We're Looking for a Sales Rep, not a Carpenter!

HRmarketer and SocialEars HR are growing, and as a result, we're hiring. That's good. It means a lot of HR software and services company leaders, like you, recognize the importance of content marketing. 

We posted a job for an Inside Sales Representative recently and asked interested candidates to submit their resume and a paragraph or two on why they felt they were the best candidate for the position.

We got a lot of resumes, but few bothered to submit the cover letter like we asked for in the job posting. And many of those resumes had nothing relevant to sales experience. Other candidates did submit a cover letter, but they obviously used a cut-and-paste template and forgot to edit it for our job post.

Here is an example (we are not making this up) of one such cover letter:

"In regards to your advertisement, I am enclosing my resume. I have many years of experience in retail and management (Comics and Collectibles), as well as maintenance and carpentry. I hope you will consider me for this position."
That's cool. And based on your resume, you actually have some great experience and I am sure you will be a tremendous asset to some company somewhere. The problem is that I don't have a job opening — let alone a product or even a business — that remotely relates to your skill sets. Carpentry?

Being a marketing guy, I naturally found a way to relate this experience to, well, marketing. There are a lot of similarities between marketing a product and marketing yourself. And in both cases, content plays a big role. This candidate's cover letter reminded me of some basic rules in content marketing.

(1) Don't spam. Look, I have no idea whether or not this candidate read the job posting. But it sure looks like some form of automation (see rule #3). This is no different than sending a “Dear [insert name]” email to 100 journalists on your media distribution list with the same intro and press release. That's not marketing and it's not media relations or PR. It's lazy. Don't do it.  

(2) Target. I have nothing against carpenters. Some of my closest friends are carpenters. I was once a carpenter's assistant. But my interests today, which were clearly described in the job post, have nothing to do with carpentry, comics or collectibles. I need sales people. This is no different than sending you press release on HR technology/big data to a journalist whose beat is labor law or wellness. Not marketing. Not PR. Lazy. Don't do it.

(3) Be careful with automation. See rule #1. Many candidates use automated resume submission tools. It sure looks like this candidate did. I have nothing against automation software. We've used it ourselves with Marketo, Hubspot and social software tools. But be very careful, especially when you automate your communications to real, live people. If you screw up you can really hurt your brand. 

(4) Produce great content. This should be obvious. No matter what you are trying to sell — yourself, your company, your product — you want to look good. And the best way to get visibility and stand out as a thought leader is by producing (or sharing) great content.

A few candidates followed the above rules and had great content. We'll be interviewing them shortly. 

Post written by HRmarketer / SocialEars HR Founder and CEO Mark Willaman.

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