Here's how to start taking control of your job today if you're used to flowing with the flow or relying on luck.
Have you ever thought to yourself:
- I'm hoping to obtain the job.
- I'm hoping for a raise.
- I'm hoping for a raise at work.
- If layoffs occur, I hope that I will not be laid off.
For the first half of my 25+ years in digital marketing, I surely believed this. People advised me to develop goals and take charge of my own destiny. However, I did not heed their advice. What's the end result? I was lagging behind my peers. People I helped advance in their careers were promoted ahead of me.
If you recall nothing else from this post, keep this in mind: you are in charge of your own career. Continue reading for four suggestions to help you take control.
Expand your professional contacts.
"It's not what you know, but who you know," as the old adage goes. Individuals prefer to work with people they know and trust, and this is true. That is why networking, both online and in person, is so crucial.
Referrals can be quite useful in a variety of situations, not simply when you're looking for work. Referrals from folks I met at conferences led to all three of my agency gigs.
For professional networking, LinkedIn is the go-to internet site. When looking for or studying possible applicants, hiring managers and recruiters frequently go there first. Every week, at least one or two recruiters look at my profile.
As a result, make sure your LinkedIn page is up to date. Use a headshot that appears to be professional. Fill out every field you can, from your employment history to your training and other experience. Optimize your profile in the same way as you would any other website you work on for a client.
In-person networking has become more difficult in recent years, but it is far from impossible. Make use of professional and more general groups in your area (e.g., Chamber of Commerce, business development). Friendships and networking opportunities might be found through public service organizations such as the Elks or the American Legion.
Continue your studies.
Change is unavoidable. This is unquestionably true in digital marketing, where search engine algorithms are modified on a daily basis, sponsored search strategies are constantly evolving, and website technology is constantly changing. You will lag behind if you are not a constant student of your craft.
It is necessary to read. It not only allows you to learn more about your job, but it also allows you to broaden your horizons and think in new ways.
According to many statistics, most people quit reading nonfiction books once they complete their official schooling. Some of the assertions may be overdone. Nonetheless, according to Pew Research, approximately a fifth of American adults had not read a book in the preceding year. Don't be a part of the gang!
It's also a good idea to read about things other than work. Biographies, self-help books, and other works may be useful.
Going through digital marketing websites is a part of my reading program. On my iPad, I use the Feedly app to read the RSS feeds of Search Engine Land, Search Engine Roundtable, and other digital marketing sites. I rely on the news and perspectives I get from such sources to keep up with my education.
Professional conferences are an excellent method to further your education while also improving your networking abilities. Many conferences have remained virtual, while others are beginning to revert to in-person meetings. When you're just getting started, it's best to stick to conferences with sessions that will assist you improve your skills.
Learn about other parts of your trade later, when you've gained more expertise. Knowing at least the basics of how different aspects of digital marketing function has been one of the things that has helped me in my profession. It's incredibly beneficial to be able to assist in the development of a comprehensive strategy.
"Have you ever been to an SEO conference?" tweeted digital marketing guru Joe Hall recently. If that's the case, tell me about your favorite presentation. What was it about, exactly? What did you enjoy about it?"
"There have been many," I said. The ones that make me think about things in new ways that I can use to my career are the ones I appreciate the best."
That was my real intention. There are just too many people whose conference presentations have helped me do my job better to mention in tweets.
Finally, if you're handling SEO or website development, create your own website. It's surprising how much you can learn just by messing around with a website that doesn't have the same level of risk as a client's website. All you have to do is put aside a few hundred dollars each year. Another option to get a website is to volunteer for a charity that you believe in. They will appreciate your help, and you will have a platform to practice your skills on.
Always be prepared for your next assignment.
Job hunting can feel like a full-time job in and of itself, and you never know when you'll need to do so. If that time comes, having an up-to-date resume on hand will be beneficial.
For your resumes, stay away from fancy templates. A parser system is used by many automated recruitment systems to import resumes into their applicant management system. The importation of the data will be completely thrown off by any fancy formatting. It's fine to email a neatly prepared version, but if you're asked to upload a copy, keep it simple.
Before applying for a position, read the entire job description. Never rely solely on a job title to guide you. Otherwise, you'll be wasting both the recruiting manager's and your own time.
SEO specialists are known as "analysts" at some firms. I can't tell you how many resumes I received from people who specialized in data analytics due of the job title, no matter how well I phrased the job description to make it obvious it was an SEO job. Finally, I instructed our recruiter to conduct a text search on all resumes. I didn't want the person given to me for consideration if neither "SEO" nor "search engine optimization" were detected.
Find a work that makes you happy.
It's amazing how many individuals work jobs they despise just to make ends meet. I understand that this is sometimes required, but if you despise your job, you have the option to find something else.
Many of the folks I know have entirely remade themselves and switched careers. It's fine to do so. You must choose a work that pays the bills and motivates you to get out of bed in the morning rather than dreading Mondays.
While we can't all generate money from our interests, it is always possible to incorporate something you enjoy into a job that pays well. Learning to work on your strengths, I feel, is a part of this recipe. While it's important to recognize and improve weak areas in your work, staying in a job where you struggle is detrimental for your long-term mental health.
Being a part of a team with a positive culture is a terrific way to feel fulfilled at work. "The Great Resignation" is certainly something you've heard or read about. In a recent Forbes article, Sesil Pir argued that what's going on is what she calls "The Great Awakening." People are realizing that they don't have to work in a dreary, dead-end job for a company that doesn't care about them.
While pay and title advancements are desirable, they should not be the primary emphasis of your work. Yes, you should be paid for your contributions to an organization, but money and titles aren't everything.
Finally, it's nice to be able to look oneself in the mirror and know that you're doing valuable and satisfying job.
In conclusion, make oneself indispensable.
If you haven't heard it before, keep in mind that hope isn't a plan. Now is the ideal opportunity to take control of your professional destiny. You want to make yourself "indispensable," as Seth Godin put it in his book of the same name.