HIRED LEARNING: Andy O’Hearn — New Skills Lead to Landing

By Audrey N. LewisAndy O'Hearn

Andy O’Hearn started his new position on March 8, 2013 as a temp to permanent contractor for Aquent (http://www.aquent.com/contact-us/new-york-city) with McKinsey and Company (http://www.mckinsey.com/about_us) at their New York City location. His title is Digital Marketing Editor for the Marketing & Sales Practice (http://www.mckinsey.com/client_service/marketing_and_sales), primarily in support of their Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Forum (http://cmsoforum.mckinsey.com/).

As Andy said, “The perfect job does not exist. While you certainly want to conduct due diligence, there is no shame in taking a minor step back to learn an area that is in much higher demand than what you used to do.”

Unemployed since November 22, 2012, Andy had been looking since the end of August. He challenged himself to be open to areas of interest that he hadn’t previously considered. Pushing himself out of his comfort zone, he quickly acquired skills in some of the newest areas of communication.

New skills including keywords referencing, digital marketing and social media helped build his new role and title of Digital Marketing Editor. Following key influencers in his new area of expertise helped Andy stay inspired and keep learning.

Andy’s research in digital media underlined the importance of building a 100% complete LinkedIn profile. He credits the inclusion in his profile of trending keywords — digital marketing, social media and content creation — as the reason he was found by a New York City talent scout. He said, “I also took the time to write a very detailed cover letter articulating my fit for the position.”

The hiring process: After being contacted by the talent scout, Andy had a series of phone screens and interviews with a variety of people: the Aquent account manager; my client-side manager; his West Coast colleague; his colleague in Spain; and an in-person meeting with client-side manager. “Last was a phone interview with David Edelman himself, one of the most recognized authorities in the field of digital marketing (http://www.mckinsey.com/client_service/marketing_and_sales/profiles/david_edelman). David has 57,746 followers on LinkedIn! 6,931 followers on Twitter! I squeezed that last call in between two halves of my LinkedIn training module for PSGCNJ on Tuesday, March 5 . . . and was signed up and working by that Friday,” said Andy.

Service to PSGCNJ: PSGCNJ was fortunate to have Andy serve on the Training Committee, preparing course materials and training new members. He also contributed articles to the PSGCNJ Blog and used every opportunity he could to help others in transition including providing guidance and support to new members. “I used every opportunity I could to help others in the same situation, with whatever strengths that I could offer. This helped to keep me focused and learning, and made it easier for others who did not yet know me to help in return,” said Andy. “As I noted, the accountabilities of weekly meetings, including the responsibility for preparing course materials and training new members, helped keep my skills fresh and my confidence levels stable, while also lending a sense of perspective and humor throughout. The experience helped to mitigate the inevitable pity-parties and procrastination traps, since others were relying on me for guidance and support. PSGCNJ offered ample opportunities to demonstrate and even celebrate leadership . . . and potential employers pick up on that.”

PSGCNJ and transition: “PSGCNJ was and is a supportive community that lives up to its name: more than 1,000 Professionals, who dedicate themselves to Service toward those who are in transition, and who leverage Group dynamics and shared perspectives/experiences to keep valuable career contributors from falling through the cracks (emotional safety net) at a time when they may be feeling the most stressed and vulnerable. FUD Fighters (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), if you will!”

PSGCNJ assists on-the-job: “I learned the importance of properly “socializing” or even “crowdsourcing” ideas, so that they stand a better chance of getting buy-in prior to implementation. That skill is extremely crucial when working in a matrixed organization, with multiple cross-functional initiatives active at any given time.”

Andy’s job-search advice: “Challenge your assumptions and be open to areas that you hadn’t previously considered. Rediscover the same work ethic you had when you were first establishing your career. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and test out your ability to acquire and apply new skills. And most of all listen intently and take nothing for granted — plunge into the heart of your fears and in so doing, render them powerless to stop you.”

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