Among the many challenges we’ve all faced over the past year or so, professional endeavors like looking for a new job or landing a client were especially difficult. Now that the dust has settled a bit, companies and clients are once again seeking the right people to help them navigate the next phase of the pandemic and beyond. It’s as competitive as ever out there, so we consulted with hiring and business development pros to learn what it takes to score your dream role or client today.
“So many people I have spoken to over the past (almost) year have taken time to really reflect on their careers and what the right path is for them,” says Laura O’Hare, founder of recruiting firm The O’Hare Group. She reminds us that making this change can be a challenge, and while it might feel impossible, it’s not.
The process may feel overwhelming, but consider this your guide to getting started. First things first: “It’s always important, no matter what job you are applying for, to read the job description thoroughly,” says O’Hare. “As a recruiter, if you don’t meet the qualifications of the role, don’t apply.”
Being a great candidate on paper will get you in the door, but your approach and communication are also important (perhaps even more so in this unique climate). “I believe it’s important to remain authentic to your personality and to even express vulnerability in meetings or conversations – at the start or at the end of a meeting – to humanize the collective experience we’re all going through,” says Martin Solorzano, founder of Staffed Inc.
He continues, “Everyone is operating from a different spectrum of emotions so it’s more relatable than to try and pretend like absolutely everything is okay and like the only thing you want to discuss is strictly business. By letting your guard down, you give the client or employer an opportunity to do the same in possibly sharing something that they otherwise may not have. Thus allowing a more personal human connection to happen which in turn can result in mutual work opportunities.”
The same authentic approach goes for getting the attention of your dream client. Mica Keeney, Campaign Director, US at Mission shares that, “Throughout the year, we’ve shared our understanding of potential new clients within the current global cultural context, and always ensured our passion shines through. This is an unusual time for everyone, so fresh, agile thinking and proactive ideas have been welcomed and in many cases, converted into briefs.”
It’s true that times are still tough, but that doesn’t mean doors aren’t open. “The world has changed beyond recognition over the past year, but in the midst of chaos there is room for opportunity,” continues Keeney. “In this new era, brands across all industries are re-imagining their purpose and finding their footing. Even the most established companies are looking to evolve—from developing more meaningful values and braver creative to making business efficiencies—so now is the time to introduce yourself to those dream clients and show how you’re adapting, too.”
Peloton UK Launch, Mission
Speaking of adapting, those on the job hunt should consider how their work experience and expertise specifically translates to the role they’re applying for. “Transferable skills are more important if you are trying to land your dream job and you are switching careers,” says O’Hare. “Look carefully at what the job requirements are. Highlight the skills you have that can transition seamlessly and won’t require training.”
For those seeking a change, but are not yet sure what the right move is, take time to reflect and do your research. Reading up on companies, brands or professionals you admire is a good place to start. Beyond that, tap your network for their real-life experiences. “If your dream job is something different than what you have been doing, talk to people who are doing it,” says O’Hare. “Find out what success looks like. Ask them how they got started. Gather as much information from the network you have. Expand your network. Read about people doing the work you want to be doing.”
If there’s a particular company you’re gunning to work at, don’t get stuck on one specific role if you’re not yet qualified or the position isn’t open. Instead, consider all your options and be open to the opportunities that are available right now. “While your dream role may not be available now, maybe there’s a temporary role, or a consultant role you can be in until a full-time role opens up (especially with COVID uncertainties, this is becoming more popular of an option),” says Anna Armstrong, Human Resources & Operations Generalist at Magrino.
And that might mean starting at the bottom. “If your dream job is something you haven’t been doing, you have to start somewhere and that could be at the beginning again,” says O’Hare. “And that has to be okay. If it isn’t, maybe it’s not the right time to make the switch.”
Whatever your path, take these two reminders with you, pertinent for both job applicants and those going after clients. Number one: express your gratitude. “I always send a note within 24 hours, whether it’s an email or sometimes even a handwritten note (bonus points for these), to thank the other person for their time and for the opportunity to consider me as a potential hire,” says Solorzano.
Number two: if all else fails, stay in touch. If the opportunity you’re looking for is not currently available, reach back out every few months. Armstrong shares an insider tidbit: “Candidates that communicate well and stay positive and determined are top of the list when a role becomes available!”
Do your research, have the conversations and ultimately pursue your passion, because as we learned in 2020, you never know what might happen tomorrow.
We’re at a true inflection point for cannabis, with laws and perceptions changing fast. We dug into many aspects of the industry on our panel – and the implications and opportunities the current climate brings for marketers and communicators. Thanks to our expert panelists, Lisa Gabor, founding partner of BPCM Cannabis, Sonia Hendrix, founder of GALLERY PR and Jason White, CMO of Curaleaf for sharing their insider intel.