Five Questions Marketing Professionals Should Consider When Contemplating a Job Switch
With the Great Resignation in full swing, you may be wondering if now is the time to make a career change. After all, you’ve got a few years of experience under your belt and have earned your clients or employer double-digit returns on their marketing investment. Whether you work in-house or agency side, here’s what you should consider if you’re thinking about making a move.
Are There Advancement Opportunities Where You Work?
Though another position or employer may look attractive, you may be neglecting opportunities to advance where you work. Have a candid conversation with your supervisor about your role and your ambitions. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, speak with trusted co-workers in your department or other departments who may have some insights. Keep an eye on internal job boards.
Also, consider upcoming strategic initiatives your employer is pursuing. Might a new campaign, client service offering, or sales effort necessitate the creation of a new role entirely – one that you may find appealing? It’s not the wisest decision to make a move before you are sure that what you’re looking for can’t be found where you are.
How Much Have You Accomplished Where You Work?
The last thing you want to do is start approaching potential employers with an underwhelming portfolio. If you’re looking to make a move, prospective employers will want to see evidence of accomplishment throughout your career. And if you’re not able to demonstrate the value you’ve compellingly brought to your current employer, you may want to stick around a while longer.
Take a look at the positions you want and the required and desired qualifications they list. Determine which of those qualifications you can easily demonstrate and which would be a challenge. If the latter list is long, consider sticking with your current position a little longer and tackling projects that can demonstrate those qualifications.
And if the internal politics are such that you can’t produce the kind of work hiring managers would find attractive, consider volunteering after hours for a nonprofit. You may be able to use that experience to shore up any weaknesses in your portfolio.
Pro Tip: Always provide numbers where you can. Employers love to see direct results using quantitative measures.
Are You Burned Out?
Are you looking to make a move because of burnout? If so, you should be very clear whether you’re burned out at your current employer, from agency or in-house work, or the marketing profession itself. Often, employees aren’t clear about what they are burned out from and think another job is the right solution when they need to make a different career choice entirely.
Before casting about for a new position, clearly identify your stressors. If you struggle to list them, you may want to work with a therapist, as well as a qualified career coach. A therapist can help you hone in on your professional and personal stressors.
A career coach can help you conduct a career choice assessment, which may be necessary if you find yourself asking questions like, “Is marketing the best career choice for me?” You can also find helpful information about career choice assessment tools like Venn diagram career choice analysis and personality assessment models you can do on your own.
If it is indeed your job that is the source of stress, and you cannot utilize stress management techniques to reduce your burden, take some time off to clear your head. Use the time to finalize a decision about moving on, determine what attributes and values are important to you in your next position, and consider your options.
Do You Want to Switch From Agency to In-house (or Vice Versa)?
When you switch from agency to in-house, you may be in for a bit of culture shock. Unlike working at an agency, you’re only dealing with a single client: your employer when working in-house. You’ll come to learn about the brand, business, and industry soon enough and spend your time working on it entirely.
You’ll also find that you’ll likely wear multiple hats. Those working in an agency, especially a medium-sized or large one, know that agency work is relatively structured, with staff working as specialists on specific tasks for multiple clients. But working in-house, chances are you’ll be working as a generalist, where your daily tasks could span several functional areas.
If you’re switching from in-house to agency, you should be prepared to tailor your resume and focus on a specific role.
For example, if you managed promotional campaigns at your in-house gig, you might work as an account manager for several different clients on the agency side. Your working hours and daily tasks will vary with client needs, which, depending on the agency, may make work-life balance somewhat more complex than in-house work. But rather than just learning about one brand, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about multiple brands and possibly multiple industries throughout your time in an agency.
Do You Have What it Takes to be a Compelling Candidate?
Whether you work in-house or agency-side, prospective employers will want to see evidence that you have the skills, knowledge, experience, and motivation to succeed at their firm. In addition to superior communication, team-building, and people skills, your next boss will want candidates that have a firm grasp of marketing principles, social media, as well as fundamental grasps of data analysis and analytics, SEO, and UX design principles.
Of course, the hard skills requirements will vary by position. However, any compelling marketing candidate will have solid technological proficiency and adaptability. Each day, agency and in-house marketing professionals use several different software applications. Even if you’re not familiar with the specific enterprise-wide marketing automation application a potential employer uses, you’ll be expected to get up to speed with it and any new tools the firm adopts very quickly.
You’ll also be expected to keep up with current trends in your industry, as well as marketing best practices. Some industries grow reasonably slowly, while the landscape radically shifts every year. But no matter whether you’re working on an industrial design company account or in-house at an AI company, marketing best practices evolve each day.
Creative applications of emerging technologies and new media platforms happen every day across industries. And it’s a marketer’s job to harness the insights learned and leverage them for their in-house brand or client brands.