Job hunt advice

The challenges facing our senior marketers

3 Dec 2019

The job market is tough right now at the senior end, according to one of our Stopgap Executive Business Consultants, Jackie Pinfold. The market is in a bit of a holding pattern with an election and Brexit looming, not to mention Christmas!

She’s written some tips to help senior marketing professionals ready themselves for the inevitable uplift, once everyone realises the world will continue to turn, objectives still need to be met, businesses need to grow and for that, they need great marketers.

There are more Marketing Directors and CMOs searching than there are jobs, roles are being briefed in and then pulled or put on hold, recruitment processes are protracted, running to four or five stages, and clients are being prescriptive and very cautious. So what can those highly qualified, senior marketing professionals do to help themselves?

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure you win airtime from those people there to help you:

Invest time in your job hunt

Be sure to invest your time in your job hunt, don’t leave it to your recruitment consultant to call you with ideas. The days of passive job seeking have gone. Use websites like Indeed, use your Stopgap job alerts, keep your eyes peeled and apply for any roles you see which you feel, hand on heart, are a good fit for you. Use the ‘must haves’ in job ads as your checklist, don’t just apply for anything because you could do the job. For more, read my colleague, Christine’s blog, 7 places to find your next job.

Create your own positioning statement

You’re marketers, identify your perfect role and from that create your own positioning statement – we’re not telling you to pigeonhole yourself but to decide what you really want and articulate it clearly. If you’re a great general all-rounder, don’t put yourself forward for roles that demand deep specialist expertise such as marketing automation or brand. Stick to your own identified position and focus on roles that will satisfy your needs.

Write a quality CV

There is endless advice online about producing a compelling CV so take advantage of this to create a pen portrait of your skills and experience that your recruitment consultant won’t be able to ignore. If you need help, ask them first. Stopgap Executive has tailored advice and information for its senior candidates and on our website we have some general CV writing advice. 

It can be really tough to know what to leave in and what to take out when you have a wealth of experience. Many CMO and Marketing Director roles require a bespoke CV so always be prepared to tailor to the role you are applying for. This will help to focus your summary and keep it relevant to the role, making it easier for the hiring manager.

Pin down some evidence to prove you can

Evidence is all when a recruiter is trying to understand you and check out that you really can do what you say, so have at your fingertips some lovely worked through examples of where you’ve done great work, with enough detail to demonstrate your value while keeping it punchy.

Be mindful of their time and keep your conversations short

When talking to the people who can help you, whether those in your network or recruiters, be sure to listen carefully and answer the questions asked. Don’t wax lyrical on all those years of marketing experience, tailor your answers carefully to the role in question. Be mindful again of having examples at the ready to show that you have shown the required competencies in other roles.

Build a relationship with your search consultant

Most job seekers will be working with two or three search or recruitment consultants. This is a relationship to work on so keep in touch at the right level – don’t stalk and do be cognisant of their pressures and deadlines. Be as honest and open as you can: the better your consultant understands you, your skillset, experience and search priorities, the more this partnership will be worth to you. Anything you can give them which articulates this and sums you up, the better – see positioning yourself above.

Keep in mind at all times that your search consultant has your best interests at heart, they are trying to do their best for you as well as for the client. Their objective is to get you in front of the client and to support you through the recruitment process right to offer stage. So, finally, prepare for that much sought after offer.

With any role, this conversation has to begin early in the process but this is especially true with senior roles, where the end result could be a potentially complex package. Explain to your search consultant how your package is made up, how much of it is basic salary, what your bonus is actually worth, what your shares have realised in recent years, they will need all of this broken down. If and when an offer is made, they will be negotiating on your behalf and want to do the best by you but they can only help if they have all of the necessary information.

This blog has glossed over much of the process, focusing on the early stages of your relationship with your recruitment consultant. For more advice on the whole recruitment process, visit our Stopgap Executive page. 

Your search consultant has your best interests at heart, they are trying to do their best for you as well as for the client.
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