Women Who Lead: Marian Schembari

Last August, Marian Schembari took the old and tired ways of job applications and told them to, basically, shove it. Having gone through a similarly daunting and, often, extremely annoying job application process facing a terrible job market, I say kudos! In fact, I would yell it off rooftops if people wouldn’t mistake my words of excitement for a similarly named chocolate granola bar – KUDOS®

What awesome thing did she do? You know those Facebook ads? The ones that pop up next to your Facebook page and somehow, magically, know that you are single or that you like to cook lasagna and text on your cell phone. Well, Marian bought one.

Having tried sending out job applications, answering online ads, expertly crafting cover letters and whatever other typical job search paths, Marian decided to try something different. Knowing that our generation and our world is being run by social media and online technologies, she created a Facebook ad targeting specific companies she wanted to work for. The ad included her photo and a simple tagline: “I am Marian. I recently graduated from Davidson College. My dream is to work for (insert specific publisher name). Can you help? Click to see my resume.” Frankly, I wish I had thought of it myself.

Marian attracted a great deal of publicity and even the attention of the associate publisher of HarperStudio, Debbie Stier, who blogged about the ad, saying “I discovered Marian Schembari yesterday when I noticed her ad on my Facebook page saying she wanted to work at HarperCollins. How clever. I clicked through on the ad and found the most awesome, “2009″ resume.”

Today, Marian has realized her true passion. After working as a publicist for Jane Wesman PR, Marian moved on to working for…herself. She is her own boss, freelance writing and doing social media consulting, something she clearly knows a lot about. Oh and she’s a pastry student at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan.

You organized your own job campaign and got a lot of press for your creative approach. What gave you the idea to create a Facebook ad for yourself?
Two things contributed to my Facebook ad campaign. The first one was a book called Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters by Jay Conrad Levinson and David Perry. The whole send-my-resume-out-to-hundreds-of-employers just wasn’t working and I knew I needed to be aggressive about it, which is what that whole book is about! They suggested a few ideas, one of which included using targeted Facebook ads to catch the attention of people in our chosen industry. After Googling it I came across One Day One Job, a great website for recent grads, and they had done a case study featuring the ads. I used their general format and targeted the major publishers: HarperCollins, Random House, Penguin, etc. Each ad was specific saying, “I want to work for HarperCollins” (or whichever publisher).

Today, you work in publishing, but you are pursuing a career path you hadn’t considered. Do you think that you have found the right place for yourself?
While I love books and publishing, sitting behind a desk from 9 to 5 had never appealed to me, so I really have the best of both worlds. I did get a job through the advertisements, but it wasn’t a good fit. So now I’m using all I learned during my social media campaign and applying it to the things I love most. Now I am specializing in social media for authors, publishers and newspapers.

What kinds of obstacles do you think young people and college students are facing today in the job market?
The biggest obstacle by far is getting your resume in front of some one. So many people my age don’t understand that working really hard on your resume and cover letter isn’t enough. Most people don’t even read the cover letter you so carefully wrote. While it’s important to have a kick ass resume, it doesn’t matter one bit if you can’t get it in front of a human. And while annoying, HR is staffed by people and its people who hire people, not resumes or applications.

What kind of advice can you give to college women and recent grads who are looking for jobs?
Recent grads should spend all their free time making connections, building relationships and learning about their industry rather than wasting precious time working on an outdated document.

Besides following in your example, how do you think college students can leverage social media to their advantage?
My generation knows Facebook as a great way to keep in touch with old friends, post information about our lives and a general way to be social with our peers. This is because it started out as something only college students could join. Now, with Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging and even Facebook, there are literally thousands of ways to connect with people. My advice on using social media as job hunting tool is to really use it to connect with people in your industry. Ask questions, flaunt your knowledge via blog, connect with every single person you’ve ever spoken to. It’s that easy. Yes, it’s time consuming, but no more so than writing a resume 🙂

To learn more about Marian and her story, check out her website here: http://marianlibrarian.com and her article here: http://www.publishingtrends.com/2009/09/how-to-get-a-job-in-publishing/


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