10 Job Application Tips From a First-Time Hiring Manager
By Jacob Eidinger
July 07, 2021 | 5 minutes
Marketing Management and Leadership Management of Individual Personnel Content Type Article Additional Options Content Level: Essential
Having recently had the privilege of interviewing and hiring an entry-level marketer to join my department, I found the process both gratifying and time-consuming. Perhaps most perplexing, however, I found many applicants to be woefully underprepared to apply and interview for the role. With each qualified applicant that came across my desk, there were other candidates whose applications were riddled with errors and/or hiring red flags.
Law firms are constantly competing for top marketing and business development (BD) talent. Hiring managers, particularly those at elite firms, are looking for tech-savvy individuals who have superior verbal and written communication skills, can use social media and marketing technology responsibly, have impeccable attention to detail, and work well in a collegial and professional environment. When you apply for a legal marketing or BD role, these skills are placed under a microscope to determine whether you are a good fit.
To help demystify the application and interviewing process, below are 10 tips for job-seekers, at all levels, who are eager to land an interview and get hired.
1. Audit Your Social Media Before Hitting Send
Most hiring managers will review your social media — or at least Google you — to scan for offensive or unprofessional content before reaching out with an interview request. There is no easier way to ensure your credentials go into the Outlook trash bin than by having your social media filled with expletive-laden tirades or photos of you at unruly parties. Remove any questionable content that might make a hiring manager think twice about meeting with you.
Although social media profiles can be made private, keep in mind that most hiring managers want applicants who know how to use social media responsibly versus those with no online presence whatsoever.
2. Proofread Multiple Times
Careless mistakes on a cover letter and resume will likely warrant a hiring manager to consider other applicants who may have demonstrated better attention to detail. Everything from your resume, cover letter, as well as any subsequent emails being sent, require proofreading. A good tip: reading your writing out loud helps to ensure it sounds clear and is grammatically correct.
3. Keep Your Resume and Cover Letter Brief
Unless you are applying for a senior-level role, resumes should be no longer than one page. Using bullet points in a resume also helps to improve readability. Give the hiring manager a snapshot of relevant experience and skills, while also being specific about accomplishments.
A cover letter is an opportunity to share insights about your background that a hiring manager might not otherwise learn from a resume only. A great way to make your cover letter stand out is to describe, in clear and specific terms, why you want to join the firm and how your unique experience makes you a good match. I received multiple cover letters that were only one paragraph (or, in some cases, one sentence) in length. I found these applicants missed a critical opportunity to impress me with their writing and to sell me on their professional talents.
4. Quantify Your Successes
The savviest legal marketers are data-driven professionals. By using metrics to describe accomplishments, a candidate can demonstrate to a hiring manager that they know how to leverage data to achieve the hiring manager’s objectives. For example, by what percentage did your team’s RFP win rate increase, and what did you do to improve it? How many impressions did you earn from a memorable social media campaign? What was your average click-through-rate on an email newsletter?
5. Do Your Research
Spend adequate time researching the firm and tailoring your resume and cover letter accordingly before applying. Doing only the bare minimum with regard to preparation is not enough to land a marketing and BD role at a competitive law firm. Putting in extra effort demonstrates to a hiring manager that you are a meticulous problem-solver and a team player.
Should you receive an interview request, I implore you to take the necessary time to further research the firm and the person(s) you will be meeting with before the appointment. This will allow you to ask the right questions and to articulate why the role being offered aligns with your career goals.
Law firms are constantly competing for top marketing and business development (BD) talent.
6. Be on Time
Being late to an interview is the most effective way to communicate to a hiring manager that you have poor time management skills. With many firms still conducting interviews remotely, there is no reason to be late. It can also be wise to join the meeting early to ensure there are no technical issues. If you do have an in-person interview scheduled, give yourself ample time to arrive on schedule. If you end up rushing, you will likely start the interview off on the wrong foot and appear frantic.
Also, if a hiring manager requests that you complete and submit a work or writing sample as part of your candidate packet, be sure to do so in a timely manner.
7. Dress Appropriately
The clothing you wear for an interview sends subconscious signals to the hiring manager about you as a professional. Wear attire that matches the firm’s work environment, even if your interview is done remotely. If the role is an in-house position at a law firm, wear business professional attire and demonstrate good hygiene.
8. Ask Questions
Legal marketers are expected to be inquisitive and forward-thinking about their firm’s marketing strategies. Not having questions about the position or the firm, when prompted, will make an applicant seem unenthusiastic about the opportunity. Have questions ready that reflect your understanding of the nature of the role. For example, you might ask questions about the department’s performance metrics, the firm’s use of marketing technology or a notable marketing campaign you discovered while researching the firm.
9. Send a Thank You Note
Send a well-written thank you email or note to each interviewer in a timely manner. Use this as an opportunity to reinforce your desire to join the firm and why you are a good fit for the role. Many hiring managers have been known to not consider applicants who neglected to follow up with a thank you note.
10. Be Genuine
Do not be afraid to show your authentic self during an interview. Be candid about your strengths, weaknesses (if asked) and do not exaggerate your accomplishments. Most hiring managers prefer applicants to communicate in a clear and concise manner. Do not try to impress a hiring manager with ultra-sophisticated language or technical jargon, as it may come across as awkward or confusing. Being your true self can only help with landing a job that is a perfect fit for you and your new firm.