Q&A with Carly Laniado: Job Searching During COVID-19

Hi, I’m Carly! I run global recruiting at Movable Ink, one of the fastest-growing Mar-Tech SaaS platforms in the US. Movable Ink disrupted the traditional email marketing model by inventing open-time personalization. As Director of Recruiting, I oversee an amazing team of recruiters and manage my own load of roles that tend to fall under senior sellers, executives, senior managers and bespoke roles that haven’t really existed before. We’ve rolled out comprehensive interview training and onboarding best practices, allowing us to grow from just under 100 employees to over 300! 

I actually started my career in B2C sales at TheLadders.com, selling professional job search services to job-seekers who’ve been working since before I was born. Needless to say, I’m passionate about helping people find the right role! Today I want to share with you the answers to job search questions you might have if you’re looking for a new role in this ever-evolving environment. 

Q: I find myself on the job market because of a layoff. How can I best start a job search I wasn’t planning on? 

First of all, I’m so sorry! Be sure to take your time to process, take stock of your resources, and make sure you’re fully ready to jump back into a job search. 

Step one is to update your LinkedIn profile and resume. For LinkedIn, don’t forget to toggle “Open to New Opportunities” and specify what kinds of jobs and locations you’re open to. Trade secret: if you are on a recruiter’s list on LinkedIn, they will get a notification that you’ve marked yourself as “Open to New Opportunities.”

I think it’s also important to use this time to really investigate what you liked and didn’t like about your previous role. What did you learn? What do you wish you could have had exposure to? Did you like the industry? The buyer? The product? Use this to guide your search and narrow down a few companies you’re really excited about.

Resources like BuiltInNYC (or Chicago or Colorado or LA…) and Glassdoor can be very useful because they suggest similar organizations that you may not have otherwise come across searching on traditional job boards. Make sure to do your research (more on that later…).

There are also several COVID-19 specific resources floating around for you to leverage. For example, candor.co has a crowdsourced list of companies hiring. Several recruiters have circulated lists of sales folks on the market who’ve been impacted by layoffs or furloughs.

Last but certainly not least, leverage your network! Ask if your HR team has a submission form to send your information to other recruiters. Don’t be afraid to post publicly on LinkedIn that you’re on the market and what you’re looking for. Reach out to your clients and partners. If you do blind reach out to folks in your network, however, make sure to do your research. Tell them why you’re interested in a particular company and/or role, and what you bring to the table. 

Q: It seems like everyone is looking for a new job right now! How can I stand out and make sure my applications are actually being reviewed? 

I’ve hired several folks via warm intro. I suggest if there’s a role posted at a company you’re interested in, reach out to someone who appears to be the hiring leader on LinkedIn. Again, I cannot stress enough: do your research! Indicate how your experience specifically matches (or if it doesn’t, what transferable skills you have) the open position. Another trade secret: there is a 99% chance that the hiring leader will blind forward your resume to recruiting. However, I’ve hired several people who are now my wonderful colleagues that way!

I got a lot of questions about cover letters, pre-COVID. I’m indifferent. But, if you’re going to send a cover letter, make sure to do it right. That means double-checking that you’ve personalized your letter for the right person and company (if I had a dime for every time I got a cover letter for the wrong company…) and you are specifically addressing the requirements of the role. If you’re changing industries, positions, or even taking a step up (or back, given the environment), be clear about why and what you bring to the table and how you can add value. Now more than ever, across all departments, but especially go-to-market functions, being explicit about how you add value is of utmost importance. 

Q: I hear that recruiters only spend a few seconds looking at a resume. What can I do to mine to get noticed in a short amount of time?

Numbers, numbers, numbers! What were your goals? How did you perform to them? Where did you rank amongst the team? What was your average deal size (and what was it compared to your team)? How long was the sales cycle?

Who was your buyer? What methodologies did you follow? What industries did you sell to? What was your territory? Data dump all of your accomplishments, make sure you’re specific with numbers and concrete figures, and pare back once everything is on the page. 

Something that tends to get overlooked, but is incredibly important, is attention to detail. Make sure your font sizes, punctuation, and verb tenses are consistent. Make sure there aren’t any typos. Make sure your phone number is correct (again, if I had a dime…). This is another opportunity to leverage your network – ask someone who isn’t in sales to look at your resume. If someone who isn’t in your industry understands what you’re trying to get across, then that’s a win. 

Q: With everyone staying home, all of my interviews are virtual. Any best practices I should keep in mind for phone and video interviews? 

Now’s the time to understand that things are weird. There is a very real chance that the person on the other side of the interview is having the same roommate/partner/pet/kid issue you are. It’s ok to be honest and say “my dog is barking, I’m so sorry.” 

Focus on what you can control:

  • Test the video link ahead of the meeting
  • Test your internet and audio
  • Join ON TIME
  • Camera on!
  • Review the job description one more time
  • Do your research on the company
  • Look up your interviewers
  • Have a pen and paper to take notes handy

Finally, understand that even in these weird times, it’s still as much an interview for you as it is for them. Your interviewer needs to decide if you’re a good fit; you need to decide if you want to work at this organization and do this job. Ask whatever job search questions you feel you need answered to make that decision.

Good luck, you’re going to do great! Oh, and send a thank-you note.