Career advice from 14 HR pros at Charlotte-area companies

Career advice from 14 HR pros at Charlotte-area companies
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This story is proudly presented by the Axios Charlotte Job Board, where top employers find top talent. 

The job market is uncertain and competitive right now, but Charlotte-area companies continue to hire.

We asked leaders in the recruitment space what advice they’d give to job seekers right now. Below are their responses, lightly edited for clarity.

Big picture: Many focused on attention to detail, patience, and persistance. In a competitive market, you can’t afford to have typos in your cover letter or seem complacent in your interview.

Professionalism goes a long way. A well written email expressing interest in a position sets the tone for a great candidate/employer experience. Make sure that when you submit a resume, it is spellchecked and that your formatting is consistent. Attention to detail is a critical skill and your resume is your first impression – if it is full of errors and inconsistencies, employers will not be impressed.”


-Chelsea Presnell, Talent Acquisition Partner at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates

Check out open roles right now.

Make yourself stand out from other applicants! Tailor your resume for the position and company, also send a LinkedIn message to the recruiter or hiring manager. It shows that you are a go-getter and take initiative!”

-Ashley Schmidgall, Manager of Talent Acquisition at Spot Inc.

Check out open roles right now.

Keep applying. I know the job market may look scarce but the fact is, companies are hiring.
Cover letters are important. I, for one, read every cover letter that comes in. Use keywords. Some large companies use scanners to look through resumes before they even land on a hiring managers desk. Make sure you use keywords that are in the job description and apply to your experience to be sure your resume registers if the scanner is doing the first cut.”

-Jen Olin, Program Manager at The Ivey

“During this pandemic, we all have to adapt to new ways of hiring from phone interviews to virtual interviews. My advice would be patience for job seekers and for employers. We have to understand that technology is playing a big role so there can be some challenges and new processes set in place when filling a job position.”

-Erin Elks, Recruiter at YMCA Charlotte

Check out open roles right now.

Set your resume apart visually! Companies that are currently hiring are most likely receiving more resumes than ever. If you can catch my eye with color or a graphic, you’ll have better luck of me diving into your resume further! Also, do your research. A cover letter addressed “Dear Hiring Manager” tells me that you are sending blanket cover letters to dozens of companies and didn’t invest the time to learn about our company. Lastly, I love seeing some personality come through! Including a list of hobbies or passions makes you more relatable.”

-Morgan Brandemuehl, Marketing Manager at House of Nomad

They’re always accepting applications – apply here

Don’t be content applying through their hiring portal. Don’t only apply for jobs that are available. Set up low-pressure informational interviews. Keep your eye on organizations you want to work at. Network with people that are where you want to be. COVID isn’t an excuse. UberEats them a coffee. Door Dash them a breakfast burrito. Whatever you need to do to get your resume or portfolio in front of them. Don’t worry about getting to the top person in the office, find the people on your level. When a job comes available, most managers first ask their top players if they recommend anyone. Between the coffee you bought them and the referral bonus they get, odds are they will drop your name or LinkedIn link. Also, be persistent but not creepy.”

-Chad Brophy, President of Tattoo Projects

Submit your portfolio and resume here

Look beyond traditional job listings – our company has more than 6K employees and only a small handful come from backgrounds you’d expect to see. Instead look at opportunities where you believe you can learn and grow, align with the company and its values while capitalizing on your strengths.”

-Kenna Meyeroff, Director of Employee Experience at

Don’t box yourself into a defined role/career path based on your experience or skills. We are always looking for candidates who have transferable skills to the roles we are hiring. We focus on the person, what we believe they’re capable of and putting them in roles where they can add value. For example, we have been hiring hospitality workers for our sales and operations teams thanks to the fact that they have fantastic EQ and people skills.”

-Demi Clark, Director/Office Leadership, Charlotte Region at

View all open jobs

Let it happen – If you have roommates, children, pets, or other distractions that may make an appearance during your interview, let us know! (Many of us are in the same situation.) You’ll want to treat a video interview just like you would treat a normal interview. Dress appropriately, be aware of what’s in your background, and let the team know if you need a quick break for any reason — just as you would as if you were in the office.”

-Ted Prendergast, Recruiting Manager and Betsy Eccles, Corporate Recruiter at Red Ventures.

View all Red Ventures jobs

Show your drive. I am always looking for people who see and understand the connection between actions and success. Our team knows that success takes work, and we want people on our team who have the drive to plan things out and then work through that plan until completion. When I find someone with the right drive, I know that even if they don’t have the exact skills that we’re looking for that they will be able to do the job and be a valuable member of the team.”

-Betsy Hauser, CEO & Founder of Tech Talent South

Prepare for your interviews by creating questions for your interviewers that are thoughtful, intelligent, and inquire about the bigger picture. I have done thousands of interviews in my career, but in every interview, the first thing I try to answer is, “Does this person want this job at this company? Or do they just want a job?” The single biggest indicator and differentiator for me is when folks come with thoughtfully prepared interview questions. And the biggest red flag for me is when they don’t have any.”

-Sydney Stern Miller, Head of Marketing at Tech Talent South

Join TTS’ Talent Database here.

Use your network! Now, more than ever, hiring needs can change so quickly and having an inside connection can really help set you apart from other candidates. A lot of open positions right now are critical needs and if you aren’t fully bought into an opportunity, don’t waste anyone’s time – your own included – going through the motions of the interview process. Don’t accept a position unless you are 100% certain it’s what you want long term; you could be taking an opportunity away from another deserving candidate and could burn a bridge with a potential future employer by accepting a position and then backing out before the start date.”

-Lindsay Forbes, Senior Manager of Corporate Recruitment at Flexcare Medical Staffing

Check out all open roles right now. 

Read the job posting carefully and comment on something specific about the role or the company in your cover letter. This helps the hiring manager know you aren’t just sending generic applications to random positions. It also sets you apart by demonstrating an attention to detail that employers are seeking.”

-Daniel Jacobs, Founder and Managing Director at TruLoan Mortgage

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