Forging long-term relationships with our candidates means we get to know a wide range of marketers as they seek new opportunities and develop their careers.
Regardless of their level of experience, those that are most successful take ownership for continuously developing their skill set and seeking upward growth at any opportunity. In this article, we share our insights into the smart training undertaken by our most successful marketing candidates.
Know Where You’re Heading
Whether you’re an aspiring Marketing Director or you want to become a big data guru for a multinational firm, you need to know your overall aims. Each of these endpoints will require you to walk a different path to get there.
Building your CV to help you achieve your dream role takes planning.
Strategic leadership roles rely on a broader set of skills like understanding how marketing supports overall business objectives and the organisation’s financial mechanics.
If you want to become a technical specialist, a lot of your focus will be on developing hard skills. Grasping your technical area inside out will stand you in good stead. But technical know-how will only take you so far: fail to master the softer skills, like presenting, negotiating and influencing and you won’t be able to translate your knowledge to the people who have the power to make things happen.
Keep an Eye on Your Industry
In a fast-paced sector like marketing, there’s always some new technology or a new approach to keep your eye on. Even if you don’t want to specialise in tech like VR, AR, AI or machine learning you need to understand these concepts and how they could impact your job.
Even if your role seems unrelated at the moment, there’s a good chance that as new technology becomes more embedded that it will impact what you do on a day-to-day basis. Being on top of industry changes means you’re better able to prepare yourself and be competitive in the market. Subscribe to industry-related publications like Marketing Week, and keep on top of the best Marketing blogs from organisations like HubSpot, Econsultancy, Search Engine Land etc. You should also push for development opportunities with your manager and see if there is training budget to enable you to attend relevant seminars and conferences.
Communication Skills Are Crucial No Matter Your Role
Interpersonal skills will never go out of fashion. Being able to clearly articulate your thoughts verbally and in writing is critical when you need to persuade people to take a particular course of action.
This skill isn’t limited to those marketing directly to customers. Anyone who deals with people will need this skill at some point during the average working day. That includes technical back office marketing roles where the need to be able to distinctly explain complex technical concepts has never been greater.
As you progress through your career you’ll also need to be able to sell projects, gain leadership buy-in and present in a way that’s compelling and memorable.
Measure Results in Detail
As clients seek more proof of return on investment, being able to measure the results of your work will be instrumental. Looking at the bigger picture across multiple channels and finding creative ways to communicate outcomes in a strategic way will be critical at every level of the organisation.
Being able to analyse the results of a campaign or piece of work, plot out the pieces and leverage the data won’t just keep the client happy: it will help you learn. Which is great for future campaigns, your personal development and your career.
Diversify or Watch Your Career Die
You may have started out in a niche role, like a graphic designer or copywriter. But when it comes to applying for a new job or seeking promotion, if you don’t expand your knowledge you could be in trouble. Other, more knowledgeable candidates could sweep in and snatch your next career step from your grasp.
Keeping a watchful eye on your skillset is the best way to avoid this particular challenge. If some of the skills you initially developed are no longer required you need to be willing to fill in the gaps to take you up another level.
Further study might be required but with dwindling budgets, reading broadly or asking to be involved in different aspects of a project are more realistic tactics. Try attending events that are relevant to other parts of the marketing industry: if you’re a copywriter attend a design conference to give your work new perspective or vice versa.
Create a Slick Online Brand
Marketers should be good at this. But most people find that promoting themselves is much harder than promoting a clients’ offering. As you seek to move into more senior roles, you’ll be less likely to look for jobs and find it’s more likely that they’ll look for you.
Differentiating yourself will be key to attracting roles that are a good fit. Do this by ensuring that your online profile reflects your expertise and spells out your unique selling points.
It can be tempting to ignore your network until you need a job. But by this point it’s often too late as lukewarm relationships mean people are less likely to assist you.
Keeping in touch, particularly in the marketing industry, is a good way to help you find your next role; the more your network knows about what you’ve been doing and what you want to do next, the more helpful they can be.
It’s not all about your next career move. Knowing other professionals, both in the same profession as you and in related fields, is incredibly helpful when you’ve got a problem you can’t resolve. Reaching out to your network could give you the insight you need to resolve a particularly tricky problem and impress your boss.
Today’s savvy marketers need to seek out their own opportunities for growth. Regardless of whether you stay in the same role for decades or you regularly change jobs you need to ensure you adjust, adapt and change. Only then can you be sure to future-proof your career.