Debra Lawson started her career with Management Recruiters International (MRI) in 1982. From a combination of substantial operations and marketing management experience with 20-plus years at MRI, Lawson believe she brings a “personal touch, passion and capability into recruiting.” She focuses on watching for the “right attitude, communication skills and motivation in candidates” she introduces to her client companies. See what Lawson has to say about raising your hiring appeal.

Debra Lawson of Management Recruiters International (credit: Nicole Wrona)

Debra Lawson of Management Recruiters International (credit: Nicole Wrona)

1. What is the current climate of the job market in Detroit and surrounding areas?

“From my perspective, I’ve continued to see the job market improve over the last two years. I specialize in direct hire search which companies don’t do unless they’re looking to invest in someone for the long term, unlike contract hiring. The automotive industry is doing well and many suppliers are increasing their sales and engineering teams locally. Most everything in the Detroit area relates back to the auto industry and whether individuals, as well as companies, have money to spend.”

2. What are some ways to make yourself marketable in today’s workforce?

“Additional education and training can always be helpful. I also believe networking is underutilized and may be misunderstood by many. It’s simply letting those you know personally and in business — past as well as current — know that you’re open to considering opportunities. More jobs are found by personal networking than in any other way. Those who know you can share important information about you with a company. Things like your work ethic, attitude, how you get along with others, your dedication and that you learn quickly shared by those who know you can be very helpful and instrumental in getting interviews where the criteria set by a company for interviewing may otherwise have been too strenuous., if used fully, can be an excellent professional networking resource.”

3. What is the importance of education in order to make a career move?

“Education is very important in looking to make a career move. If multiple people interview for a position, and all interview well, education can be one of the deciding factors. The right education that can take you further in a company, and your career is important, but also the type of degree, classes, certificates and GPAs, especially for those earlier in their careers, are key.”

4. What is the best way for job seekers to acquire new skills that will make them an asset to employers? What skills do employers seek?

“This is really dependent on the type of position and industry that someone is in or looking to enter. Staying current on computer software is important for many positions as well as certifications and ongoing training. Of course, some positions must have a relevant degree. It is important to research the type of position you’re targeting online and see what employers or recruiters are looking for when they post job openings.”

5. What is one key piece of advice for those seeking to revitalize their career in the Detroit area?

“Reread all of the above. Plus, target a company or position and then talk to everyone you can about how to get in there, be it online or in person. You do not have to wait for a job posting or a specific position to open. Companies and those hiring like to know that someone wants to work for them versus just get a job. I’ll also add that resumes are far too often simply a boring list of a person’s past tasks or responsibilities as oppose to a sales tool to sell yourself into a specific company or position utilizing skills you have — that they need — and accomplishments proving you can do what they need done. It’s easy to tailor a resume online so each employer knows what you’re looking for versus just throwing all your experience out at them. They need to see that what you offer is very relative to their company and/or position requirements…and you need to make it easy for them to see, so too much detail isn’t good. You need to get their attention early on with how your experience, skills and capabilities will benefit them. “

After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, Nicole Wrona began working with a diverse range of musicians. In addition, she is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her work can be found at and


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