{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I’m a senior strategist applying senior strategy positions and not getting traction. At this point I think I must be doing something wrong. Hiring managers - what are your red flags at this level? What do you need to see to seal the deal.\nThank you!", "post_id": "610a083b7e8295002a7ae62b", "reply_count": 10, "vote_count": 4, "bowl_id": "58eed54c016cce0010bbe9fa", "bowl_name": "Strategy & Planning" }

I’m a senior strategist applying senior strategy positions and not getting traction. At this point I think I must be doing something wrong. Hiring managers - what are your red flags at this level? What do you need to see to seal the deal. Thank you!

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Let’s investigate. Need to know more info How long were you a senior strategist? How long were at your agency? Why are you making a lateral move in a position- makes more sense at director level ( I did this too, but it is a serious question) Are you getting any call backs/ interviews . If so, who are you meeting? Just the HR folks, or have you had interviews with hiring managers? If you can’t get a gig after an interview with a hiring manager it might not be your resume . It might be something you are presenting to people. If no one is responding to your resume, then it might be your experience or how long you’ve been doing your current gig, or your resume. All that said, it is so much easier if a recruiter reaches out to you then the other way around. I had issues the one time I reached out in the middle of my career. They couldn’t be bothered to help. I was of the mindset get me in the room with someone who does what we do and I will make my case. That worked - because I had the skills, but equally because I had that attitude. Basically this is my long winded way of saying is don’t lose your confidence. Identify what’s holding you back , eradicate it , and kill the interview / get the gig.

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Red flags for me: candidates who are trying to position themselves as unicorn people. For a brand strategy role, I don’t need someone who’s started their own consulting business or worked in influencer marketing or content strategy, I need a solid senior brand strategist that doesn’t need to be taught the basics. I know some agencies love the idea of a strategist with a “cool” non-traditional background but at the senior level you shouldn’t need to be taught the job. Also looking to gauge if senior level feels appropriate with the experience presented. I see senior strategy applicants ranging from 4+ years who are trying to level up to people with 15+ years trying to cast a wide net. It’s tough because every agency is different so at the end of the day it’s what experience have you gained and how is it going to be applicable to the specific role.

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You’re not a real senior at 4 years. Sorry pal. Unless you’re a real star and if that was the case you’d be dripping in interviews. As a senior I’d expect you to basically be able to lead strategy on a workstream with minimal oversight and me playing coach. That includes presenting complicated work to difficult clients and finding the win in tough situations. Unless you’re extraordinary (which you aren’t) you have not gotten the exposure or experience to prove that you can do what I just described, consistently and reliably, across different categories and situations. It’s very easy to spot candidates like you. And it doesn’t mean you’re bad. You just need more seasoning. Like a couple more years across a range of accounts and types of work. If you want to wow me and be a top candidate as a senior here’s what I need to see: - proof you can write - proof you can write an interesting brief - proof you can explain a complicated topic you know a lot about in a way a energetic 5 year old would understand (like clients and creatives) - proof you won’t fold like a deck of cards when challenged on your thinking - proof you have jumped into unfamiliar situations with minimal support and come out with a win - proof you understand the full range of work we do in this day and age, from big campaigns to tactical stuff - proof you have taste and a point of view. Meaning that you’re not just a slightly smarter account person. - proof you can think outside the box. That means no intellectual crutches like brand personality or other stupid frameworks. - proof you can be persuasive. I also need you to understand research etc and all the other crap. But I need you and your resume to prove to me that you have done the above and can do it well. I hope this helps. Don’t trust people who just tell you you’re great. If they were right, you wouldn’t be here.

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Thanks R/GA very good perspective my guess is it’s a bit of both.

How are you applying for these open roles? If you’re sending your resume into an agency’s online application you’ll never get traction. That’s a black hole that rarely returns a response

Thanks for comments. I typically get to the hiring manager. But I only have 4 yrs of experience and haven’t been at this level long. I also think I’m better in person but everything you’ve told me leads me to think they aren’t convinced I can really lead and have all necessary skills. Thank you to all who posted

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