Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hiring Expectations Up - and What CMOs Are Looking For Specifically

A friend of mine, in doing some research for a large software company located in Redmond, WA, found a great article indicating CMOs are looking to ramp up hiring. Originally posted in March, the numbers from the article back up the recent surge in hirings we've witnessed through OCA.

The article, from, pulls its information from a CMO Survey conducted by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business and the AMA. It touches on hiring plans, the expected upswing in Social Marketing, and what hiring managers in the industry are looking for in candidates.

HERE for the full article, or HERE for the survey results. Below is just a snippet.

Hiring Plans
Nearly one-half (46.7%) of companies say they expect to hire new marketers during the next six months, while 61.4% plan to hire in the next year and 77.5% plan to hire over the next two years.
On average, companies plan to increase hiring levels 8.2% in the next six months, 12.9% in the next year, and 24.1% over the next two years.

Work experience will be emphasized: Only 27.1% of hires are expected to come from universities.

Among skill sets, Internet marketing, innovation and growth, CRM, and brand management will be the most sought after by senior marketers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

OCA: The Reunion Show - The Recap

Last week's OCA event, The Reunion Show, was a big hit.
We had a panel of speakers, all of whom have navigated the "Great Recession" and landed jobs in which they are extremely happy. New titles for this group of OCA alums range from Web Marketing Manager to Marketing Director, Advertising Strategist to Sr Marketing Coordinator, and even a Lean 6-Sigma Facilitator. Over the course of a 1-hour plus Q&A session, the panel of speakers did a great job providing current OCA members with a wealth of advice, lessons learned, and anecdotes from their own personal, successful job searches.

The event was also a great chance to catch up with friends, practice our networking skills, and I'm sure a lot of new connections were made.

"Lessons Learned" from the panel:
- When interviewing, establish parity - why you fit the qualifications and experience required for the job - but get past that, and provide the hiring company with a reason you stand out above the others. What is your difference?
- All interviews are informational. You're interviewing them as much as they're evaluating you.
- All informational meetings are interviews. Treat every 'casual' coffee session as you would a real interview. Someone doing you a favor by providing information in a more casual situation is still, at the end of the day, checking you out. Could I work with this person? What would they have to offer, if a position opened up? Make sure you don't provide a reason for them to not hire you later.
- There's a danger to being too wide or too narrow in your job search focus. If you're trying to be all things to all people, companies don't get the sense that you know what you want to do. At the same time, if you're too focused on exactly what it is you're pursuing, you may miss out on many other opportunities. At the end of the day, it's about finding a balance and knowing what you want.
- Network, network, network. And then network some more.
- When writing cover letters, drop names of people you know (due to all your networking. See above.)
- Fit your resume to the job description. Make it easy for anyone screening your resume to see how you fit the requirements for the job.
- Be prepared. It's not just the Boy Scout motto; it applies to interviewing, too. Do your homework and go in knowing yourself, the position, the company and with whom you're interviewing.
- "Don't be a 'fanboy,' be a peer." Enthusiasm is key, but don't go in so over-the-top that your excitement could be a turn-off. Remember, if you fit the requirements, after that it's a cultural fit.
- Take contract jobs, if you can get them. They keep your skills and your resume up to date, they provide another source for networking, and they pay better than unemployment.
- When you are hired (and you will be), try to get some time between the offer and your start date. While many of us have had several months off work, job searching is non-stop and not relaxing. Having just a bit of time that you can spend as you want, knowing that a paycheck is coming, is time that you can truly enjoy.
- When you do start work, keep track of all that you're doing and document your accomplishments. You never know when you might need to update your resume again.

During the panel discussion, it was quite clear that many of our alums had similar experiences during their job search. In most cases, they each:

  • Built up visibility within a small community of some sort (engineering, operations, advertising). This is key.

  • Volunteered for industry activities that helped them gain visibility.

  • Had timely and specific skills that an employer needed.

  • Were focused and crisp about what they wanted to do.

  • Targeted smaller firms, not necessarily going after companies that are on everyone else's wish list.

  • Encountered some good fortune. All were ready and in the right place to take advantage of an opportunity.
Thanks again to everyone who helped make this event a huge success!

Road Trip Nation

Did you know what you wanted to do with your life when you were 20?

How about now?

Road Trip Nation is a number of things. It is a social media project of State Farm, it provides creative content for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and American Public Television, and it's program for a number of other organizations. Solid strategic partnerships and a model for leveraging network effects for all involved.

It is also an interesting exploration of career paths. How successful people got to where they are: Doing what they love. And making a living at it.

Check out the
interviews on you tube and visit the site for inspiration.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Notes from 6/11/2010 - Networking Tips from a Networking Guru

Welcome to two new OCA members:
- Louise Matthews has an extensive marketing background, most recently in the banking and insurance industries (JP Morgan Chase/WaMu, Safeco). She's pursuing marketing positions that would utilize her branding, direct marketing, and marcomm experience.
- Scott Stracener is a process improvement & Supply Chain Management expert, with purchasing and production experience. He was most recently with Group Health and is looking to continue his career in the health care arena.

Our June 11th OCA meeting welcomed guest speaker, Sandy Jones-Kaminksi, business development consultant and networking guru. Though she's a bit reluctant to claim the title, "Guru," Sandy is increasingly being recognized for her networking talents and is the author of
I'm at a Networking Event -- Now What??"

Sandy has a background in market research and broadcast media, but it's been her extensive work in business development that has honed her networking skills. After attending countless events, where she watched people flounder at making connections, she put a white paper together that led to her writing the book. Sandy genuinely wants to help others make the most of any encounter, and with networking being so important with a job search, it made perfect sense to have her in to talk with our group.

Crafting your Intro. Sandy recommends developing (and practicing) something between what she calls the "bumper sticker" (a personal tagline) and an elevator speech (your pitch). Make it memorable, and make sure you say what you're looking for. "A closed mouth does not get fed. You have to ask.") People remember company names, and as we've witnessed over and over again with OCA, it's easy to then make the connection between a company you're targeting and someone they may know at that company. Sandy put this into practice with our own group by asking everyone in attendance to name one company on which they're focusing. The conversations that followed were chock full of the phrase, "Oh, I know someone at..."

When you're at the event. Be the one to initiate the conversation. Sandy suggests the following lines as a way to get a dialogue started:
"What brought you to this event?" "What are you working on these days?" If the person you're talking to is somewhat adept at networking as well and tells you what they're looking for specifically, you can then easily jump in with, "What kind of help do you need with that?" This then leads to her next point.

"Start looking at networking as community service." People have a natural tendency to want to help each other, so why not use that notion while networking? Sandy suggests going to an event with the intention to help. In her book, she references this as the "give to get" philosophy. It also falls in line with what she calls "The Pay it Forward Approach." "... by helping [others], you can quite possibly change people's attitudes about at least a little part of their world through your unobtrusive acts of kindness."

Finally, "Never stop networking." Meetings, volunteer work, classes, etc. They are all opportunities to meet others and to help make connections. Plus, practice your networking skills by talking to people you encounter each and every day. You never know where it might lead.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

OCA: The Reunion Show - Wed 6/16, 6pm

More than 50 people have come through the OCA doors and have gone on to land full-time or contract jobs. And some have even started their own companies.
Ever wonder what they did to get their current position? Or, if you're newer to OCA, do you wish you could have met them before they moved on?

On June 16th, we'll host "OCA: The Reunion Show"
(To view the evite, click
Meet with alums and ask them the tough questions: "What worked?" "What didn't work?" "What would you do differently or over again, if given the chance?" "Are you hiring??" ...

This will be a social event*, and breaking from the norm, we'll meet in the evening. These people have jobs, remember??

6:00-6:15 - Gather, grab a drink, mingle, and get settled
6:15-6:30 - Greetings from Larry Asher (SVC)
6:30-7:30 - Q/A panel session
7:30-8:30 - networking, complete with beer/wine

*Anyone interested in beer/wine at the event, I'd ask for a $5 donation to cover costs.

Location: SVC Seattle - 500 Aurora Ave N., Seattle, WA
When: Wednesday, June 16, 6:00PM
Phone: 206.304.1455

Monday, June 14, 2010

A bit of good news

Nice press release by our friends over at The Creative Group last week that bodes well for hiring going into the fall.

"Eighteen percent of marketing and advertising executives interviewed said they plan to increase staff levels in the third quarter of 2010, while 12 percent anticipate declines. The net 6 percent increase in projected hiring activity is up five percentage points from the previous quarter's projection."

Press release here 3rd Qrtr Hiring Projections

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Not having a job may disqualify you..

I don't like presenting a downer, but such is life.

Interesting bit floating around the net. There are some companies that are up-front about a concept that many suspect is out there – just no one would ever admit to. What interests me is the number of companies that have this requirement but don't advertise it.

"The unemployed will not be considered"

Do you think this is real?

Notes from 6/4/2010 - Crowdsourcing, Social Media, and More

From Mark Farmer and Duane Hobbs, who stepped in last week and led the OCA meeting...
The combination of rainy weather and a lack of parking (SVC had both a seminar AND a tree blown down in the parking lot) kept the meeting smaller-than-average level of attendance, but the attendees were top of their field and compelling!

Of discussion was:

Crowdsourcing: What it means to Creatives
Discussed that crowdsourcing DOES radically affect creatives. It is hard when you've spent years developing and honing a craft that was once highly valued, but is now becoming commoditized. Never the less, arguing against evolution leaves you with the dinosaurs.

Evolvers may find themselves:
- Becoming the in-house creative that -- rather then produces from start to end -- now manages crowdsourced resources, educating the company on what quality is, what is needed and managing the crowdsourcers.
- There will ALWAYS be a place for specializing: that is, becoming one of the top 5% at doing ____X____
- Joining in the crowdsourcing

Social Media Metrics: Quantity vs. Quality
With Social Media becoming more and more evolved and valued, the question remains: How do you MEASURE its efficacy!? There are ways to measure ROI, but all of these ways NEED to differentiate between *quantity* (how many connections, subscribers or followers, how many page visits, how many re-broadcasts) and *quality* (was the re-broadcast in a positive light -- "you have to see this, it's so cool!" -- or negative "Watch this: BP STILL doesn't get it!").

Quality often requires a different, subjective standard of measure, but frankly, is more important in social media, than quantity.

In discussing social marketing's strategy of strengthening relationships, Duane added in a profound observation that "Asking people for something often strengthens the relationship," and companies AND people can use that, by judiciously asking others for something they are easily able to supply (opinions?) and willing to supply.

Resume Review and the Job Search
Members spent time critiquing others resumes. Duane observed he felt he would be FAR ahead if "If I spent as much time improving my resume and asking people out to coffee to learn about them as I do in applying [for jobs]", a point well made: Your resume is ONLY "marketing" for YOU. A/B test it and actively solicit consumer (erm... prospective employer) market research on it's efficacy in marketing YOU.

Duane offered to be a guinea pig on this one, committing to reporting to the group in 3 weeks HIS results in asking at least 3 prospective employers to critique his resume.

What Help Do You Need!?
We ended with a recommendation Gayle Rose had made some time ago: By going around the room, each person announcing what help or connection they needed assistance with this week; the entire room brainstorming connections and tangible help.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The OCA Survey

“I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.”
- Thomas Alva Edison

If you haven't already, please take about 5 minutes to complete the OCA "what works and what doesn't" or "What I tried that worked for me" survey. (Tabulated results to be shared here)

If you've already been HIRED:

If you're still looking:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hiring Frenzy

Maybe it's a sign that the economy is on an upswing (and hopefully continuing along that trajectory), or it's the power of networking. Maybe it's both. But we've had several OCA members recently become new OCA alums.

Congrats to the following people as they embark on new ventures:
  • Melissa Baldwin - marketing manager for the Food Service group of Starbucks
  • Carl Larson - site conversion manager for Global Market Insite (GMI)
  • Cindy McKinley - sr. project manager for the Seattle Art Museum's internal design / communications group
  • Michele Powell - sr. marketing coordinator for HDR/PHAROS
  • Meghan Ragsdale - account executive for Cole & Weber advertising
  • Mhairi Voelsgen - account director for Rally Marketing