Thanks to our ongoing growth, I’m knee deep in recruitment at the moment trying to find brilliant people for our award-winning Content Marketing team.
I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about struggling to find work in the industry, especially those who are in the early stages of their career, so I thought I’d round up my top tips for anyone looking at roles at Evolved Search and thinking they might want to apply. Specifically for vacancies in the Content/ Digital PR side.
It’s always helpful to have insight from the people actually doing the hiring, after all.
Tip 1: Tailor your CV to the type of role you want.
I’ve seen lots of CVs applying for content roles that focus on skills and experience in other fields.
That doesn’t mean these people are unqualified, but if you want to be a writer and the first thing you’re telling me is that you’re really great at PPC, then I’m immediately going to think our goals are mismatched.
It’s best to really highlight exactly what you’re great at and how it applies to the role you’re actually applying for.
Tip 2: Don’t try to be all things to all people.
Similar to the tip above, if you’ve got a lot of skills across a range of areas, and you’re placing equal value on them all, then your CV can come across as unfocused.
If you’re telling me you’re good at everything, I’m not really sure what type of role you’re really looking for, or what your strengths are.
As a specialist agency, we look for people with strong skill sets and experience in their specific discipline.
Tip 3: Show creativity – but don’t blind me with it.
Now, I KNOW people have a difference of opinion on this one and so pay close attention to the views of where you’re applying to. But this is my personal take.
Talk about your creativity in your CV or covering letter. Tell me how you’ve taken an idea from a spark to coverage in publications. Tell me what inspired you.
There are lots of creative ways to get noticed and I’ve seen very talented individuals create content like games, websites, Twitter threads, interactive CVs and coverage to get the attention of recruiters. But that’s just one element of the role I’m hiring for and one example.
I want to know what makes you tick. What drives you from one idea to the next? What interests you, excites you? Where does your passion lie? How would you apply that once you got the job?
Tip 4: New to the industry? Create your own experience.
It’s flippin’ hard when you’re new to the industry or a graduate.
How do you get experience when no one has hired you yet? Create your own, that’s how.
Got your own blog or website? Use it as your test site. Show us how you’ve created it, the content you’ve written for it and how you’ve applied your SEO knowledge to it.
Want to get more into the content marketing and PR side? Create your own portfolio. Pick brands or products and create your own mini campaigns for them. Outline how they’d work.
You don’t have to actually go out there and get the links but a few different examples will demonstrate how you can turn your hand to different types of campaign.
Interested in working for a particular agency? Take note of the sectors they are experts in and look to show your ideas in those in your application or at the interview stage. We always set our candidates a task, no matter the role, so adopting this way of thinking will already give you a head start.
Tip 5: Beware of being too social media driven.
If the job you’re applying for isn’t directly a social media role, then beware of being too caught up with its importance. It’s true that it plays a vital part in many roles nowadays, but it’s not the be-all and end-all and not key criteria for roles at Evolved Search.
I’ve seen a lot of CVs with social media as their foremost skill detailing they’ve “increased social followers, likes and engagement” and I always wonder what that actually means. What does it mean for the client? What’s the impact? What if something doesn’t go well on social media? Does that mean it’s a failure? Of course not.
Instead of talking about those numbers, could you talk more about what social media makes you good at? Reactive content? Short and snappy copywriting? Engaging CTAs? Newsjacking?
So sure, highlight your social media skills, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that those stats are what’s going to make you a great hire.
Tip 6: Who are you? Like, really.
It’s not just about being able to get the job done. There’s no “clocking in and clocking out”. We care about People. You, in your entirety, with all your highs and lows, quirks and traits, are important to us. We want to know more about you. What drives you. How you might fit in with the team.
Don’t be shy, tell us your hobbies – and they don’t need to be work related. Maybe you’re a writer but you also love mountain climbing, or a PR person but you enjoy a spot of knitting. Or maybe you like to sample the delights of the best restaurants in town on evenings and weekends for your blog.
Tell. us. More!
We love that stuff.
Me? I’m addicted to Below Deck at the moment. I like walks through the countryside and meeting my Mam and sister for brunch in town. I write poetry for fun and I love nothing better than a big bowl of pasta, a documentary on Ancient Egypt and a sherry spritzer on a Friday night.
Tip 7: What’s your goal?
Sometimes I read a CV that’s full of information and yet I come away from it feeling like I don’t really know what the person wants. Is content really where their heart lies? There’s nothing wrong with not having a 5 year plan.
If we’ve learned anything from the past 18 months it’s that life can throw a good old bunch of spanners in the works at any time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t talk about what you want right now.
Does the thought of creating content that publications want to link to excite you? Are you passionate about professional development? Do you enjoy being part of a team sharing a common goal or do you get satisfaction from supporting others?
What I want to feel after reading a CV is that the person is ready to get stuck in and contribute and would get satisfaction from doing so.
Tip 8: Don’t forget your covering letter.
Lots of CVs come without cover letters and if you have quite a lot or a little to squish into your CV, then the cover letter becomes really important.
Granted, letter writing has become a bit of a lost art, but this is where you get the chance to say most of the tips 1-7 and make yourself stand out. Shine baby, shine!
Hopefully these tips will provide more context into what we look for here at Evolved Search during the hiring process, particularly myself and John – my fellow team lead – in the Content Marketing team.