Why Companies Need to Change Their Hiring Lens.


I had lunch the other day with an advertising agency owner.  I showed him some resumes of potential candidates for a position he had been trying to fill for a long time.

He scanned one with his finger and said that the person had only worked at some companies for a year.  He looked at me and said, “They move around a lot.” Continue reading

Job Hunting In the New Normal.


Many of the people who grew up in the Old Normal often ask me “Is there any professionalism left in the Job Hunting Process Today?”

I am a funny guy to ask because I stopped looking for a job 10 years ago when I started Blank and Associates.  I saw the writing on the wall.

The short answer I give them is no or very little.  It is a bitter pill. When you are looking for a job you want the reassurance of  decorum so you can feel better that there is still some structure in the process.  Unfortunately there isn’t. Continue reading

Are Millennials the Lost Generation?


I received an infographic from a Millennial the other day.  The headline asked if Millennials are the lost generation.  It outlined that Millennials are the generation with the highest joblessness and debt out of school.

I reflected about the headline for a bit.  I wondered if she was making an analogy to the Lost Generation that was coined by Gertrude Stein and made popular by Ernest Hemingway.  The generation after World War 1 that had emerged from another senseless war where horses attacked tanks.  I doubt it.  Many Millennials have razor thin knowledge of history I have found although 4 out of 10 have tattoos.

I ask them about Marshall McLuhan and their faces are blank.  Marshall predicted the global village that they live in.  Ask my millennial friend Samed Yadegari who works for Ogilvy in Dubai. I met him when I spoke at UCI. He didn’t work in Dubai then.  He had received a degree in computer science in three years.   My college roommate’s sons live in Shanghai.

I ask Millennials about Ricky Nelson when we are sitting at a coffee shop in Laguna Beach where he used to hang with his parents. They say I have never heard of him.  Ricky Nelson offered the career advice that many Millennials live by.  He sang “You can’t please everybody so you’ve got to please yourself.” Indeed.  When your interior drum is banging youth can accomplish great things.

It plays into the fact Millennials are highly entrepreneurial. Just ask my millennial friend Juan Sebastian Vasquez in LA.  He works with URBAN Teens eXploring Technology.  They teach coding to inspire young men of color in the 7th to 11th grade to become tech leaders.  Ever looked for a Java developer these days?

The infographic also documented that Millennials are more educated than any other generation as 54% have finished college.  But there is all kinds of education.

I often recruit Millennials for positions in the marketing world and other fields. I see a lot of disparity. Some of my young friends are clearly destined to be lost.

I got a resume along with a cover letter mentioning their English degree and a passion for advertising.  Maybe that passion should have translated into one advertising course a year over four years which would have made my friend more marketable.

I got another resume from a person who worked as a server. I have walked in those shoes. What he lacked in experience he would make up with hard work.  You don’t want to discriminate yourself on hard work these days.  That will make you part of the proletariat and you don’t want to be offering that in the New Normal.

I often meet other Millennials who have graduated with four year degrees in advertising or marketing or PR or whatever.  They are active on social media.  They have hundreds of LinkedIn connections. Some don’t want to work.  They want to get funding for an app they are developing.

It’s not only about the luck of the draw and what generation you are part off.  It is what you do within your generation and that begins with you. Everyone including me started there.

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:


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Job Hunting In Today’s Ad World.


I have been doing a lot of recruiting and talent sourcing these days.  Another way to leverage my network. Still hunting and connecting which I love to do but in another way.

The ad world has changed a lot and at the same time some stayed the same. One thing that has changed is that if there is financial pain at an agency the cuts are deep.  Even Junior people lose their jobs. Companies don’t even wait to Friday to let people go.   In the past youth were sheltered and protected more.  That has changed.  And yet young people receive very little advice on how to build a career in the New Normal.  Trust me the era of the Mad Men is long gone.

That is why everyone in an agency has to be ready for change.  I have written a couple of blogs on the subject called Are You Ready to Get Fired and Why Ad People Need to Market Themselves Better.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the agencies don’t hire for themselves; they hire for their clients. It may even be more important these days.  That means they look at your resume and LinkedIn profile with the brain scan of “What will the client think?”  “Can I merchandise them to the client?”  “What experience can I sell?”  Nobody is taking career chances these days.  Close in horse shoes doesn’t even get points these days.  Your horseshoe needs to be wrapped around the pole.

This means that first and foremost you need to focus on your experience.  Some resumes are chock full of job duties but have limited category experience and brand names that the reader knows. You won’t be there to explain your experience to them.  Think of doing a human search on your resume.  I am going to be scanning for job title and keywords like healthcare or whatever.  I am not going to be searching managed budgets and timelines.  Of course you did that but that is not what catches my eye.  I can’t sell duties initially; but I can sell brands and experience.

You see in the New Normal getting a job at every level is like going through the eye of the needle.  You have to expand the eye of that needle by making yourself most marketable.

The same thing applies to your LinkedIn profile.  It’s all about the keywords.  It is all about how searchable you are.  Job hunting is about being found.  It is about pull not push.  You get pull if you push out the right key words.

I also see LinkedIn profiles that are almost sterile.  As arid as the desert the person will be going through if they happen to lose their jobs.  No time to have a strong LinkedIn profile?  You may enter a land where you have too much time on your hands.

I have had many great bosses during my career. Boy they were smart.  One great talent master at JWT taught me this.

It is all about the brands that you worked on.  The bigger the brand the more marketable you were.

Here is how I apply brand to careers today.  I worked with my friend at JWT.  That is a big brand.  Ten years of working at JWT in Toronto and Chicago has given me a halo event to today. The average size of an agency in the U.S. is seven people so not everyone gets to work at a multinational agency

However I have met people in many small agency markets that are working on great brands. Make sure those brand names scream out on your resume and LinkedIn profile.  Include logos of those brands on your resume.  Make yourself easy to be sold.  You will take care of the rest.

You can connect with Hank on LinkedIn:

Follow his updates on twitter: @hankblank

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Watch Why Young People Shouldn’t Try to Find A Job

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