What Recent Grads and Job Seekers can Learn from Content Marketers

I worked for a content marketing agency that convinced its clients that the buying cycle has changed. It was there that I realized — there’s a lot that  recent graduates can learn from content marketers.  For those of you who don’t know what content marketing is — here’s a drilled down definition from a sort of pioneer of the new trend.

Customers don’t want to learn about products the way they used to anymore. They don’t want to learn from the company television advertisements. They want to read online blogs that are interesting to them and to skim reviews that seem more personal.

I’m here to share with you that, not only has the buying cycle changed, the hiring cycle has changed.  Employers don’t learn about or evaluate potential employees the way they used to. They’re overrun with applications, resumes, phone calls and email. As a result, we have to change the way that we deliver our own specialties, stories and skills to them. We’ve got to market ourselves differently.

The new trend? Adding interesting, new and thought provoking qualities to the traditional, informative and standard characteristics you’ve already mastered in your job-hunt approach.

What should recent graduates take away from this trend? Find better ways to get in front of your employers.

How to take your Job Hunting to the Next Level

Get Pretty  —  Use Infographics for resumes
Not much to say here other than infographic resumes are easier and more fun to look at.

Keywords: easier and fun.

They also have a greater tendency to go viral (depending on where you’re placing them) . If a black and white resume doesn’t make the cut with it’s first viewer, there’s absolutely no reason to pass it on. But a colorful, creative and attractive resume is shareable in and of itself. Not to mention, for more creative companies it shows initiative in the field of choice.

Get Even — Show Facebook your middle finger — Use LinkedIn as your professional social media page
Of course, I’m sure HR will or has already taken the time to peruse your Facebook page in search of evidence of you chugging a beer bong, but at least having a professional social media page shows you have created a distinction between your personal and professional life.

Now, I know that in one of my recent posts I referred to LinkedIn as a “useless rolodex”. What can I say? I’m an “in the field” kind of person. But I’ve definitely used it for quick reference, names and company positions — friends of friends, etc.

Plus, HR is continuously shifting its attention to LinkedIn’s platform and away from the traditional job boards. Here, Dan Schawbel refers to the job boards as “black holes” and encourages all professionals to add using LinkedIn to find a job to their job hunt strategy.

Get Personal — Use Youtube videos to show companies your personality, spunk and that you’re anything but shy
You may not use this if you’re applying for a librarian position — but if you’re doing anything related to sales rep, business dev, marketing, public speaking… or even teaching, letting influencers experience your personality through Youtube can be key to getting you in the door.

Dear Valve. Hire Me. — An awesome video animation by a young gamer looking for a job.

Google. Hire Me. — Another approach to using youtube to get a job.

Tweeting to communicate with potential employers
Now — I’ll preface this, (and anything I write about twitter — ever) by saying that I absolutely hate twitter. I really do.  I don’t really “believe” in its “powers”. I think the only way to be successful with it is by allowing it to totally distract you all day— unless you just tweet crap for the heck of it.

BUT — I do believe it’s a great casual way to get your voice on a company’s radar. PLUS! Companies are literally posting their jobs on Twitter now. Not too big of a surprise. No. But take a look at this snapshot of Totem.

See that guy David Maw that they retweeted right above their own tweets? I bet you anything that if he applies and is even remotely qualified, they’ll consider him over a blank face. You tweet merely to get in front of people — all of these things are ways to stay top of mind. Remember that.

Blogging to show industry knowledge or expertise
Now this, I do believe in. Blogging to show industry knowledge is a great way to show passion, timeliness and industry authority (or in your case, blossoming industry authority).

Here’s a blog and website of a friend of mine. She’s a great photographer and I love her combination of blog and site here to exhibit her skills.

Also, check out this post from boston.com. Apparently creative industries aren’t the only industries that appreciate reading their job applicants’ blogs. Here a recruitment manager for EnerNOC talks about his love for reading engineer blogs before hiring.

Another thing that I love about blogs is their ability to connect you to influencers and allow other influencers to witness your conversations. Remember what I said at the beginning of this post about customers wanting to read personal online reviews and  blog conversations? Well, this is pretty much the same thing.

Here employers can see the positive responses or praise you get from other influential industry members in exchange for posting great content and sharing your insights and opinions.

Ok, so are you all believing the hype yet? No? Good!

Fortunately for you, I’m not the marketer or blogger who pushes the same solution for everyone.

There’s still a long way to go and a lot of consideration to be had before sending in your content with a remarkably unique approach. Point being — the message can be lost on the wrong audience.

I was looking at a Lifehacker post on infographic resumes today and couldn’t overlook the comments section where professionals applying to different types of companies had to tailor or curb their desire to get creative with their approach.

So, do I think that appreciation for creativity and unique job hunting approaches is industry specific? Absolutely. For now, at least.

In fact, my dad asked me the other day if he thought he should get a twitter account to go with his website. My first thought — why in the world does an attorney need a twitter account?? He doesn’t have enough time in the day to tweet every two to three hours, and I don’t even want to imagine the legal liabilities that could come out of absent-mindedly dropping legal advice all over a twitter account.

So, in the spirit of selective marketing and promotional tactics if an IT applicant comes to me with questions for submitting a resume to a company of 500 or more — it’s very unlikely that I’ll suggest she send an infographic.

I might, however, suggest that while in an interview or simply on a coffee date with someone influential she slides out her iPad and casually points her audience’s attention to her industry blog or perhaps a monthly newsletter when asked how she keeps up with industry changes— or whether she has a strong enough voice to be an advocate for the company.

The Bottom Line is…

I love that content marketing encourages professionals in all sectors to use different strategies, platforms and buzz techniques to tell their stories in order to win the hearts and minds of their target audiences.

As it does traditional marketers, content marketing teaches recent graduates that to reach their target audience they’ve got to be willing to go the extra mile to make their story interesting to the employer, and not just strategic for themselves.


I drink wine, blog,career hunt and search for my purpose in life relentlessly. There are days where I'm so put together, and others where I'm completely unhinged. I'm into my stories and opinions and share them all over! Follow me @LunchWithLondon to find out where I'm blogging next, and tweet me to chat!