The truth is, if you’re a marketer with any career ambition at all, then you should always be keeping one eye open for job opportunities. Even if you’re content with your current job, you never know when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity could come your way. A new job could mean more satisfaction, new challenges, greater opportunity, and better compensation that you hadn’t even considered were within your reach.
It’s hard for great marketers to vigilantly watch for job opportunities—they’re usually too engrossed with their own work and busy lives to make time for it. That’s why it’s important put yourself in a situation where great opportunities are more likely to cross your radar and make themselves apparent. Constantly grow your network to include key decision makers, executive recruiters for marketing, and other dynamic marketers like yourself. Keep your resume, LinkedIn profile, and your online presence up to date. And for goodness’ sake, pick up the phone when an experienced marketing recruiter calls.
You should always be looking for that next step forward for your career, regardless of what year it is. But there are several factors at play that make 2016 even more fertile than most years for marketing career growth:
Job Opportunities are Growing Steadily
Even just a few years ago, marketing departments and agencies everywhere were seeing hiring freezes and layoffs. In a weak economy, marketing is often among the first expenses to be cut, and professionals in our industry certainly felt the squeeze. But this trend has reversed, and is poised to carry through 2016.
With the advent of better attribution and better ROI tracking capabilities, many organizations are finally able to nail down the impressive returns of many innovative digital marketing tactics and are rushing to find people who can carry them out. Many of the most in-demand experts are in marketing or closely related digital and analytics fields. There are many marketing roles with an employment gap numbering in the tens of thousands of unfilled jobs.
Steadily Improving Compensation
In most industries right now, unemployment is shrinking and job opportunities are increasing. But in many cases, salaries and compensation packages have stagnated. As executive recruiters for marketing, we’ve found the marketing field to be defying this trend, with most high-skill positions seeing upward trending compensation.
If you’re an experienced marketer that’s kept their skillset relevant and hasn’t been on the job market for some time, you might well be surprised by how much new hires with a similar position are making in the market.
And salary isn’t the only way marketers are seeing gains. If you have a hard-to-come-by skill, you’re in a tremendous position of power to negotiate for better terms in other aspects of compensation as well. And you could move to a position with a more manageable workload, or one that provides more flexibility with time off and telecommuting: a huge portion of the jobs with the best work-life balance now are marketing-related jobs.
See The List: The 10 Top Marketing Jobs for Work-Life Balance
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New This Year
If you’re truly talented and a hard worker, odds are good that there’s a near-perfect marketing job out there for you somewhere right now. The catch is: it might not be nearby. It could be on the other side of the city. Or the state. Or the country.
It can be intimidating to consider moving to a brand new company or even a whole new city, especially if you’ve been working comfortably in your current situation for a long time. But don’t undersell your ability to adapt to a new environment and thrive. New adventures and challenges are a great way to grow both professionally and personally. You might surprise yourself with how well you do in a new location.
If you’ve just started a new role in the past year, it’s probably not a good idea to invest a lot of time into considering a new job elsewhere. There are no hard-and-fast rules on this, but in general you should try to avoid leaving a job until you’ve spent at least a couple of years there (unless the job is just truly awful, making you miserable and stunting your growth).
Hopping from one job to the next is common among marketers, and it can hurt your career opportunities further down the line. Chasing a slightly better salary now could tell future employers that you’re not reliable and can’t be counted on to stick around and see the job through. If you’re in the position, maybe you should focus on delivering great work now, and save looking for opportunities for 2017.