Tips for an A-grade LinkedIn Profile for our Agency Candidates

rachel_188x300The Melanie Andersen Agency is always looking to add successful candidates to our database. As our clients (the companies that brief us on roles) are generally looking for specialized skill sets, we don’t advertise any of our roles, rather we headhunt according to their specific  requirements.

During our search process, we look first to our database of all of the candidates that we have already interviewed and therefore have a good understanding of their experience and career motivations. Our in-house research team then move on to new research and we headhunt according to the brief and job description that our clients have provided us with. Often our clients are looking for very specific skill sets, which is why they engage our services. Our research team spend quite a lot of time on LinkedIn searching for candidates. We work with a lot of advertising, digital, branding and PR agencies and the roles that they brief us on often require specific category experience (a certain amount of time spent on a beauty account, a spirits account, or digital capabilities, for example) which are not always listed on a candidate’s LinkedIn profile. I can’t stress this enough, it is extremely helpful for candidates to list their accounts on their profile, as well their skills, abilities, and specifics about projects they’ve worked on. If a candidate doesn’t list this information, often we skip over them and target the candidates with the more detailed profiles, which means  people are then often missing out on a fantastic new career opportunity!

Now, I know at first glance this may seem like a death trap – “my boss will know I’m looking for a new role” or “my clients are confidential” but rest assured – these are all unnecessary reservations. It’s never a bad idea to go into detail about your experience on your LinkedIn profile, your boss should know that you are vocal about listing your capabilities in any capacity, and should be supportive of that. It does NOT mean you are actively looking for a new job, you are just sprucing up your professional profile, and affirming your hard work, skills and knowledge. If your accounts are confidential, you can list them as “a major airline” or “an upscale beauty brand”, instead of listing specifics.

What candidates working at agencies don’t realize is that more often than not, it is the type of account, as well as the scope of their work, that matters most to a potential employer. It is not the agency where you are working, so It is beneficial for all parties involved – candidate, recruiter, and employer – to list as much information on your profile as possible.

Employee Spotlight – Meet Rachel

As we Spring into warmer weather, we shed our employee spotlight on Rachel Wenig, one of the newest additions to our team. Rachel works out of our New York office assisting, researching, and getting a feel for recruiting. She comes to us from the Media industry, which gives her a unique perspective. Take a look below and see how she answered some questions about herself and her experience thus far at The Melanie Andersen Agency.

Describe your role here at TMAA?

My role at TMAA right now is a mix between assisting and scheduling for Nadine and doing research for our PR and marketing roles. In addition, I’m in the process of training to become a recruiter! I sit in on a lot of interviews and am constantly learning from working closely with Nadine.

How did you get the job here?

Nina, one of the junior recruiters at TMAA, is one of my good friends from college. When I realized I was ready to make a career change a few months back I asked if she could help me in any way since I knew she was working at a recruiting agency. I originally came here to interview for a completely separate role that TMAA had been working on, but by the time I left the interview, I had been headhunted for TMAA!

Where were you working before you came to TMAA?

At the media buying and planning agency, Carat.

Why did you decide to make the move from the media industry to recruiting?

I didn’t feel that my skills and personality were best utilized in the media environment; in other words I’m much better with humans than I am with numbers.

What do you find most interesting about interviewing candidates

I love learning about the trajectory of people’s careers and how they ended up where they are from where they started. Everyone has a different story and I think it’s interesting to learn the motives for pursuing each career choice.

What do you like most about the job?

I really love working with the people here at TMAA. We do a lot of hard work but everyone has a great attitude and there’s always this fun, playful energy in the office. I think a positive environment is one of the most important things for inspiring success, and TMAA really embodies that.

What is your favorite thing about living in NYC?

Being near all of my friends and family is a definitely a luxury I’m enjoying by living here but the city itself is very special too. I love how almost every area feels like a completely different city.

Where did you live prior to NYC?

New Orleans.

What do you miss the most about New Orleans?

Everything. It’s the most unique, amazing place in the world. If I had to narrow it down though I’d say the live music or the fact that you can drink legally outside!

Three words that describe you best?

Determined, personable and Fun.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I interned at Ebony magazine in high school.

What is your ideal social activity?

Happy hour on a rooftop with my friends on a deliciously warm day.

What are you looking forward to the most this summer?

Going to Rothbury, Michigan for a music festival!

A Shift in Perspective And a Little Taste of Recruiting

Our Community Manager, Casey Fieldman, recently got the chance to work on a role of her own and get a little taste of the recruiting world. Although she never thought that was a side of the business she wanted to work on, this role pleasantly surprised her. Casey decided to share her thoughts and her success to show that sometimes the things you aren’t very excited about at first can turn out to be the most rewarding. Check out Casey’s blog below to learn a little bit more about her and her very first placement!

I recently made my very first placement, and I must say the whole process surprised me in ways I hadn’t expected. This was not only my first placement, but the first and only role that I have been given to work on. That being because I’m not actually a recruiter, I do Community Management here at The Melanie Andersen Agency. I am most definitely intrigued by the business of recruiting- that’s what drew me to this company. As Community Manager, I am responsible for helping the business run smoothly- working backstage and behind the scenes. I keep the recruiters organized by mapping out their hectic schedules, making sure everything is in its right place, and tying all the loose ends together.

We work on a ton of high level roles for a particular company, and so when they needed to fill a very junior level role for a luxury fashion brand, we agreed to work on it for them. All the recruiters were already exhausting all their time and energy on countless searches of their own, so Melanie asked if I could reach out to my network of young professional friends in New York to see if anyone would be interested. I agreed- and to be honest, I agreed reluctantly. I just never really thought I had that knack that all other recruiters seemed to have – the intuition they seemed to possess and the ease of conversation they exhibit. But Melanie was right, the odds were I knew a person that would be perfect for this role.

So I reached out to my immediate network of friends through social media, and immediately got a ton of responses. Then I started interviewing some of those people, which at first was the part that seemed the most unappealing to me. In my mind the interviews would be like forced small talk with strangers (don’t ask me why), which is probably my least favorite thing on the planet. But I was pleasantly surprised! The conversations flowed naturally and it was genuinely interesting to get someone’s mini history and hear about their ambitions or uncertainty of the path they wished to go down, which was common as I was speaking with young people who had just embarked on their career (and we all know what that’s like).

The last person I interviewed was actually a friend of mine from college. She was currently unhappy in her job and quite frankly feeling a little bit fixated on a path she did not wish to be on. She was incredibly excited by the prospect of this new position and I immediately knew she would be perfect for it. I submitted her, she interviewed, and was instantly well-received. Within about two weeks she was hired. She was ecstatic. I was ecstatic. The feeling was sort of amazing. I had just played an absolutely integral role in redirecting the career path of this individual back towards her passion, which was fashion. It was so rewarding to see how happy and grateful she was.

I always thought that my backstage role at the agency was best suited for my personality, but my experience working on and filling a role really shed light on some abilities I never thought I had. It was an awesome opportunity to explore the other side of our business and maybe an untapped part of my self. I will say I now understand what everyone means by the “recruiter’s high”. It’s a real thing! We really are doing amazing things for candidates by providing them with opportunities they may not have access to otherwise, and providing companies with amazing assets to their team. GO TMAA!

Employee Spotlight – Meet Lucy

Happy New Year! Kicking off our Employee Spotlights for the New Year is our Senior Search Consultant, Lucy Flannery. Lucy works in our New York office and specializes in all roles within the retail industry. She brings extensive experience and knowledge of the retail industry to TMAA and has greatly expanded this side of the business since joining the agency. Lucy has settled nicely into the NYC lifestyle and has given the New York office a little bit of West Coast flavor. Want to get to know Lucy a little better? See how she answered the questions we asked her about herself and working at The Melanie Andersen Agency.

How did you get your job at TMAA?

I was actually a candidate of Melanie’s and she reached out to me for a role. I met with her when she was in LA and then again in New York. We got to talking and it seemed like it was a perfect match. What really drew me to Melanie and the agency as opposed to other recruitment firms are her business practices and the approach she takes to recruiting. I have so much respect for the way she does business and then relationships she forms with her clients and candidates and I just really wanted to be a part of that.

Where were you working before you came to TMAA?

I was living in Los Angeles working as a Regional Manager for lululemon.

Why did you decide to make the transition from the retail industry into recruiting?

I felt like I had mastered what I was doing in the retail industry and I had kind of maxed myself out when it came to that career path. I really wanted to make a change and be able to take all of the skills I had amassed and reallocate them into a career that helps other people find the perfect match. I learned so much from being in retail and acquired so many skills, I wanted to be able to turn it around and share those with people who are looking for their dream jobs and carving their own career paths.

What is the most important skill you brought from your retail experience to recruiting?

I really think my knowledge of the industry has been the most important thing. Having the experience and the knowledge I do really streamlines the process for clients and candidates. When it comes to the search process it is very efficient because I know what to look for and I am really able to understand what the client wants for any given role. I also think my assessment skills and ability to interview have really made the transition in recruiting easier because I have done it for so many years and I have really learned how to ask the right questions and assess when someone is right for a particular role.

What is the biggest surprise about the job since joining TMAA?

Having been on the other end and working with recruiters I never realized the amount of true dedication and work it takes to actually place a candidate in a role. There is a lot of work that goes into each job we work on and before I got into recruiting I honestly thought it was a much easier process.

What is the best part of your job?

I really feel like I have the opportunity to change people’s lives. When candidates meet with you it’s usually because they aren’t happy in their current job or they are just intrigued by seeing what else is out there. When you are able to help them find a new job you are helping them accomplish not only professional success but personal success as well. You are also changing the companies as well by finding them someone who really cares about the success of the company. It’s a very personal industry, and making that connection with the client/company and the candidates is incredibly fulfilling because you are making a positive difference on both sides.

What is the best piece of advice you can give candidates?

I have seen this happen a lot and often advise candidates about this. Don’t make leaving your last company the reason why you don’t get the new job. When you are in an interview, don’t spend all of your time explaining and justifying why you left or want to leave your current job and speaking negatively of the company. Everyone has their reasons for leaving whether they are good or bad. Don’t belabor it and over-explain it. When they ask, own your answer, be clear and then move on. Be confident in your decisions and then go forward.

It’s like going on a first date and spending the whole night talking about an ex-boyfriend you had a really bad experience with it. You probably won’t get a second date and if you do the same in an interview, you likely won’t be asked back or offered the job.

What is the biggest difference for you between living in LA and NYC?

Aside from the weather, obviously, surprisingly, I have found that people are earlier risers on the West Coast but are also early to finish the day. On the East Coast, people are later to rise, but are out much later. No one is down for yoga at 6 am but I can’t even get into an 8 pm yoga class!

What is your favorite thing about living in NYC?

I feel like I’m home because I grew up here. I have and always will love accessibility. I can have anything I want, whenever I want and how I want it. It’s New York!

Three words that describe you best?

Honest/direct, fitness-forward and balanced

What is your go to Happy Hour drink?

Vodka Martini (Ketel One), and not too dirty!

What are you looking forward to in 2014?

Professional and personal success. I really just want to be happy and live a good life. I have spent so much time trying to achieve certain things and getting to new levels but now I just want to enjoy life and spend time with family and friends. Of course I still want to have professional success but I view things differently now.

Shake Those First Date Jitters – Why Candidates and Clients Need to Practice Punctuality – Advice from Search Consultant, Nadine Knoblauch

We stress to candidates all the time the importance of being on time to an interview whether it be with us, the recruiter, or with the client. Sometimes the tables are turned, however, and the clients need to be reminded the importance of being on time to an interview with a potential new employee. While the client expects the candidate to be punctual and deserves that courtesy, the candidate deserves the same courtesy and if it is not shown, could ruin their experience with that particular company.

I recently had a senior candidate interviewing with a client for an important hire at the Vice President level. My client had reached out to me stressing the fact that she needed to hire someone relatively quickly and that this person would be playing a key role within the New York office. When I prepped my candidate I spoke about the company culture and touched on the importance of being Type A, organized, punctual and overall holding a ‘on top of your game’ mentality. She was happy to hear this as this is her in a nutshell.

My candidate was scheduled for a 1pm interview and planned for a 2:30pm departure back to her office (she had client meetings for the remainder of the afternoon, which my client was well aware of). At 1:10 my candidate emailed my assistant as the client still had not come to get her as planned. She patiently waited for another 10 minutes while we were unsuccessful in locating the client via phone and email. When we did get a hold of our client, she said she was running behind and had lost track of time, not seeming phased by her tardiness. They met shortly after at about 1:30, but the damage was already done. My candidate was thrown off, feeling rushed and unimpressed.

The initial interview between client and candidate is similar to a first date. Both parties need to be making a good impression on one another. Yes, the candidate is applying for a job with the client, but the client still needs to sell the position and company to the candidate. When a client wants to attract top talent they need to present like a top tier establishment. This is why timing plays such an important role. Not only was my candidate thrown off going into the interview (where tensions can already be high), but she left with a poor impression of our client and wasn’t interested in going back for a second interview. Don’t get me wrong, the same goes for candidates needing to respect the clients time. When a candidate shows up to an interview late, 99 percent of the time they are not asked to come back in for a second interview.

Being punctual is a great quality to demonstrate in your everyday life, but when interviewing its essential. Whether you are the client or the candidate, be sure to practice it.

Determination or Desperation? The Importance of Being Honest – Experiences of Senior Search Consultant, Thea Raskin

Finding a job is tough. It’s stressful; it’s another job on top of the job you already have. I get it. And with all the emails you send out and resumes you submit only to hear crickets (if even!) on the other end, it can be incredibly frustrating and demoralizing.  That said, I wanted to give you perspective on what happens when what you think your new more “proactive” tactic backfires and your newly found “take charge attitude” leaves others now viewing you as desperate, unprofessional and untrustworthy.

Companies partner with headhunters to provide a service and to add value – to introduce them to top tier candidates they have not met on their own or through their own networks. They are looking to build new relationships and ensure they have scoured the marketplace for the best person for their job. Therefore, if you have already met with or sent your information to the company we are speaking with you about within a reasonable timeframe (i.e. the past year), and the client did not move forward with you, there is a reason for that. Not divulging this information or telling us that you do not know the company already only to have us resend your information only destroys all the bridges you were trying to build. Here is a recent email exchange that does a better job of showing the point at hand:

Client to Recruiter:

Hello. This is crazy. I’ve now recd her book from 3 people. One a few months back and someone Sunday! She needs to divulge this info.

Recruiter to Candidate:

I sent your work over to Company X.  The HR Director was unimpressed by the fact that you have been submitted by three different recruiters over the course of a few months.  She did not like that you did not divulge to each recruiter that you had been represented to them in the past and now it looks like you are spamming your materials their way, which leaves an impression of desperation. 

Since I asked you if you knew them, were in communication with them, or had been represented there prior and you said no, I was happy to represent you.  It’s upsetting to receive this feedback, as it makes everyone look unprofessional – you, the other recruiters and me.

Moving forward, please know that you need to be as upfront and transparent with anyone you work with and if you have ever been in communication or know of an agency or firm or they have received your information, you need to let the partner you are working with know this.  This is extremely important because as you can see, it damages reputations and only taints your standing with companies and partnerships you are trying to build, which I know is not your ultimate goal.

In summary, when your recruiter asks you if you have sent your resume to Company X, we need to know if you have applied online through their company website, applied via LinkedIn, have had another recruiter send your resume to the company on your behalf, or had a friend of yours send your resume internally to someone they know. Sometimes we may still be able to represent you for the position, but we always need to know the background information before doing so.

Faith Restored in Candidates – Experiences of Search Consultant, Nadine Knoblauch

Today I had a candidate accept an offer for a great role. Not only am I very happy for her but also very happy because today my faith was restored in candidates. These situations don’t always work out, candidates can change their minds and clients can change their minds as well. A candidate can have multiple interviews and then the client will hear something they don’t like and pull a 180. A candidate will tell you all the right things and at the last minute decide it really isn’t the right time. Or a candidate can verbally accept the offer and all can be right in the world until they go to resign and their current employer gives them a counter offer that for whatever reason they can’t seem to refuse. Trust me, we have seen it all.

As recruiters, we go through this intense and lengthy process with candidates and build a rapport and a relationship (sometimes a friendship). When they completely blindside us and go against everything both parties have worked towards, it becomes almost personal.  Every candidate has their reasons for wanting to leave their current job: senior leadership doesn’t value them, poor office culture, not enough money, no growth opportunities, looking for a change, it can all vary. But when the candidate forgoes their original reasons and accepts a counteroffer, that is a hard pill to swallow. We go out on a limb and represent them to our clients and when they take a counteroffer for more money, it doesn’t make either party look good. It tells our clients that the reasons the candidate gave initially for wanting to leave were either not legitimate or they were easily persuaded by a little more money or a title increase. It tells our clients that their opportunity wasn’t actually as appealing as the candidate made it out to be throughout the whole process. Candidate’s true character really comes out in the final offer stage – ignoring the recruiters calls, not having the decency to decline the offer via phone, letting an offer letter sit for a lengthy amount of time, stringing clients along and asking for an offer in writing so that they can go and use it to get more money. If someone wants to accept an offer, it’s because they want that position and know it the best route for them to take in their career. Candidates may not realize that accepting a counteroffer may seem like the right thing at the time but there are still underlying reasons that pushed them to start their job search. Those reasons won’t go away just because their current employer has offered them more money. A counteroffer shouldn’t be a factor if you are sure about wanting a new opportunity. Don’t let it get to that point. Be respectful of all parties: your current employer, your recruiter, your prospective employer and ultimately yourself. Don’t drag out the process. Accept the offer in a timely manner, be upfront with your current employer, resign respectfully not even entertaining a counteroffer and then get ready to start a new chapter in your professional life.

Today, the process worked the way it should. The candidate was honest and timely and resigned telling her employer there wasn’t even a need to counter. All parties are happy and for that, my faith has been restored in candidates.

We Aren’t Mind Readers – Tips From Research Manager, Blair Donahue

I was researching for a role the other week and got a response from a candidate that inspired me to put fingers to the keyboard and write my first blog post. I never realized the significance and usefulness of LinkedIn and the importance of keeping an up to date account until I came to TMAA. As an executive search firm, LinkedIn is a vital tool in the recruitment process and allows us to reach out to only the most relevant candidates. It is also a great networking tool for any person in the business world. Having an up to date and detailed profile is a great way to connect with relevant people in your industry and establish business relationships to enhance your professional experience and skill sets.

This particular role was a very junior creative position. I came across a candidate’s LinkedIn profile and based off of her work experience and the skill set she had, she seemed like the perfect candidate for this opportunity. A few hours later she responded informing me she in fact had 11 years of experience (as opposed to the 3 years that were listed on her profile) and the skills listed on her profile were actually a very small percentage of the overall skills she possessed in this field. Of course as a candidate you want to be contacted about great opportunities that are in line with your skill set and the work experience you have amassed. As recruiters, we always want to reach out to candidates who are relevant and we don’t want to be that person that is bothering you for something you aren’t even right for. This process doesn’t always run smoothly but there are ways to avoid too much aggravation for both parties. I’m not saying you need to be updating your LinkedIn profile the second anything of significance happens in your work life, however, it would be beneficial to take a few minutes when something changes to make an update. This will allow your connections and networks to be in the know as well.

After all of the profiles I have looked at, here are my biggest tips to having a great LinkedIn profile: If you start a new job, update your profile. If you get a promotion and your title changes, update your profile (after all, don’t you want everyone to see what a rock star you are?). If you move to a new city, update your profile. If you have specific important skill sets that are important in your line of work, list that on your profile.  Always list your education, the degrees you earned and the years of graduation. You might think by leaving out your year of graduation, people will think you are more experienced but it can be frustrating when you get contacted for roles that are not in your experience level. Recruiters will still love to see internship experience but they need to know the difference between your internships and full-time work.

We want to find the best candidates for the roles we work on and we don’t want to bother candidates with opportunities they aren’t suitable for. Don’t assume that we are mind readers. That isn’t always the case. And you know what they say when you assume…

Employee Spotlight – Meet Ashley

To kick off November, our first Employee Spotlight is Ashley Thompson. Ashley is one of our LA girls who works closely with our Senior Creative Consultant identifying candidates for all creative roles and co-managing our social media presence. She is currently working in the New York office for the Fall bringing all of us a little West Coast sunshine and learning the ways of New York City. Want to get to know Ashley a little better? See how she answered the questions we asked her about herself and working at The Melanie Andersen Agency.

How did you get your job at TMAA?

LinkedIn! I found the job posting when I was looking for opportunities and blindly sent my resume  through the website.

What attracted you about the job?

I watched the video on the website and thought that TMAA looked like a great group of empowering women to work with.

Who is the funniest person in the office?

Casey for sure! She always has a quick comeback and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

What has been the funniest moment since starting work at TMAA?

TMAA karaoke night! Watching Nadine and Jodi on stage together is kind of like watching The Voice. (and by that I mean sometimes the song gets interrupted by one of Nadine’s monologues ending with “I can’t even” and her asking when it was her turn to sing again every 5 minutes.)

What is the best part about your job?

Getting to learn about different industries and our candidates’ career paths.

What is the best part about living in LA?

Living 10 minutes from the beach, the weather, palm trees, what’s not to love?!

What is the best thing about getting to work in New York for a couple months?

Spending time with everyone and getting to explore the city.

What’s on your iPod right now?

Lorde, Avicii, Bastille, Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, Beyonce, Disclosure, Haim, CHVRCHES, The Weekend, Jason Aldean and Grouplove.

Three words that describe you best?

Athletic, easygoing, traveler

What is your go to Happy Hour drink?


What’s your relationship status?

Single and ready to mingle :)


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