There are many good reasons to work in ecommerce. Perhaps you’re attracted to the industry’s rapid growth. Or maybe you see ecommerce marketing or operations as a challenge — a mountain you’d like to climb. In “How to Find (Great) Ecommerce Employees,” I offered tips to would-be employers. In this post, I’ll address job seekers.
Everyone’s priorities are different. Every company is different. As evidence of this, career “experts” contradict each other all the time. Some advice will fit you; some won’t. So think of what follows as food for thought, ideas you can try. If these recommendations help you or even encourage you, this article will be a success.
The Ideal Job
Don’t start your job search on a job board. Job boards are helpful. They represent 20 percent or so of open positions. You will use job boards. Just not yet.
To paraphrase Liz Ryan, C.E.O. and founder of Human Workplace, the idea is to land an interesting and rewarding ecommerce job, not take any crappy ecommerce job some company will offer you.
There are certainly good jobs to be found on job boards. But if you have not invested time thinking about your ideal job, how will you recognize it when you see it on a job board?
Try making a list of what is important to you. Are there products you’re passionate about? What sort of a work culture suits you? Are there perks or benefits you want or need? How much do you want to earn?
Here is an example list.
- “I want a V.P. of marketing position with an ecommerce company.”
- “I want to have a role in the company’s strategic decisions.”
- “I want to work for a company that sells tech products or software.”
- “I want a job that is measured on production and that rewards success.”
- “I want to work remotely from my home office or as I travel the globe.”
- “I want equity.”
Once you’ve written your own list, begin to look for companies that meet your expectations.
You can search on Google — “best online retailers for remote workers” — or check out companies on LinkedIn. You might look for friends and colleagues who also work in ecommerce and consider their companies. Or you might go to a job board, now that you know what you want.
Your goal is to identify 25 target ecommerce companies.
Get a Referral
By some estimates, as many as eight out of 10 jobs are never posted on a job board or otherwise advertised. Instead, most jobs are filled with internal candidates or from a referral.
Employers have many good reasons for working this way. Paul Petron, an editor for LinkedIn Learning, enumerated a few of these reasons in an article published on the Linkedin Talent blog.
- A referred candidate is faster to hire than a traditional candidate. A referred candidate will come on board between 10 and 25 days sooner than candidates from job postings or job sites.
- A referred candidate is cheaper to hire than a traditional candidate. Some companies could save money by hiring a referred candidate.
- A referred hire will stay at the job longer than a traditional hire. Petron quoted a Jobvite study showing referred candidates are more likely to make it past the one year mark.
What’s more, employers are often encouraged to seek out referred candidates. “99 percent of the time your best hires will come from your staff’s combined network,” wrote Peter Kazanjy, co-founder of TalentBin.
Combining Petron’s reasons a company should hire referred candidates with Kazanjy’s advice, and it is clear you want to be referred (even if you are applying to a position you found on a job site).
Take the list of target ecommerce companies you identified in the previous step. Search your network of connections, friends, and old school chums to find someone who could refer you for a position.
Expand Your Network
If you’re having trouble identifying a referral contact for one or more target companies, consider expanding your network.
This will take a little time, but if you land a great ecommerce job, it might be worth the work.
Here are few things you can try to expand your network.
- Go where the people are. Attend ecommerce or similar Meetups in your area.
- Join professional organizations. When you stalk your target company online, you might notice a connection to a professional organization. Join that organization.
- Volunteer. If you love dogs and the C.E.O. of a target ecommerce company is on the board of a local animal rescue group, help out.
An Ecommerce Presence
Landing a great ecommerce job is something like dating. There has to be mutual interest. To attract interest, develop an ecommerce presence to impress. And as you search for a job, do these things too:
- Write articles related to the job you want. If you want to be an ecommerce logistics manager, describe your zone skipping ideas in an article on LinkedIn, Medium, or your own blog.
- Do volunteer work. Not only can this build your network, but it is also helpful for your resume.
- Present at a conference. Do a bit of research, prepare a solid, helpful presentation, and speak at an industry conference. If possible, record your presentation and post it on YouTube, LinkedIn, or similar.
- Help a reporter out. Become a source for the ecommerce trade press.
That’s it — all of my recommendations. Now go get yourself a great ecommerce job.