Career Development, Career planning
Q: ‘I’ve been working in customer service for a while now but I realise that I want to go into more of a marketing account manager role. I have tried a few interviews but I keep being told I don’t have the agency experience to do the job. What I am I doing wrong?’
A: Let’s start off by saying you are not doing anything wrong; you just may need to change your approach if you want to change career. If you are thinking about changing jobs, there are several areas you need to be confident with to ensure success.
Before we go into the steps, I want you to be confident in what you can do and what you can achieve. You are going to feel nervous, but it’s because you may be operating outside of your comfort zone. These feelings are normal.
The process of leaving your safe place and the feelings that come with it are part of the thrill of switching careers. It’s the exciting part, the part to be embraced; it’s the reason why you probably got bored of your current career and are seeking a change.
So let’s look at some of steps you may wish to look into if you want to change career.
Define your brand
Firstly, you need to understand who you are. You need to define your personal brand. Think about your marketable qualities, think about your strengths, think about your values, think about your passions. You need to understand who you are before you can really, so that you make the right move.
Where do you want to be?
Work out where you want to be; but make sure that it is realistic. You still need to match the preferences of the recruiter, so whatever it is you want to do, make sure that you have the skill set that employers are looking for. And if you don’t, then think of how you can up-skill to gain new skills, so you become more of a fit.
You’ve said you like the idea of working for a marketing agency. See if you can get hold of a few job descriptions for this role and start to see the experience and qualities they are looking for and reconcile against the skills you have. You should, in theory, be left with a list of areas you need to start getting some experience in.
Use social media. Social media is your friend. No matter what role it is you want to go into, what sector, what industry; start making those connections online. Use Twitter or LinkedIn – these are very powerful tools if you’re getting started.
Agencies are known for their digital work, and they are hugely social media literate. So start building up your reputation for sharing the latest marketing news or share your opinions.
Follow people on Twitter who are really active in the marketing space to start seeing what the external market is sharing.
If you are keen to read around the subject I would suggest checking out Smart Insights it’s a great marketing tool to introduce you to some of the theory you’d be expected to know.
Tailor your application for the customer
Make sure your CV is up to date, and more crucially, make sure it’s tailored for the role that you want to apply for. If you are changing a careers and potentially do not have the required experience you need to work a bit harder in showing the employer just how awesome you are. How much of a right fit you are for the company.
When it comes to the application, at the end of the day you need to ‘sell’ to the employer; you need to show why you are the right choice and why you are not a risk.
I.E. you may be great at creative problem solving or they may have just secured a client in the manufacturing industry and you may have a great insight into this industry because of your previous experience. That means you know how to talk to these people.
I really can’t stress to you the importance of tailoring the CV especially when you want to change careers. You need to remove any slight doubt they may have!
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