That time people are surprised by your journey.
Look, I get it. You’ve had a bunch of different roles. You’ve been client side, agency side; you built three different failing startups; you’ve done this and that. But, the reality is you’ve got experience.
I once had a friend tell me about how he spent time working at a start-up in Colorado. He was technically titled the “Operations and Marketing Manager,” but that was really the cue for “I do absolutely everything you could ever think of.” When the business closed after almost two years and he went to look for jobs, he had a hard time. Why? Because companies felt he wasn’t “focused enough.”
I laughingly joked tonight that my interests are “having too many interests.”
Here’s the deal. I’m 31. I’ve got a BSBA in marketing and an MBA. I’ve owned three businesses since I graduated college, one of which I still successfully operate on the side. I’ve worked for multiple start ups, a top international advertising agency, a Fortune 500, and the top barre fitness concept in the U.S. I like teaching yoga, designing stationery, learning about wine, traveling the country, helping businesses strategize to get out of the constant struggle they’ve been in, and mentoring people so they feel motivated, supported, and inspired. If I’m not busy, I’m bored and uninspired.
I like it all.
Being a good employee doesn’t mean I only know about marketing. Can you imagine if someone were to only be concerned about making sure we made a cool TV commercial?
That’s not how you run a business.
In my world (marketing), having a successful “job” means having a clear objective on which you activate. You want to drive product sales? Great, let’s talk about how to best position yourself for a successful sell-in so you can have a successful sell-through. You want to drive traffic? Let’s talk about what drives our clients to come in. You want to increase comments on a Facebook post? Let’s talk about how you creatively write and develop content to garner strong engagement. But ultimately, I also needs cross-functional understanding of the business.
So, where am I going with this? That person who had to wear every single hat at their startup to drive traffic, increase product sales, and increase brand awareness on top of organizing the employee schedule, paying the bills, and outlining the budget? Yeah, they actually can be an incredible asset to your team. Sure, they can’t be your Director of Finance (yet), but they’d sure as hell likely be a great asset to a strategy, research, or marketing team.
Before you pass them up, at least give them the due diligence to have a conversation. Their “many interests” or “many responsibilities” means they probably understand the spirit of partnership, the whole of a business, AND how to successfully market with a clear objective in mind. Blowing by their resume because it feels “unfocused” means you could be passing on someone who would be a great asset.