Standing out in a competitive landscape
A few years ago, when I asked hiring managers what they looked for from job applicants, I got a lot of strange responses.
One executive simply said, "A pulse." He was joking. Or, maybe he was half-joking. Because back then, the problem in digital wasn't getting the job. In fact, prospective employees didn't seem to have many concerns at all. Employers, on the other hand, were the ones who had to worry. Attrition rates were awful. Developers jumped from one job to the next like Q*bert. Pinning down an ad sales superstar for a year -- let alone 18 months -- was a noteworthy accomplishment, and keeping creatives happy long enough for them to pay real dividends was, well, a pipe dream.
Of course, those days are gone now. Sure, job jumping still happens -- this is digital, after all -- but these days it's fair to say that the pendulum has swung squarely in the employer's favor. Landing a job isn't as easy at it used to be. Budgets are tighter, opportunities are fewer, and hiring managers are more cautious about the decisions they make today, if only because they know that a bad choice will probably still be with them six months from now.
So, whether you're that ad sales superstar, that code-crunching developer, that elegant designer, or that indispensible creative, the chances are that if you're looking for a job in digital, you'll need to stand out in an overgrown stack of resumes. So to help you think about your job search from another angle, we asked several folks at various ad agencies to share what they look for in a new hire. In some cases, the advice is applicable to a specific digital job category; in other cases, you'll find the advice to be more general. But in all cases, we asked those people who are responsible for hiring to be brutally honest about what really sets a job applicant apart these days.