More Words from the WISE

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MKTG INC is a proud member of WISE (Women in Sports and Events), the leading voice and resource for professional women in the business of sports and events.

Through ongoing meetings, special events and mentoring programs, WISE offers its members the opportunity to gain valuable insights and connections that can provide them a competitive advantage in their current position and as they advance in their careers.

WISE offered our own VP of Human Resources, Marlena Edwards, a chance to contribute to the organization’s monthly HR Spotlight, where she shared her experience and tips for working in this exciting industry. Enjoy!

MarlenaEdwards_headshot_200x225wMarlena Edwards is vice president of human resources at MKTG INC, a global marketing services agency based in New York with additional offices in Chicago, Cincinnati, San Francisco, LA and London. During her seven years at MKTG, Edwards has held various HR-related roles including HR manager and director, all of which stem from her background as an HR generalist. Today, her department (which includes payroll) comprises five full-time and one temporary employees.

This month, Edwards provides applicants with tips on how to catch a hiring manager’s eye, and dishes on the best way to follow up with a recruiter.

What makes a candidate stand out from the applicant pool at MKTG INC?

First and foremost, being thorough is key. Regardless of the position or level an applicant is seeking, he or she should complete the entire application, and submit a resume AND cover letter. There is nothing more disappointing than receiving a viable candidate’s resume and finding there are formatting issues or typos, or no cover letter. I think that cover letters are a great way to catch someone’s eye. You can really get a sense of a candidate’s voice and writing style in a way that a resume alone doesn’t communicate.

How should candidates follow up (or not)?

I personally am not a big fan of the follow up phone call or email. It’s important for candidates to know that with limited resources, it is almost impossible to respond to every phone call and email, especially when the candidate only wants confirmation that their resume was received. Our careers page sends an automatic confirmation email when a candidate’s resume or application is uploaded successfully. Believe me, when we receive a rock star resume, you will hear from us! The rule I follow is, only follow up after you have been contacted about a position. Simply submitting your resume does not warrant follow up.

How long does the process (from application to hiring) take, on average?

To be honest, it completely depends on the talent of the candidate pool. Generally, when we post a job, we want to pull the trigger as soon as we find the right person. On average, I’d say the process takes three to four weeks. Depending on the level of the job, there could be multiple rounds of interviews required before we can make a final decision.

What are some of the best and worst follow-up tactics you’ve seen?

One of the worst follow-up tactics is to email everyone at the executive level listed on the website. You would not believe how often this happens! To all of the job seekers out there, the only appropriate people to contact are the hiring manager, the recruiter, or – and ONLY if you don’t have any pertinent contact information – the HR lead. When you email everyone, it gives the impression that you’re either not willing to do the work to find the appropriate contact, or you lack good decision-making skills. Either way, it’s a bad place to start.

If a candidate does choose to follow up, I’d suggest to that candidate to be concise and sell yourself in no more than five sentences, highlighting your relevant experience and illustrate why it makes you a viable candidate. The number one thing a recruiter is looking for is relevant experience, so if you have that, you already have one foot in the door.

What advice can you offer WISE members who might be interested in applying for positions at your company (or elsewhere in the business)?

Network, network, network! Join groups like WISE to start making connections with other people who share your interests. Mine through sites like LinkedIn to see if you have connections to companies or positions you’re pursuing. If you are a recent college graduate, spend time developing your writing and communication skills, and learn about the industry you’re pursuing. Don’t be afraid to start with an entry-level role, because if the company you get in the door with is a good one, talent will be recognized and rewarded.

Marlena Edwards began her career in 2006 as an HR specialist at US Concepts, MKTG INC’s predecessor. She attended the State University of New York at Albany, received a paralegal certification from Long Island University, and completed her first year of law school before deciding to pursue a career in human resources, where she could interact more directly with people while still working in a law-related field. Edwards is a proud Brooklyn resident who is passionate about the arts and is an active philanthropist.

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