I hate to break it to you but – there are no longer jobs for life.
As technology progresses ever faster, jobs, professions, and industries inevitably become obsolete. What does this mean for those of us already immersed in the marketing profession and for those who want to break in?
Having worked with thousands of marketers from organisations of all sizes around the world, here are 7 tips that I have picked up along the way to help you survive and thrive in a fast-changing world.
# 1 – Big Picture Thinking
London taxi drivers did not wake up until it was too late – Uber changed the world as they knew it, and cabbies were left wondering where all their customers had gone. The 1000s of Kodak employees in Rochester, New York thought they had jobs for life until digital photography rendered them obsolete (ironically by Kodak’s own invention).
It is time to think big and look at the industries we are in. We need to assess the big drivers of change; is there opportunity to be had or is it time to get out (or avoid getting in)?
# 2 – Find Your Passion
There has been a generational shift in attitude towards the work we do. It is no longer enough to work just to earn money. For many of us, we need to believe we are doing meaningful work for meaningful pay. That means we need to find organisations whose purpose is more than just to make money. The employer has to be contributing to society at a higher level.
Whilst these are lofty ideals, they are not unrealistic. To help you get started, just ask yourself ‘What work would I do for nothing?’
On a personal note, I love helping people and organisations realise untapped potential through coaching, training and consultancy. Loving what I do has made the hard days bearable, and the good days life affirming!
Also, getting good at what you love doing will significantly increase how much people are willing to pay you to do it.
# 3 – Small Picture Thinking
This might seem contradictory to point 1, but on a personal level it is important to find your niche – often the more specific the better.
At school we were all taught about ‘Bell curves’ with the implicit assumption that it was safe to be part of the majority i.e. in the middle of the bulge. But as Seth Godin so brilliantly articulates, being average is a sure way to failure. We have to be brave and stand out from the crowd. In other words, to be safe we need to be exceptional. Find your niche and get brilliant at it.
# 4 – Network
Despite the advances of social media, real relationships still matter. With the digital onslaught, real relationships matter more than ever. I have seen far too many young marketers hiding behind technology, too fearful of possible real-life rejection.
An online first impression is passive, formulaic and forgettable. So, taking an active role in making your first impression requires you to be brave – do it face to face! Go to industry events, reach out to key influencers in your industry and attend live training so you can meet real people in real life.
Building your online profile is important but building a trusted network of experts who can help, advise and even recommend you to new employers is essential.
# 5 – Build Your Profile
Be prolific. Get writing, get broadcasting, get presenting. Having a CV is not enough. Building your body of work will build your credentials. If a wave of Youtubers can generate huge followings for such obscure activities as opening boxes on camera, it is time to realise there is an audience for everything. So, find your niche, create meaningful content and build your multimedia profile.
# 6 – Ask for Advice
Too often we (particularly men) let pride get in the way when asking for help. Yet, most senior managers that I have met, really do like giving out advice. Giving advice makes us feel important and boosts the ego. So, tap into this human condition. Reach out (best by old-fashioned letter) to industry experts and ask their advice. Explain why you’ve reached out to each person specifically, and ask them about the big industry trends and your possible skills gaps.
# 7 – Never Stop Learning
Comfort breeds complacency. In such volatile times, we need to be pro-active. Challenge yourself to learn new things. But, it is not enough just to learn! Knowledge is worthless if it does not change your behaviour. Reflect on what you have learned, write down what needs to change and then carry out those changes. Repeat until this becomes a habit.
Learning in isolation is not easy. Coaches help me develop, by picking me up on what I am doing wrong and holding me accountable.
If you think some of these ideas might be useful (or even if you want to challenge me), get a ticket to one of our upcoming events:
Come to our free breakfast Career Kickstarter event!
Or, if you’re not a morning person, book yourself a spot on our Career Strategy Masterclass!