If you’re not already part of the gig economy, chances are even you will be before much longer.
Yes, within the next couple years, half of us will be working in short-term jobs.
The global HR company Randstad calls us “agile workers”– people who work in a temporary, contract , consultant or freelance capacity.
The Chicago Tribune’s Rex Huppke says even the Randstad experts were surprised by how quickly this trend is taking off.
In 2012, less than a fifth of companies were looking to build an agile workforce. This year, it’s up to 46%. And they say it’ll be at least half by 2019.
So they’re predicting a shift away from the old model: working for the man for 25, 30 years and retiring with a gold watch.
Instead, Randstad says we’ll each have a series of “work experiences” where we’re hired to help with a short-term project and then we’re on our way to the next thing.
They predict, “Work is going to shift more and more…to be a collection of experiences that an employee will gather throughout the course of their lives.”
I must be way ahead of my time! I’ve been gathering experiences on this “agile” path for years. Not always by choice, I might add.
Here’s the question. How, exactly, do we “gather” these work experiences? With all the other agile workers out there, how do you get to be the one who does the gathering? How do you make sure they choose you?
Start thinking like a marketer right now.
This is a stretch for a lot of people, including me. But especially for those who’ve relied on traditional resume language or proposal-ese to land their next position.
Two stories come to mind.
I read a friend’s resume last week. Summary went like this: “Collaborative professional with expertise in the definition, development and execution of holistic B2B marketing campaigns to drive branding, lead generation, and ROI.”
Blahblahblah. Yes, I know, it’s standard resume lingo. And it couldn’t be less interesting.
(Ironically, the guy’s a marketing professional. It seems a lot of marketers don’t apply what they know when they’re selling themselves.)
Here’s my substitute summary: “If you could use better branding, more leads and bigger ROI, we should talk. I define, develop and execute holistic B2B marketing campaigns that do all that and more.”
Still not perfect, but much more engaging, right? It uses “you” before “I.” Verbs instead of nouns. And Results (branding, leads, ROI) before Process (define, develop and execute campaigns).
Whether we’re hoping for a long-term corporate position or a freelance opportunity, we have to capture someone’s attention and interest before we have any hope of persuading them that we’re “the one.”
And the old way just doesn’t do that.
Example 2. I changed my cover photo on Facebook to a slightly silly picture of me speaking—and crinkling up my nose.
My friend Lauren Milligan instantly commented …
Lauren Milligan: THIS should be your LinkedIn profile picture.
Catherine Johns: Really? I mean, it’s definitely me. But it’s not the professional headshot that people use on LinkedIn.
Lauren Milligan: Exactly.
Now I’ve read all the advice that your LinkedIn photo should be a professional headshot. Not a vacation picture, not a candid shot of you at a party. A conventional, serious, posed headshot.
And I haven’t really questioned that.
But Lauren is an expert. She writes resumes and LinkedIn profiles for clients.
And she got me thinking. Maybe all the standard advice is wrong?
Maybe being less conventional and less traditional is in fact a better strategy for standing out, making an impression and, ultimately, being the one they choose.
Maybe that’s the way to be the “agile worker” who gets the work.
And … maybe you’re a traditionalist and this idea of marketing your way into a position goes against the grain. Tell us about it, or to share your story about making the marketing shift.