The Job Search: Where Marketing Skills Pay Off: When He Recently Found Himself out of Work, Veteran Bank Marketer Scott V. Williams Used His Promotional Savvy to Land Another Position at a Time When Few Financial Institutions Were Hiring
Williams, Scott V., ABA Bank Marketing
Before starting your current job several months ago, you went through a period where you were out of work. Can you explain that situation?
I was working for a bank in Florida. The bank was negatively affected by the downturn in the economy and the real estate market, and went through several rounds of layoffs that eventually affected my job.
How easy was it to find another bank marketing job in the current economy?
The job market today for bank marketers is very competitive. A lot of banks around the country have downsized, and there is an excess of experienced personnel looking for work.
If you have an area of marketing specialization--such as with an MCIF, online banking or social media--there seem to be more advertised positions. Jobs for bank marketing managers are less common, although they definitely exist. What I have seen is that banks are more likely to fill a position with a local candidate because there are so many qualified people close to home. There is less of a need for candidates who will require relocation expense.
Based upon your experience, what advice would you give to other bank marketers looking for a job?
The first thing you need to do is to decide whether you are going to look for bank marketing job or whether you are going to consider a marketing job in another industry. Next, you have to decide where you are going to look--what geographic area.
What decision did you make with respect to these issues?
I decided that I would search for a bank marketing job, but, if that didn't pan out, I was open to a marketing job in another industry. Geographically, I was willing to relocate anywhere in the country, but my preference was for North Carolina, upstate South Carolina or Texas. I targeted these states because these are areas that I had worked in previously and thus I had personal contacts that I could use to help me uncover job possibilities and make connections at companies that I was interested in working for.
Any other suggestions for job hunters?
First off, don't give up! It took me a year--almost to the day--from the time I left my previous bank and started with First Bank.
Second, don't limit yourself. Marketing skills can translate to other industries, so you may need to look in other related industries in addition to banking.
Third, get connected. If you lose your job, don't be embarrassed to reach out to your network of friends and industry contacts. Most of them are glad to help but may not know exactly how. Let them know the type of job you are looking for or which companies you are targeting so they can help improve your search success.
Fourth, stay connected. Make a point to check in with your key contacts to update them on your search progress or changes in your focus. You never know what may have crossed their path since the last conversation. Reaching out to them also serves as a reminder that you are still searching.
Did you have to stay in touch with people in person?
It didn't seem to matter how I stayed in touch--in person or by telephone or by e-mail or social media channels like LinkedIn and Facebook--as long as I stayed in touch.
I understand that you spent a great deal of time trying to get acquainted with prospective companies by talking to people who worked for the organizations--even if they weren't hiring.
Yes, you learn a lot by doing that. I talked to people in other banks, but I also stayed in touch with service providers--software providers, ad agencies, public relations firms and industry consultants.
I found out about job opportunities that weren't being advertised. I never would have heard about them if it hadn't been for my connections.
And eventually your contacts led you to a job?
Yes. Karen Slover, my contact at Harland Financial Solutions, had a client who was trying to fill a marketing leadership position. …