Tag Archives: relationships

Agree to…agree.

I spoke on a panel for social media trends as part of the NAIOP Northern Virginia Developing Leaders program yesterday. It was a great experience and I was thrilled to be asked.

The other three panelists and I come at social media from very different angles. I, of course, got the privilege of talking about social media from the combined HR and employee communications side. Erin Orr looks at it with a blended communications and marketing eye. Tim Klabunde admitted that he is a pure marketer. And Tim Hughes views social media through the lens of his legal background. And despite the variance, we agreed on a couple of things as we shared our stories:

  1. It’s all about relationship building. The whole point of getting online is to engage with people. We sounded like broken records with this one.
  2. Social media platforms are tools to help us with our day to day efforts. And since our efforts are typically dedicated to finding new work or new talent or new media sources, depending on your role, that usually involves building relationships (see #1), so use these tools to help those efforts.
  3. While there isn’t a one size fits all strategy that applies to social media, social media is something that can greatly impact the way in which we all do business. We’re big fans of applying it to businesses large and small, to companies that are public or private.
  4. Time is a the enemy up front. It does require the strategic decision to invest in social media up front. Ultimately, the payoff is going to be great – and all of us have seen some of that payoff already.

While we all agree, our different perspectives can guide us in so many directions. Because these are just tools in our toolbox (see #2), they open up different doors that we can choose to walk through at any given time. My focus doesn’t have to match that of my fellow panelists, but I can still sit with them and talk about the advantages that social media will provide for my company. In fact, it’s this holistic approach across disciplines that gives the bigger picture of what social media can do. I think that message started to sink in for some of these folks.

What a win for social media, eh?

Do creative types really need their own resume guide?

Editor’s note: I made some minor edits from the original post. Thanks to keen eyes for noting my initial proofreading failure. The content is the same, but the spelling and grammar edits have been corrected.

I got a tip from Bryant Turnage (aka @turnageb), one of my awesome readers, about a resume guide for creative professionals put together by Derek Leavitt, an architect. While resumes are typically textual in nature, this guide makes the point that designers are significantly more visual in the work that they do, so their applications should reflect that.

Working as an HR guy for an architecture firm, this was right up my alley.

For those of you who aren’t in creative professions, don’t worry, this actually applies to you just the same. You may not have the expectation to build in imagery (and if you’re a lawyer or an accountant, for example, it’s probably discouraged), but many of the principles are universal.

I’m on board with the philosophy. There are no “must have” things for your resume, no key phrasing or imagery that will automatically signify that you’ll get the job. But honestly, there are no limits. Often times, you should break “the rules” and try something different. One small change: you should be trying to be bold and different AND creating something of enormous value – it’s not easy, but when you do it right, you’ll speak to employers on two levels.

Moving on to format, I’m in more of a disagreement mode. Yes, please add imagery to your standard resume. Nothing’s bores me more than seeing the Microsoft Word template replaced with your name and job history. But please DON’T send me a print resume booklet. We’re desperately trying to go paperless (sustainability, anyone?) and keep better track of our candidates to be able to call on people well after they apply when we have an opening. If you send me a resume shaped like an origami crane, as beautiful as that may be, I can’t possibly store it anywhere. What I’ll do is take the key information and log it into my database and then throw it out. No, I won’t feel guilty about it – my desk is cluttered enough as it is.

To the next point, go ahead and put your website and YouTube videos together, but make that a supplement to and NOT a replacement for the standard resume. That one’s actually to help hiring managers. I’ll do my research based on what you give me, but I have a hard time convincing those folks to do multiple clicks for the sake of a candidate.

As far as content goes, this is actually pretty awesome. Less is definitely more. Be personal and tell me about yourself. I’ll add that I want to know who you are and why you want to work with us (and not just how awesome you may be). And the last one is the kicker: show off your business skills. Even designers have to have them, so don’t ignore that. 

One change: I don’t want a picture of you on your resume. The ones that come with photos are, honestly, a bit creepy. And more seriously, photos can potentially lead hiring managers to make decisions based solely on what they see, which is a clear violation of Equal Employment Opportunity laws. You’re better off not dealing with that and helping employers reduce liability.

And here’s where I lose it. Don’t do anything on this Delivery page. At all. If you want a job, don’t ask for an informational interview – that’s a waste of everyone’s time and I promise you I won’t hire you if you lie and disturb my employees because of that. As for submitting materials, most places have a process written on their website for applying. If we wanted something else, we would have that up instead. Not following the rules is just going to annoy whoever is supposed to receive your resume. And definitely don’t stop by to ask what to do. That’s just not necessary. Don’t you dare give me a call after you’ve submitted your resume. It’s one of my goals to write everyone back, so I do, but I understand that I’m in the minority – not everyone has the time. So if that’s the case, calling to ask if your application was received and what the next step is certainly not going to make people happy to talk to you.

So while this does have specific tools for you as a creative professional, ultimately, you’re in the same boat as everyone else. You do have expectations related to your imagery, but as far as philosophy, format, content and delivery go, it’s no different for you. I’ll repeat, gimmicks don’t work. If you’re the best candidate, prove it on your application. Plain and simple. What you should really be focusing on is building the relationships in advance and then developing a position in conjunction with HR and hiring managers. If you do that, all of this stuff becomes significantly less important, doesn’t it?

The 1-2 punch of relationship building and recruiting

At our firm (and I imagine in organizations everywhere), we’ve been talking more and more about how to do our parts individually to contribute to the firm’s continued success – meaning business development. And as I sat through a marketing discussion, the theme was obvious – business development comes from making relationships. Very rarely do you blindly submit a proposal (as in, without any relationship with the potential client) and win the project. It just doesn’t happen that way. When you have a connection with the decision makers, you’re more likely to get the award. And the longer you’ve had that connection and the stronger that connection is, the likelihood increases.

I’ve got two lessons we can take from this, but because they hit at the point from two different perspectives, and in the interest of driving the point home, I’ll save the second one for a separate post.

Let’s look at this with an HR lens. As someone looking for a job, the more you know about the company and the better you know someone who works there, the greater your likelihood is of getting a job. If you can find a way to get in with a company and make that personal connection, your chances are infinitely better than someone who blindly applies. This isn’t rocket science – you’ve already heard this. But it’s the common sense stuff that too often gets lost.

But let’s not forget that this is a two-way street here. As an employer, if you’ve got a candidate you really like, the more you can personalize the relationship, the more likely it is that that potential hire will pick you when the chips are down. There are candidates that we have been talking with for months and even years in the hopes that we’ll have an opening and can entice them to come join us. It’s happened before with a hard to fill position. Many times, when stellar candidates are floating around in the market, they’re not just getting calls from one place – everyone wants them, and they know it. If you invest in that person in time and genuine interest, you have a greater chance of successfully convincing them to join your team. Take them to lunch, learn who they are, get them a chance to know you and you and your organization better. The best recruiters know this and have invested the time with the candidates they seek to place or hire. It’s just good sense.

And think about the potential when social media gets involved in the conversation! But that’s a preview for what’s to come…Any thoughts on how that would play in? I’d love to incorporate them in my next post!