Topic: Career/Training

Self Marketing Question For Job Search

Posted by neila345 on 3003 Points
I somehow accumulated some expert points. It might be from when I was on MP a few years ago. Anyway, I'll use them for this question.

Part of this might be beyond the scope of this forum but it's worth a try. I'm currently looking for a new job after having spent the last decade working as a sales engineer and other roles at a small ESP.

My experience is all over the map from sales, to technical, to some marketing hence my membership here. I'm a generalist knows enough Linux and how to code enough to talk to developers about anything at their level but I'm not at the level where I could code fast enough to work full time as a developer. I'd say the same thing about Linux System admin and Devops. I know Linux at a system admin level yet I don't do it enough to be efficient.

I'm a competent salesperson and I know a some marketing from interacting with a lot of marketing managers through my work at the ESP and through MP.

So finally to the question. I'd welcome critiques of things like my my Linkedin profile and possibly resume? Don't pull any punches as honest, constructive criticism would really help. I've applied for sales engineering jobs but also I've applied for developer, content marketing, technical writing, customer support, and so on. This is clearly a sign of a someone who's a bit confused. I do get that.

So far I've had one interview and they gave me a technical project to do that I successfully completed, and they liked me well enough to make me a finalist for the job.

I was proud of that and I'll go to their offices for a second interview but I'd like to get some more prospects in the pipeline.

Here's my LinkedIn Profile. I do have a resume that I will post somewhere visible. I would appreciate any sort of feedback at all as even an incremental improvement could make all the difference.


Resume. Here's a PDF of it. Please let me know if another format or medium would be better.

Also, I kind of like these endorsements. I'm thinking I could use these as like a marketer uses testimonials and success stories. What do you think?

* Do I need a personal website or a blog? If so what would I put on it and what would the purpose be?
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  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    So let's start with the objective. Do you want just any job, so you can pay the rent, buy food, etc., or do you want a job that really excites and motivates you?

    The term "job search" doesn't mean you are searching to see who is offering what kind of job. It means you are searching for the company and job where you can use your unique skill set to address a pressing need for your employer.

    Who needs what you do particularly well? Search for that, not for a company (or potential employer) that has an advertised opening. The former is a lot harder, but it's also the best/only way to get a job that will truly make you happy and fulfilled.

    Oh, and scratch the word "help" from your LinkedIn headline "Seeking new opportunity to use skills to help a company grow." Either you can do something or you can't. When you "help," it suggests you lack confidence, and that the employer will need others to really accomplish his/her goal. Tell them what YOU CAN do, not what you can HELP someone else do.

    I'd avoid a generic resume. Create a targeted resume for each prospective employer. Demonstrate that you have invested the time to learn about them and their business. That will make a huge difference.

    Trying to present yourself as begging for work is NOT the way to get a great job. Better to present yourself as the person uniquely qualified to solve the employer's most pressing problem.

    Full disclosure: The comments above are from a book I wrote several years ago about job search. You can check out "The Potato Chip Difference : How to apply leading edge marketing strategies to landing the job you want" (Excerpts from the book are on the site.)
  • Posted by neila345 on Author
    Hi Michael,thanks for the thoughtful response. Most appreciated.

    I'd prefer a job that's exciting but that's balanced with financial considerations, including a young child. So yes ideally the job would be exciting but at some point I may have to compromise in that area or maybe even take a flat out crappy job, though that'd be temporary.

    I'm good at sales engineering so I'm sure there are a good number of technical companies that could benefit from my services even if the position doesn't have that exact title. I'd love to narrow my search to companies that could benefit partciarly well from what I have to offer I'm not sure what that means in practice. Is there a methodology for figuring that out? I do think I've been too scattershot. I could narrow it to just ESP's and marketing automation firms since I have a lot of experience but that seems too narrow a focus. That's a tough one but I do see your point. If I could figure that out somehow then I'd know exaxtly what messaging to use to communicate my value, too, since presumably I'd have a fairly deep understanding of the needs of companies thst fit the criteria.

    With regard to the word help I will remove that. Is that what you mean by begging for a job or were there other things? I don't feel desperate at this point or that I'm begging for a job but if I'm projecting that feeling then I need to correct it. I still feel in a position of strength but that coukd change if this process drags on too long.

    Thanks for your input. I'll also take a look at your book right now.

  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    Quick response: "Begging for a job" is when the resume isn't tightly focused on exactly what you want. Many people include everything they've ever done, so the implication is that they want ANY job, working for anyone who will hire them.

    My suggestion would be to have a different resume for each company you approach -- or at least for every kind of job. You can even include that in a section at the beginning of the resume that talks about your objective and summarizes your [relevant] skills and experience (for that job).

    Regarding the book: It is in its 3rd printing, and it's 15 years old. Some specifics may have changed, but the philosophy it communicates is still highly relevant. I interviewed dozens of job seekers, hiring executives and recruiters when I wrote the book. Several exercises that you can use to focus your resume.

    Regarding "help": It's a weak word. It suggests you are not willing to be measured, or held accountable, for your performance or contribution, but would rather just "help" someone else. Better to promise what you will DO.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    Michael's giving you great advice - listen well.

    Your LinkedIn profile and resume are focused on your skills. These are important, but not primarily so for your prospective employers. From a marketing perspective, focus on how you've tangibly improved business for your past employers. For example, as a Sales and Solution Engineer, did you increase leads by 25%? Did you reduce onboarding time by 10%? Did you reduce call volume because of your articles or help system? These details will differentiate yourself from others will similar skill sets.

    I also wouldn't lead with your skills & expertise (put 'em at the end). Lead with specific ways that you can help the business you're applying to.

    Reduce your resume to a single page. Consider removing some of your older employment and/or reducing the number of details for older jobs.

    Your LinkedIn profile (which has at least one typo "I had value") is talking about YOU. Instead, talk about YOUR RESULTS. Your endorsement is good - since it touches upon "saving time and money". Consider rewriting it using third person voice.
  • Posted by Peter (henna gaijin) on Accepted
    I'll third what Michael said, especially with regards to custom resumes for each position you apply to. It doesn't have to be a lot of work - increase the stuff that is important to the position you are targeting, and reduce the things that are not important to that position. For example - if you were to go after a marketing position, I would reduce the talk about computer languages you can code with. Talking about them makes you sound like a coder, not a marketer. And as Jay said - a 1 page resume should be the target. These 2 go hand in hand - you can reduce the stuff that is not relevant to the position, shortening the length to one page. Focus on relevant experience.

    The resume gets some changes for each position, but the cover letter needs to be fully customized for every job you apply to. I like taking the bullet list that prospective employers usually have of desired and required skills/attributes and then put them into the cover letter with short statements after each showing how I meet these requirements.

    This gets into what Jay was saying - talk about results. How much business you closed, how much sales you increased, how many new customers you brought in, how much time or money you saved, how many projects you completed on time and on/under budget, etc.. These should both be in your resume and cover letter (so in LinkedIn also). For example, you have listed " Automated some routine tasks using BASH shell scripts" should be changed to "Saved XX hours per month by automating routine onnboarding tasks using BASH shell scripts".

    Your position at Infinity does have this to a point - "met and exceeded goals", "consistently top performer", etc. Those are good. Reasonably strong statements that show you can do the job needed, and are not just a set of skills. Be good to get this type of statement in for the most recent position.

    You currently have the following posted in your LinkedIn profile:
    "I have an interest in information security (cyber security) so I'll take that with me where ever I go. I think it's the most important problems facing information technology so I consider it critical to continue learning about it."
    This seems a bit vague, and to me makes it sound like you are not fixed as to where you want to go. You may not be, but you don't want to look that way. What I would do is have a sentence or two about the research/education you have been doing for cyber security and add that to a resume when cyber security is important for the position. But don't use if going after a company where it is not important, as it makes you look like you aren't interested in their field.

    I like LinkedIn Recommendations and think it is good to get as many as possible. But, these are generally not great once you send a resume in to a company (as the prospective employer likely is just looking at your resume and cover letter), more for when someone is searching for candidates using LinkedIn.
  • Posted by Gary Bloomer on Accepted
    Your LI profile may benefit from testimonials, getting more people to talk up and support your skills, and by placing those reviews at the top of your listing rather than at the bottom.

    You may also benefit from talking less about your interests and more about the ways in which you've achieved goals, exceeded sales quotas, and so on.
  • Posted by neila345 on Author
    Hi, thank you for the feedback so far. I really appreciate it. I plan to wait maybe until tomorrow and then allocate the points. I've taken in all of the feedback so will implement it ASAP.

    The good news is I got another interview and am working on another technical challenge (that seems to be the norm for tech jobs now) so I'm going to focus on that at the moment. Two in the funnel is not spectacular but it's a start. I've gotten two strong prospects with the current marketing but the advice here's been good so I expect I'll be able to add several more to the funnel after this.

    Even if I'm offered and decide to take one of the two jobs that are currently in play, I'll still follow through with the advice as I highly doubt I'll stay at the next job 10 years or more as I did with the last one. That was probably too long to stay there. Unless a company offers a learning path or promotion path, I'm going to make an effort to move jobs after a few years to avoid stagnation.

    To summarize the advice so far, I think there are the key points:


    From Michael's input:

    * Different resume catered to the requirements of each job. This makes sense to me as given that I just spent 10 years with an ESP I know that batch and blast does not work. Targeted and relevant does.

    * Remove words like "help" that are weak modifiers. Use wording that conveys confidence.

    * Put the skills further down in the LinkedIn profile and put a summary of specifically what I can do for companies near the top. This does make sense to me as I did kind of dump a kitchen sink list near the top.

    * Fix typos and other errors. I realize that should be common sense but I do sometimes sort of rush through writing so that was a good reminder. I need to make sure the writing is at least free of spelling errors and blatant grammatical errors.


    From Jay:

    * Focus on the results that I've achieved for companies in the past and what specifically I can do for them in the future. This is a tough one as the only work where I can quantify my contribution were when I was the top salesperson at Infinity Internet (Pacifier) beating the other 20 sales people month after month very consistently. I worked in the Vancouver office but I also consistently beat everyone in the LA office. Beyond that job I don't have measurable results that I can cite as sales was the only job I've had that had metrics comparing me to other sales people at the company. In other jobs it's always been much more vague. So I can try to make things more tangible but there won't be many specific numbers. I'll try to remedy that by measuring better in future jobs.

    * I do like the endorsements but I'm not sure I should re-write them as they are literally word-for-word would what the endorsers wrote. Aren't the endorsements already in 3rd person? I thought they were.

    * One page custom resumes for each job. I agree with that. I tend to be too wordy so the discipline of one page (probably the most anyone will read anyway) would be good.


    * Reiterated the custom resume point. Since this seems to be a point mentioned by everyone so far, I'll make it a high priority.

    * Pointed at the vagueness of my interest in Information Technology and suggested instead that I talk about specifics. That I can do. I've done some focused effort in that area so I can list specific areas of knowledge and skills. I'm interested enough that I gave a talk at a local tech group. The reason I'm hesitant to push the information security part is that it's a relatively new interest, maybe 6 months or so but still even that amount of time was enough for me to learn quite a bit with the help of an excellent LinkedIn group and an excellent forum (Peerlyst) focused on information security. It seems all these experienced people call it "information security" so that's why I'm using that instead of "cyber." I figure since I don't know much I will copy what the pros do. I could mention both in more formal contexts (e.g., a resume) as "cyber security" has gotten a lot of press so a lot of people know it by that name, too.

    Gary, I was wondering if you could clarify what you mean by the less about interests? Do you mean I should not say so much about, say, my interest in Linux or that I was in some club? Just laser focus on what employers are looking for? I think that's what you're saying but I wanted to clarify.

    Thanks everyone for the outstanding, useful feedback. Thanks especially to Michael for getting the ball rolling. I appreciate it. As I said, I'll award all the points tomorrow. I figure it wouldn't hurt to keep this open one more day.

  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Member
    (Note: I meant to write that your LinkedIn profile should be in 3rd person, not your endorsement)

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