ECommerce Career Help – 5 Top Tips
Are you stuck in a web/marketing job with no way up the career ladder? Often it’s the work environment itself that can be a limiting factor, such as having too many experienced peers ahead of you or a manager who doesn’t see the need to develop their employees.
It’s easy to get stuck in a negative mindset, so that career help is seen as something out of your control unless you do something drastic (e.g. quit your job then run your keys down the side of your boss’s car). Thankfully there are steps you can take to move up – so read on.
1. Boost your reputation
To get ahead, you need to be noticed by those who can make an impact on your career in a positive way, and this can be effectively done by developing or improving your personal brand. This means doing more professional things with the goal of career path advancement in mind – particularly your reputation. The end game for bolstering your personal brand depends on who you are trying to impress such as your boss, a recruiter or an investor but the approach is largely the same.
Most importantly, any advancement in your personal brand must be authentic otherwise you’ll struggle, be miserable and probably give up. There’s a balance to be had between pushing yourself out of your comfort zone (a good thing) with doing things that bore, or depress you (not a good thing). You need to enjoy your career if you’re going to succeed in it, and if you don’t then the sooner you realise this, the sooner you can seriously consider changing careers.
A reasonable balance would be to spend 90% of your personal brand time focused on the areas of your career that interest or inspire you, and only 10% on “weaker” areas which you feel you need to develop. The reasoning for this is simple – you’ll develop much more quickly and convincingly in the areas you enjoy. If you can, try to address your weaker areas of knowledge through your job – are there additional responsibilities you can take on? Are you able to sit in on meetings related to this area so you can begin to learn? Can you start blogging or tweeting about your work?
2. Keep your finger on the pulse
I spend 10-20% of my working week reading ECommerce and web technology blogs and I’m sure that’s not enough. If you work in ECommerce, or with web technologies and want a progressive career then you absolutely must be keeping up to date. The idea that reading or researching isn’t possible because you have “too much work to do” is a dangerous misnomer. Rather, the work that you do should be significantly informed by the research that you are doing.
If you aren’t researching, and you’re relying on others then your potential creativity is going to be stunted. For example, you might be an email marketer who feels trapped in a junior role but doesn’t feel they have the experience to interview well for a more senior role in another company. In this instance you should be trawling Twitter and Marketing Blogs to find anything new – and as soon as you do, bring it up at work and you’ll look awesome. Career help comes from within.
3. Develop into a leader
The need to read ECommerce blogs and articles in your own time goes without saying, but there’s a lot to be said for doing it at work when you’re surrounded by your colleagues/employees and can spark up a debate, which is a great leadership opportunity. If this happens, lead the debate – but listen to others and be interested in their opinions. Doing this frequently will establish you as someone with leadership qualities and you will earn respect as your opinion begins to be sought after.
Here’s a decent article on how to explore your leadership qualities.
4. Be bold, get interviewed
If you’re genuinely unhappy with your job and have been for more than 8 weeks then you should be considering your options. Although often stressful, going for interviews is a great experience and is definitely worth doing. It’s also a great way to build your network.
If you’re simply looking for a pay rise, it’s also a great negotiation tactic. If you’re good at your job and your company can afford to pay you your role’s market rate then they’re potentially looking at a 20% recruitment fee plus an increased salary for a replacement, plus the loss of productivity in training up your replacement. If you can position yourself as having other career options then you’re more likely to get a raise.
There is a significant health warning to this advice though! If you are going to threaten to leave, then you must follow through if you don’t get the raise you want in your current job. Don’t bluff unless you want to never, ever get a pay raise again and for your manager to regard you as a petulant so-and-so.
5. Meet and greet
Get networking – It doesn’t even need to be in person (i.e. social media), but networking is the most powerful way to raise your personal brand. Connect with like-minded individuals on Twitter, go to local meet ups for your industry, seek advice and you will be rewarded for your efforts.
Companies will almost always hire people they know or who are recommended by people they know over complete strangers. That goes for every walk of life – from hiring a recommended plumber, to going to a recommended restaurant, in fact it’s an under pinning feature of Social Media and the web today. The more people you know and the more help you can give them, the more likely your ECommerce/marketing career or retail career is going to benefit.
Networking 101: Don’t try to be someone you aren’t, don’t try too hard be funny and try to help other people before you ask for help from them.
Are there any areas that I’ve missed? What other ways are there to kick start a tech/marketing career that’s hit the wall?
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