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36 ways to stay marketableI hate it when people lose their jobs. Not a week goes by that I don’t hear of someone getting laid off. My first thought when I hear this kind of news is, “Really?” My second thought is “uggghhh,” which then translates to a sick feeling in my stomach. These are good people who are educated, smart, experienced and high contributors. I guess it makes me crazy because I remember how I felt when I lost my job.

My content editor and friend suggests (actually insists) I only rant once in a while, every eighth post, at the most. Well, here we are. Today I want to share, rather than rant, about what is making me the most crazy these days. Why are there so many marketing people out of full-time jobs?

What’s the deal? At least anecdotally we know that when the economy is slow people cut their marketing budgets and then their people. If marketers are the lead in crafting brand message, analysis, lead generation, PR and more, how can it possibly be a good decision to let them go?

My question to businesses is this: Why are you shedding these people now, when things are supposedly looking better?

My question to marketing professionals is this: Given what you know about today’s climate in your industry, how do you reinvent yourself to land your next job or lessen the chance of being laid off? If you are among the group who has never lost your job, read on, you want to be prepared, just in case.

Reinvent Yourself — 37 Tips

  1. Understand who you are⎯Take a Meyers Briggs, Woofound, DISC, Caliper, Predictive Index*, Taylor Protocols*, TTI Success Insights* and know how you are wired. It will help you determine where your strengths are, where you best fit in a company and the amount of risk you are inherently comfort taking.
  2. Draft your own marketing plan⎯Remember, you are a brand, write your own marketing plan.
  3. Look Remarkable⎯
    • Update your LinkedIn Profile with a PROFESSIONAL photo.
    • Create a personal Gravatar.
    • Consider creating a blog.
    • Sign up for Google authorship.
    • Manage your main social networks professionally.
    • Complete and optimize your LinkedIn Profile (no, LinkedIn does not go under social networks). This is your business base camp.
    • Read our how-to LinkedIn blog posts.
    • Understand how to navigate LinkedIn well, see above.
    • Start conversations in LinkedIn.
  4. Diversify your network⎯ Know some recruiters and HR managers (value is found in the strength of your network).
  5. Tune in and turn up the volume⎯ And share some content.
  6. Volunteer⎯So many nonprofits, trade associations and more need your expertise. Share it and in return, ask for a LinkedIn recommendation (not a skills endorsement, a recommendation) and the opportunity to showcase your work as a Project in LinkedIn.
  7. Take an online class⎯From YouTube to TED to the Khan Academy to iTunes U, there are classes and learning opportunities everywhere. Craft a plan and schedule learning time each week. You will be more well versed and interesting.
  8. Create opportunities to experiment⎯Your volunteering efforts (see above) are a great place for experimenting. Ask if they are open to trying something new. If so, treat it like a new campaign. go to work, and then write up a case study.
  9. Identify challenger companies⎯They are more likely to experiment or be open to talking with someone who has established general experience.
  10. Network⎯If you’re an emerging professional, you should be in network gathering mode. If you are more experienced you are (or should be) more interested in strategic networking, building a highly-engaged network. Make sure it’s diverse.
  11. Understand the skills that are necessary⎯Go to LinkedIn Skills  and understand the skills that are in demand; then compare those skills with your own.
  12. Translate your skills and experience⎯Know what you know …  and own it. How can you translate traditional lead generation to online lead generation? How do you translate leadership of a team into leadership for a start-up? Think it through and become confident in what you know.
  13. Understand emerging marketsWhich industries are growing? Which trends are sticking and which ones are on the way to hitting their tipping point? I remember when LinkedIn hit its tipping point. It was seven years after LinkedIn launched. Don’t give up too early.
  14. Become a practitioner⎯ A person actively engaged in an art, discipline, or profession. If you are used to having a team of people executing your strategy think again. In today’s world you need to know which button to push to make it happen. The more you are versed in today’s productivity and business tools, the more marketable you are. This means well beyond the Microsoft suite.
  15. Outline your personalized professional development plan⎯Know what you know (see above) and know and what you DON’T…and own it all. Write up a professional development plan for what you need to know, where and how you are going to learn it, and attach a date of completion. Many companies have slashed their training budgets. No worries, create your own ONGOING training plan.
  16. Be curious⎯Look at different industries, talk to and know professionals in different roles, learn about various cultures and ask questions, see #7, click any video, step out.
  17. Learn, learn, and learn some more⎯Tell someone you don’t have time for reading and learning, and it tells them all they need to know. You won’t move them ahead because you don’t move yourself ahead. It’s a knowledge economy and information abounds, there is no longer an access issue just an attitude issue.
  18. Leave your office or your house⎯Wherever I go I meet people. I strike up conversations because I never know who I should know. Last night my husband and I met a couple from Miami who were in town to settle their son in at a local university. They were interesting and although we may never see them again, we’ll probably connect on LinkedIn.
  19. Change the lens⎯Look at your role from the position of the CEO, owner, human resources director. What type of person and skills would they need for a particular  position to move their business forward, to reach their next big goal? Consider what you might have to do to adjust your skills to meet those business needs.
  20. Connect the dots⎯How do you work with others? How do you move beyond your functional silo and collaborate with other areas in the company? Connect the dots so that you are seen as important to the entire organization.
  21. Research trends⎯Read trend reports and consider how comfortable and ready you are for what’s coming.
  22. Watch TED talks⎯One of my favorite sources of insight, knowledge and inspiration. People are doing amazing work. Watch and then think about how you can apply what you saw to your world and experience.
  23. Inspire others⎯Turn dust into energy, see the blessing you have and pull yourself up, practice positive thinking.
  24. Find someone who has done this successfully, ask them how they did it⎯When I lost my job I asked everyone who was out on their own how they transitioned and what the hardest part was. It was invaluable insight.
  25. Find someone young to meet with regularly for mentoring⎯I meet with young professionals in various industries because I want to learn from them. I want to know the apps they use, how they work, the tools they use. I love learning from them. Call a university or a young professionals group like the United Way’s Emerging Leaders United
  26. Determine your level of entrepreneurshipNot everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. That’s ok, but you should be in control of your career. Decide whether your more comfortable in a start-up, small to mid-sized, large business, or government. They all require different skill sets and levels of risk.
  27. Redefine who you are⎯Your past success is no longer an indicator of your future success. Realize it and redefine who you are. As long as you have something to support and substantiate your success, you will be fine.
  28. Change the role⎯Define business development vs marketing. Some of the best salespeople I know and have hired have a marketing background. In my opinion, one of the biggest differences between business development (sales) and marketing is that business development lands in the revenue column and marketing lands in the expense column. Can you craft a new role?
  29. Consider yourself a brand⎯Social media promotes this idea and LinkedIn takes it to another level. Scope out who you are and be it.
  30. Identify your value propositionWhat do you bring to every conversation, every business encounter? What do people remember about what you deliver, what you say? That’s your value proposition.
  31. Craft your own personal/professional mission statement⎯This was hard for me but in the end I think my mission sticks. My mission is to empower others to empower themselves. Good personally and professionally.
  32. Quantify what you deliver⎯Have some metrics that you can use to discuss and highlight your analytical and measurement skills. This is increasingly important for marketing professionals. Because there was so little marketing measurement  ten years ago, marketers didn’t realize fast enough that they are as responsible for numbers and results as sales professionals.
  33. Specialize in something⎯Whether its CRM, a particular software program, coding, marketing automation, compliance law, etc., have a specialty to highlight. The generalist maybe at a disadvantage today.
  34. Change the conversation⎯Don’t start by saying you are looking for a job. Position yourself for employment. Start the conversation by sharing what you offer and how you have helped others increase results or decrease costs with your expertise.
  35. Watch The Start-Up of You presentation
  36. Start-up of You, Visual Summary from Reid Hoffman
  37. Now read The Start-Up of You.
  38. These articles recently appeared in USA Today, America’s most popular six-figure jobs, Top 10 most disappearing jobs in the USA and At Work: Job, self-esteem tied tightly together.

People often comment on how I have continued to reinvent myself. I laugh because four years ago people asked me why I had so many different jobs. I am nothing if not adaptable. Reinventing is not easy. It takes work, thought, and vigilance. But it can be done. What have you done to stay relevant or reinvent yourself? Send us a comment with your story, or a favorite resource or book, and we will continue to add to the list and make this as current as it can be.

Note: I just read How To Make Entrepreneurs in the September 5, 2013 Wall St. Journal. This quote stands out.



Another article that’s not so encouraging for advertising and promotions managers.