With the marketing and digital space forever evolving, there’s an increase in demand for employers to engage with marketers that can bring a variety of skills and experience to their team. I often speak with candidates that have worked within their sectors for some time and are looking to change sectors, however, they don’t know how. The answer… contracting!
Recently I had lunch with a candidate who I placed in a contract role within a new sector outside his experience. Over lunch, we were discussing why it’s important to try different sectors and markets, and how he achieved this. Below are his thoughts and responses.
As a marketer with over ten years industry experience, what value do you see in moving sectors and trying different markets?
Marketing fundamentals remain the same across various industries. However, you get to learn so much about a different sector and different customers. It builds your skill set, increases your marketing knowledge and ability and positions you as a broader marketer and therefore can increase your value to potential employers. I have now worked in marketing roles in accounting, education, and automotive sectors and each one is different. You also get to take ideas from one role to the other and try something ‘new’.
How has taking on contracting roles assisted you in your career in recent years?
Contract roles are a great way to try new industries and use it as a pathway to break into them. It lowers the risk for the employer and thus, they are more willing to try an ‘outsider’. It is, however, a steep learning curve. You don’t have the luxury of time to learn over a long period. Contracting also allows you to experiment with trying roles you wouldn’t typically think of doing. Contracting has helped me grow my skills within the industry and gain a variety of skills.
How has taking on contract roles in different sectors improved your skills and helped you advance your career?
Contracting has helped me learn about different industries and how customers are so different. I have also learnt new skills by challenging myself to adapt and apply my marketing expertise to different industries. Some industries have long customer cycles and journeys while others have more quick wins. It’s all about learning how to market the right way.
How did you overcome the “seeking industry experience” when moving sectors?
The key is to focus on your skills and clearly outline examples of what you have achieved and how you achieved it. Don’t just try to sell yourself. Instead, put yourself in the employer’s shoes when engaging with a possible opportunity. Instead of just trying to tell them about your skills, show value by aligning your skills with their needs. Also, sometimes reaching out to industry people doesn’t hurt. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to give feedback or meet for a coffee.
What would your advice be to other marketers out there who would love to change industries, but don’t know how?
Just do it! Challenge yourself and your skills. You should know why you want to change industries and do your research. You can think about transferable industries; i.e. Banking to Energy or Tourism to Entertainment. If it’s an area you’re passionate about be sure to know what attracts you. You can also look at your industry peers and see what sectors that may have worked across and get their advice.