I’m not sure how, or why this happens, but a few times per quarter I receive requests from a variety of people who are either thinking about a transition, transitioning, just displaced or otherwise looking to go from where they’re at to a better place in their career, and somehow that intersects with marketing, and so I get a call. I love doing this. I really do. Yet I’m so surprised at the simple things that I find myself thinking and sometimes recommending during or after these meetings.
This is a random collection of a few things that come up routinely as thoughts or advice during those conversations. Do with this what you will, as this advice is worth what you’ve paid for it.
- Are you connecting with all of the people at the types of places you’d like to work / volunteer / run / whatever? Meaning, have you reached out, done a few LinkedIn searches and have a networking plan for the foreseeable future?
- Moreover, do you know who your ideal audience / workplace / company / organization looks like and where to find them? I recall reading a story last week where the would-be hire basically told the hiring manager that this was a temporary gig until something i his field came in and that he really didn’t even know what the company did. Sorry, you all know this, but that’s the wrong answer.
- Can you show a potential employer how YOU can add value, and that you’ve really thought about this and care about their business. When I interviewed at Warner Bros for the Sales Force Automation manager job, I had 4 pages of questions. I was serious. They knew I was serious about SFA and WB. I got the job. There was no real dispute who they should hire. Are you as committed to your craft and an organization?
- What variety of experience do you have? I’m a fan of getting a range of experiences so that I can add more value over the long run. When I was doing sophomore networking (or whatever we called it) I still remember a gentleman from a local company saying “go work for a big company first, learn all of the systems and processes, and then start your own company.” Solid advice, and it’s paid dividends. I can understand getting into a groove, but research has shown just how quickly that groove can become a run.
- Speaking of grooves, know when you’re in one, and know when you’re becoming stuck in a rut. I know, change is a real bitch. But seriously, the endeavor to learn is so thrilling, why not change before you need to and pursue something
- Did you think about where you want to be in 5, 10, and 40 years. I have. Yes, I have. Leaving college in 1999 – I said “MBA by 30, Ph.D by 40, teaching and consulting by 45.” That was my retirement and life plan. Things have changed. I get the fulfillment of teaching and consulting every day. I have since I was in my late 20′s. I don’t have my MBA or terminal degree yet, but I’ve already achieved the ends I was hoping to get to with those. We’ll see what happens, but the point is, have a plan, and have a l-o-n-g r-a-n-g-e plan that you’re working toward.
- Are you always learning? I know how boring business and marketing books can be to read, I read them every day. That’s also a critical component to staying on top of your field.
- Thinks about what kind of education you need to make yourself better. I just saw a resume from a person who does SEO/PPC work, and they’ve gone through all of the courses that I would send someone through if I were to upskill them on those concepts for my team. Brilliant. You’re getting the gig when everyone else is just grasping.
- Seek out feedback. Negative feedback is a bitch to take sometimes, but it’s likely the most memorable of all the feedback you’ll get and you are likely to make changes on account of that uncomfortable interaction. Thrive on change, positivity and looking forward, and no amount of negative feedback can pull you backward.
- Is your LinkedIn profile up to date? Well, I looked, and it’s not. I Google your name and your online presence, is, well, it’s shit. You need to work on that. If I look you up and can’t find you, that’s creepy. What have you been doing with your life? Have a reasonable digital presence (you don’t need to be a social media whore to have a great online presence that a would-be employer will respect).