Whether you were embarking on a job search before the pandemic or the events of this year have forced you to seek new employment opportunities, you've probably realized that the process of finding and securing a new position has changed drastically over the last few months. That change is especially visible within licensing where video interviews and remote networking events have become part of the new normal. In response, Licensing International has organized "Career Searching In the Age of COVIDization," part of the organization's Young Professional Network series. The event is set to take place on September 23. The event will be led by Ron Milman, president of Milman Search Group, a respected agency with experience matching executive talent with top tier companies.
To understand the shift, we spoke with Milman over the phone from Southern California. In our interview, he shares advice on how job seekers can perfect strategies and broaden their appeal to find work that excites them, even during uncertain times.
How have you navigated life during the COVID-19 pandemic?
As a part of my role as a recruiter, I sometimes take on exclusive engagements with a company on contract to help them fill their positions. For roughly the last year, I worked with a major talent agency, helping them run their recruitment department. Around the middle of March, they let me go as part of COVID reductions. At times like these, you use the skills you've learned to allow you to pivot easily. So I'm helping people use their skills to swivel while I also do the same in my career.
What is your experience helping job seekers find new opportunities in licensing?
Like most people, I wasn’t sure what licensing was, but as a result of my work in the consumer product space, I've learned about it and have ended up working with licensing people for the majority of my career. I'm well versed in the personality, experience and makeup of what makes an excellent licensing person. Everyone indeed seems to fall into licensing, as few people seem to set out with that goal in mind, but I've placed enough people to know what skills are transferable.
How would you describe today's job market?
Change is the word of the day. The job market you may have explored a few months ago looks very different if you're trying to jump back in today.
What should people know about the remote interview process?
In-person interviews are not happening. People have to know(space)how to interview using digital platforms. Because it's so new and they're at home, some people don't think about their dress, hair, things in the background, the dog barking, etc. It's no different from an in-person interview in that the person on the line is watching you and learning from your non-verbal cues.
Is it enough to submit your resume to a website or job forum and hope for the best?
Your resume may never be directly reviewed directly by a recruiter at a company. Today most resumes go through an applicant tracking system, so you have to make sure you have the right keywords to find success and get yourself noticed. If your strategy is to send in your resume and sit back and wait to get a phone call, you will likely not be successful. Every time you submit your resume, remember that you're doing that alongside thousands of other people. Part of my expertise is helping people learn how to get around that algorithm and meet the people who are the decision-makers.
What tools can help job seekers overcome the algorithms?
Linkedin is the most valuable tool out there by far for networking. A lot of people ask me if they should only connect with people they know. I say absolutely not. Your network is about who you know and who they know and who they know and who they know. I have over six thousand connections, which connects me to something like eight million second or third connections. Having as many contacts as possible, joining as many groups as you can that show your interests, getting people to recommend you, recommending them, and writing articles are all great ways to increase your network visibility.
How do you make your LinkedIn page attractive to hiring managers?
You have to make yourself stand out. Avoid cheesy lines that say things like "The best you'll ever have” or “Call me now”. You also want to avoid it saying things like “seeking new opportunities.” To recruiters, that screams unemployed and makes us question how long you have been out of work and why no company has hired you. Its okay to embellish a little bit, but never misrepresent yourself Get creative and show the best version of you. If you don't quite have the chops for a particular job, learn to “fake it till you make it” and show the confidence they are looking for.
What should recent graduates or entry-level job seekers know about the hiring process?
I used to lead the admissions department at a college, and the skills I gained there working with young people have transferred wonderfully into what I do now. I also have two young adult daughters and twelve nieces and nephews, so their experiences also help me to be in touch with today’s youth. The most important thing is patience. Sometimes you may need to take a job that isn't your dream job. That it OK! Many people come out of school with great degrees and they think they think they're going to land this fantastic position that will make the millions of dollars, make them happy, or have a lot of free time. Different people have different motivations. You may have to take a grunt job and work your way up for a while. But hang in there for what you want. Don't be too willing to give up on your dreams. If you don't think a position is right for you, don’t take it. If you want to be a licensing executive, go for that and make it your goal. But realize that there may be a job or two in between that leads you to that opportunity.
What do you want job seekers to take away from your presentation?
1. Stay positive: The job market is really challenging right now for everyone. There are millions of people in the US out of work right now.
2. Expand your horizons: Just because you're great at selling widgets, doesn't mean you can't tweak yourself and sell wadgets. Be open to change and embrace it.
3. Consider staying put until this pandemic is over. Many recruiters are eager to help people find new jobs because it benefits them. But I say if you're in a stable position right now, you may want stay there until things settle down. If you do decide to move, makes sure it is a good fit and has opportunity for growth, and that it is truly better than what you have now.
Is there anything else you want job seekers to know?
Everyone's alarm goes off in the morning and tells them to get to work. It's so much better to live your life loving what you do and having a passion for it. I've been blessed for the last 15 years to do what I love every day and you can get there too. Be patient, hang on, and don't let go of your dreams.
To learn more about Global Virtual YPN and to register visit licensinginternational.org/events/global-virtual-ypn-career-searching-in-the-age-of-covidization/