Employment Journey

Experience Doesn’t Mean Quite What It Used To

As I’ve stated before, I started in the online marketing industry back around 2003, when blogs were just starting to become mainstream. Myself and others of that era communicated via RSS and links and comments and other means. I started my own blog and eventually convinced my employer at the time to do likewise for the company.

Over the years I’ve contributed to a number of sites and blogs, either in my role within a company or as a freelance writer. I’ve run programs for clients both big and small and have adapted to an industry that started out with blogs and wikis and which now involves countless apps, social networks, messaging tools and more. I’ve advised clients on which platforms to adopt into programs and which to ignore and how to effectively use the former. My perspective and leadership is the result of over a decade of practical, hands-on experience.

So when I’ve been looking for full-time work I’ve been looking at job levels that are roughly equivalent to what I was doing last year at Voce: Program strategy and management. Makes sense, right? I don’t want to backslide too much, though I also understand I may not be able to come into a new position and run the show.

The problem seems to be that the “Job Requirements” section of online listings seem to be interchangeable for senior management and for entry-level content marketing staff.

Companies want 23-year olds to come in and set strategy as well as execute on that strategy. When I look at the listings for positions that are roughly equivalent to the “Account Manager” I was at Voce and which I’m eminently qualified for, I see the company doing the listing is looking for someone with two to three years of experience.

It makes me wonder: What exactly are they looking for? That 23 year old may be better at Snapchat than I am (not a high bar to clear) but will they have a perspective that’s been formed through years of daily execution, client communications, reporting and adjustments? How much of the strategic advise that’s given by these young people will be geared at creating a program that’s sustainable for a year or more and how much i just designed to be flashy and hip in the next week?

I don’t mean to imply that there aren’t recent graduates who aren’t super-bright. And I know I sound a bit like a bitter old man who’s just griping about the kids these days who are taking all the jobs. But there’s a real gap between the kind of experience that can and should inform brand strategy for online content programs and what someone who’s fresh to the workplace can provide, no matter how big a percentage of their life they’ve been using Instagram for.

That gap is one I haven’t yet been able to bridge.

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