketing is no longer arts and crafts — you need to be measurable and efficient to succeed. As a result, if your resume doesn’t include a single quantifiable metric to show your accomplishments, you’re likely not going to be a good fit on a marketing team today.
7. You speak exclusively in business babble
Tell me what you’re doing and what you have done in a clear, concise manner — limit the business babble. No one wants to read about how you “leverage responsibilities to meaningfully impact the organization’s directional strategy.” Tell me what you marketed, sold or championed within your company and how it moved the needle — no gobbledygook required.
8. You haven’t written anything since college
Your writing sample should not be a college term paper. Now there are countless channels to publish your work, so whether you self-publish through LinkedIn, post to Medium, or just keep your own blog current, you should be able to provide a current work sample that doesn’t have your college professor’s edits all over it. Every single person on our marketing team does some form of content creation, so we need people who are exceptional and committed to publishing or producing content early and often.
9. You applied for 15 positions on our team
Being eager to join a company is a good thing; being desperate is not. Invest the time to craft a cover letter and resume tailored to the job you truly want rather than trying to boil the ocean by applying to dozens of jobs in the same category. Not sure which position is a fit based on your skill set? Shoot a quick clarifying email to the hiring manager or recruiter before applying: Doing so may help you choose the right fit based on your experience and interests.
10. You forget to use Ctrl + F
Everyone knows spelling errors are unacceptable, but it’s amazing to me how many cover letters we get addressed to the wrong people or referencing another local company instead of HubSpot. Finding the time to create 100 different cover letters is nearly impossible, but you should have tailored cover letters and resumes for the types of positions you are applying for and invest the time and energy to ensure the company name, hiring manager and position are correctly spelled and positioned throughout your application materials.
Job hunting is hard, so don’t make it harder that it has to be. Do yourself a favor and don’t give a company a reason not to hire you before you even get to the interview. Marketing has changed, adapt your job search strategy accordingly!
What do you perceive to be resume red flags? Tell us in the comments.