The Marketer’s Job in an AI Future

Whether you’re talking about cognitive computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence or its more common acronym, AI, the real topic is machines doing jobs humans used to. What does that mean for marketers in an AI-dominated future? How will the human role change? Are robots going to steal marketing jobs, or elevate them?

Whether you’re talking about cognitive computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence or its more common acronym, AI, the real topic is machines doing jobs humans used to. What does that mean for marketers in an AI-dominated future? How will the human role change? Are robots going to steal marketing jobs, or elevate them?

Let’s think it through.

Luddites and Automation

Automation has always been seen as a threat to human employment. In fact, one of the first uses of sabotage against automation happened back in the 1810s. “Luddite” textile workers destroyed weaving machines that were poised to take their jobs. (Yes, that is where the term “Luddite” comes from.)

Today the alarm may be less destructive, but it’s still ringing. For example, a few months ago, PWC projected that the U.S. stands to lose 38 percent of its jobs to automation in the next 15 years. And the New York Times’s Claire Cain Miller has built her column on cataloging the negative impacts automation will have on jobs.

But these analyses focus just on job losses, and that’s not the best way to think about automation. After all, the Luddite movement was 100 years ago. While hand-weaving may not be a growth field today, the textile industry employs far more people now than it did then.

While automation changes the tasks employers will pay people to do, in the past it has not put populations truly out of work. The jobs change, but they’re still there.

Analysts are starting to see hope in the AI future on our horizon as well.

USA Today recently ran a special report on the impact of automation across the U.S. economy. And while some of the stats in it are eye-popping — PWC believes 45 percent of work activities can be automated (PDF), potentially “saving” $2 trillion in labor costs; McKinsey identified 70 jobs that could have 90 percent of their tasks handled by automation — the overall takeaway is that the economy is not collapsing, it’s changing.

How Jobs Will Change With AI

Quartz is one publication that’s taken a positive view of the impact AI will have on humans and our careers. A recent Quartz article by Dennis R. Mortensen argued that AI will elevate our jobs and “restore our humanity.”

“Each time technology ate one type of jobs, new ones appeared to take their place,” says Mortensen. “Human ingenuity did its thing, we adapted, and we survived to live (and work) another century.”

His big takeaway: “Automation will take away the parts of our jobs we don’t like and leave room for more meaningful work.

6 Strategies to Land a New Job By January 

With Halloween gone and Thanksgiving just around the corner, you can easily get distracted by all the festivities and put your job hunt on hold. It’s actually a common misconception that hiring doesn’t happen over the holidays. In reality, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Find a New Job by JanuaryWith Halloween gone and Thanksgiving just around the corner, you can easily get distracted by all the festivities and put your hunt for a new job on hold. It’s actually a common misconception that hiring doesn’t happen over the holidays. In reality, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

Last year I delivered documents for a client on November 23 and by early January, he started a new 6-figure job. The year prior, I bumped into a client in November who had been in transition for several months. I told her to not slow down her search over the holidays. She emailed me in early January to say she was starting a new position.

Hiring does happen over the holidays. Here are six ways to make the most out of the holiday season for your job hunt.

1. Ramp up Your Job Search During the Holidays

Most of your peers slow down their search because they think that “people are busy”, or “no one is in the office.” So that means there is less competition out there for you. The last quarter of the year is actually pretty active. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the hire rate for December 2015 was more than 5 percent higher than in January 2016. Oftentimes, companies have head counts that they will loose if they don’t fill it by year-end. Or they know they are getting approval to hire in January so they start searching now in order to have the new person starting in early January.

2. Re-engage Your Network With Holiday Greetings

The holidays are a perfect time to reconnect with your network — recruiters, colleagues and previous employers — and provide a reminder that you exist. It’s as easy as dropping them a note on LinkedIn, or arranging a time to meet and catch up.

3. Work the Room at Holiday Parties

Social events are pretty synonymous with the holidays. Not just family events, but events at work and any associations you may be a part of. No one is expecting you to be fishing for job leads at one of these events, so it’s easier to keep things more casual. But people feel more giving around the holidays and want to help.

If parties usually make you feel like running the opposite direction, seek out the other person standing alone and engage in some small talk. Ask some questions about their holiday traditions or their favorite thing to do over the holidays. Eventually the conversation naturally leads to, “So what do you do?” This is when you can mention your career goals or that you are looking for a new challenge.

4. Reach Out to ThirdParty Recruiters 

Lack of open positions is not the challenge for recruiters during this time of year — in fact, the challenge is in the pool of candidates drying up. Recruiters are motivated to fill any open positions by year-end so they can earn their commission. So make third-party recruiters be your secret weapon to snag an offer and have a great reason to celebrate on New Year’s Eve.

5. Be Flexible

Those involved in the hiring process may be trying to take some vacation time themselves. So if you can make yourself available you’ll likely have an advantage over your competition. This may mean you need to be willing to come back early from vacation or shift holiday plans. There is no reason to go extreme and cancel without an interview secured, though. That will just disappoint you and your family.

6. Update Your Personal Marketing Materials

Finding time to job search while you’re employed is not always easy. Make the most out of your time off and get your resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter up-to-date. Gather your reviews and make notes about the projects you’ve completed over the last 12 months. Ask your colleagues for recommendations on LinkedIn. Better yet, gift your colleagues and former managers by writing a recommendation for them, first.

It truly is the most wonderful time of the year to be in job search! Companies don’t stop hiring just because it’s the holidays. Happy job hunting!

What’s Next for Marketing Careers in Digital and Multichannel? 

It’s not too early to start thinking about what is ahead for your career with 2017 quickly approaching. What skills should you improve? How can you make yourself more appealing to potential employers, or position yourself for a promotion? To provide you with some direction, I recently spoke to executive digital and multichannel recruiting expert, Jerry Bernhart.

Jerry Bernhart, Principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC
Jerry Bernhart, Principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC

It’s not too early to start thinking about what is ahead for your marketing career with 2017 quickly approaching. What skills should you improve? How can you make yourself more appealing to potential employers, or position yourself for a promotion?

To provide you with some direction, I recently spoke to executive digital and multichannel recruiting expert, Jerry Bernhart. As principal of Bernhart Associates Executive Search, LLC, Jerry has conducted searches as well as recruited and placed top digital and multichannel marketers, with clients ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies, for more than 20 years.

Here is an edited transcript of our conversation.

Michelle Robin: How different is searching for a job today than say just two years ago?

Jerry Bernhart: Two years isn’t a lot of time. There hasn’t been a dramatic amount of difference, particularly since the recession. But I can give you some examples of what is going on in the industry today.

Right now, I am wrapping up a recent search for a manager of e-commerce — a really hot segment. When this search started two months ago, I surfaced eight to ten candidates, and I lost half of them in the first four weeks because my client couldn’t move quickly enough. This shows an enormous demand for this type of person.

With another search for a CRM (customer relationship management) manager, I had candidate who ended up with four external offers plus a counter offer. For best-of-breed talent, this is what I am seeing happen often.

Robin: What is your number one tip for job seekers looking to get ahead in their marketing career?

Bernhart: Keep learning. The beauty of digital is it makes it so easy to learn online. There is so much out there and things are moving so quickly, it’s essential to stay on top of things. The day you quit learning is the day you need to quit marketing.

If I could add another thing, I would say to be open regarding location. If you’re not living in a top metro area, look at other places. There are a lot of opportunities out there and you may not find them in your own hometown because you are in a smaller market. It’s kind of like broadcasting. The top news anchors didn’t start in New York City. So for young professionals especially, go to where the opportunities are and expand your scope of knowledge and responsibilities. Do it in small steps though, so you don’t take a big hit on the cost of living.

Robin: How important is your online brand for digital marketing professionals? Do employers actually look at your personal website, social media profiles, etc.?

Bernhart: It’s critical! You should think about your personal and online brand as often as you get your haircut. Think about it, you don’t know how long you’re going to be working at your current employer. You can’t afford to ignore your brand. If you don’t know how to brand yourself, how can you brand an organization?

The first thing human resources people do, even more than hiring managers, is Google you and look you up on LinkedIn. They may have your résumés, but the problem with résumés is you can’t always believe what is on there. So, put your personal URL on your résumé.

I have lots of candidates who have side projects. You can use that as the perfect opportunity to show a potential employer what is going on. I’ve never seen it have a negative impact on someone’s candidacy. In fact, I prefer they are upfront and transparent about it.