If you’re looking to break into the industry and have your sights set on an existing job, maybe you’re not looking far enough forward.
It’s a well known fact that all sorts of industry training courses, particularly in the digital fields, are problematic because by the time someone’s recognised the content required, developed a curriculum and taught it, big chunks of it have likely become dated and possibly even irrelevant already. These days, things move fast. Really fast.
Some qualifications are outdated before you even get them!
It follows then, that regardless of the type of ‘official' training or qualifications you have, they’re already outdated. Parts of it, at least, were doomed to outdatedness before you even got to the finish line and had a chance to use them.
Same with the job you might be aiming for. By the time you get there, it may not even exist. Certainly not in its current form. At a minimum, it will require additional skills and know-how that it didn’t need this time last year. It may not even have existed as a job this time last year.
By all means set your sights on a job, and the ‘title’ that goes along with it. As the old saying goes, it’s difficult to hit a target you can’t see. So maybe you want to be a designer or a copywriter or an art director or a whatever. But don’t fall into the trap of having a static idea of what’s involved because if you do, you’ll miss out on all sorts of opportunities. And I don’t just mean miss out on existing opportunities, but miss out on yet to be created opportunities.
Eliminate the competition by creating your own job.
The job that already exists? That’s an opportunity a bunch of other people just like you are going to be competing for. The job you create? Now that one you’ve got a monopoly on.
So maybe your challenge isn’t to APPLY for a job but CREATE one. I’m not talking about something totally left-field and bizarre. An agency or design house is unlikely to employ a 'fish wrangler' any time soon. But they ARE employing social media managers which many of them weren’t doing just 12 or 18 months ago. What kind of roles will they be creating 12 months from now?
Why wait for a job to become available, then compete with a thousand other people in the job lottery when you can do your homework, find out where a business may have an expertise gap, and help them fill it?
Maybe it’s a role you’ve seen at another company that a certain company doesn’t have yet. Perhaps it’s a role they currently outsource but you can find a way to justify it being an internal role you can fill for them. Hell, it might not even be a completely new role, but rather a combination of a few different smaller roles that you can take care of.
Life, and marketing for that matter, is all about problem solving. For yourself and others. What problem can you solve for a potential employer?
Find a job gap. And fill it.
My point is, along with the existing jobs you keep an eye out for, it’s well worth keeping your OTHER eye on ‘job gaps’. The spaces between jobs. The spaces between now and the future. Having this mind set won’t just multiply the amount of opportunities you can pursue, it will also decrease the amount of competition you have to contend with. Win-win.
So go on, don’t just get out there and FIND a job, CREATE one.
About the author
Sputnik is an internationally awarded creative and brand consultant at Out of this World where he has worked on projects for some of the world’s biggest brands including Disney, Coca Cola, Unilever and The Simpsons. He is the author of 'The Swashbucklers Guide to Becoming an Astronaut' and the creator of the Job Hunter's Boot Camp.