How to Score a Job With Today’s Top Media Brands (or Anywhere, Really)

Fusion HR chief talks etiquette, networking and self-awareness

Know thyself, said the ancient Greeks. Cheri Eisen, Fusion's head of human resources, thinks that advice is on the nose, even though Socrates and Plato weren't talking about wading into 2015's ultracompetitive job market.

Eisen shared a number of tips for job seekers ahead of today's Mediabistro Job Fair in New York. Among her recommendations: Never pick up a call while in an interview and do tidy that Facebook page (no beer bongs, please).

Fusion, a partnership between Disney/ABC and Univision, will participate in the sold-out event alongside media giants like AOL, CBS, Condé Nast and Bloomberg. (Mediabistro and Adweek are both operated by Mediabistro Holdings LLC.) 

The cable network launched in late 2013 and targets the country's fast-growing Latino community, particularly English-speaking millennials. It's home to the buzzworthy series, No, You Shut Up!, which features comedian Paul F. Tompkins in what's been described as a mashup of Captain Kangaroo and Comedy Bang! Bang!

The company has been on a hiring spree of its own, adding prominent journalists from Gawker Media, NBC News, Reuters and New York magazine. Below, Eisen explains what recruiters are looking for.

How can job hunters (millennials in particular) make themselves marketable?
Make it personal. For me it is always impressive when a candidate reaches out to me personally on my LinkedIn page. Someone who has taken the time to look at my background and make a connection always wins my attention. It sounds obvious, but don't be afraid to use your network.

Are there a few specific "don'ts" that you can share, with respect to job hunting?
Be present. Always put away your cellphone and better yet, turn it off. If it accidentally rings, politely turn it to silent and whatever you do don't answer it. You have been selected for an interview, so make it count— ask questions. Ask questions that help demonstrate your interest and that you did your homework and know about the company and its mission. 

Cheri Eisen, Fusion's head of human resources |  
Photo: David Ford

Know that recruiters do their homework. Google your own name, see what pops up and make adjustments, like cleaning up shared pictures. Make sure your social presence represents you. There is a fine line between having fun at a party and giving someone a reason to think you are not responsible.

Any specific tips in the "be sure to do" category?
Be sure to send a thank-you note. You would be surprised, but in this aggressive market, I have seen many managers make their final decision between two candidates based solely on whether or not someone sent a thank-you note.

Talk about networking and its role in finding a job these days. Networking is always important. As recruiters, we want to find the best in the business, and we scour the market all the time. However, we also enjoy referrals—if a top talent refers someone and has great things to say about that individual, it carries weight. We are likely to pick up the phone and have a conversation with that person at least as a courtesy.

How important is it for prospective employees to develop a personal brand?
I don't think prospective employees need to develop a personal brand, but they need to know who they are, what they want to do, what their true strengths are and where their passions lie. That inevitably may turn into a brand, but depending on how many years they have been in the marketplace, they may still be experimenting with different types of roles.

How important is a social media presence? And can you give some tips for that?
Social media is extremely important. Most recruiters are turning to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to source candidates. If you aren't there, we can't find you. It also makes it easier to send out job opportunities to the right individual. For instance, one job post can be tweeted, and an hour later you can have hundreds of candidates to sift through. For social media-specific roles, some companies are choosing to only post the opportunity via social media, feeling that if that is the role, the candidate should be in that space.

What kind of media talent is Fusion looking for?
There has never been a more exciting time to be working for a media company because people are consuming content in more ways than ever before. … Fusion is looking for individuals who are passionate, creative and reflect the diversity of our audience—diversity in background, experience, views and interests. Many of our recent hires are digital natives who have a distinct voice, innovative spirit and understand the power of platforms—from iPhones and Instagram to the Web, Vine, Snapchat and television.

What is most rewarding is how several members of our team have grown to take on expanded roles that are much different than when they joined. One example: We have had several producers join who have since made the jump to reporting stories in front of the camera. It is great to watch people take risks and see them pay off.