Did your career and professional development take a back seat to the many demands and evolving priorities in 2020? What does the future of work look like for marcom professionals, and how can you adapt – and thrive – in this new environment? Whether you’re trying to land your next gig, expand your network or get serious about professional development in the New Year – join industry veteran and career enthusiast, Bridgette Borst Ombres for a discussion on personal branding and how to get refocused on your career goals.
Amy Alyson Teller: Could start by addressing some of the key differences in job searching pre-versus-post pandemic.
Bridgette Borst Ombres: We're working differently, we're collaborating differently, and we're prioritizing differently. How we approach career development and, more specifically, the way we job search, that's changed. I was reading an article this morning that for many workers, the nine to five will become the three, two, two. If you're not familiar with that it's three days in the office, two days remote and then two days off and some employers might even cut down to a four-day workweek all together. Change is the name of the game right now. I'm really interested to see how that plays out, but in terms of the differences that we're seeing pre-pandemic, we actually attended industry conferences in person, believe it or not, and now I sit behind my computer screen. I'll add that it's important to get comfortable in front of the camera. If you're someone who typically shies away from the camera or you don't always think that you present yourself in the best way on camera, now is the time to practice because I don't see that going away anytime soon. Another big change that we are seeing on the job front is that the competition has increased, because employers are more open to remote work arrangements now. And that means that there is suddenly a wider net of candidates that they can consider. I think that location has become less of a factor for many employees over the past few years, but that became even more so the case since the pandemic.
Amy Alyson Teller: What advice would you have for someone who is interested in changing careers or wants to create a new direction for themselves?
Bridgette Borst Ombres: I'm actually Matthew McConaughey’s autobiography called "Green Lights,” and in it he talks about his own experience with changing career directions. He says persist, pivot or concede, it's up to us. And that's just it. We all have choices as we consider a new start. My counsel to folks is to first think about what you're searching for in your next position. Create a list of what is most important to you, because the average person works somewhere in the ballpark of 90,000 hours. So, it would be nice if that time was spent doing something that you actually love. I would encourage folks to identify three to four people who have the job you want. That allows you to get informed about what it takes to have that job title. That homework pushes you to learn, it gives you a benchmark and it allows you to take steps forward. People cannot help open doors for you if they don't hear you knocking, so lean on your mentors. If you don't have mentors, get them. Make that a priority because these are the folks who are going to help guide you.
Amy Alyson Teller: What are some ways that job seekers can become more visible and really differentiate themselves in the new year?
Bridgette Borst Ombres: Do what you say you're going to do and practice, keeping your cool. If you don't take anything else away from this please remember that because too many people don't do what they say they're going to do and they don't know how to keep their cool. If you can do those two things, you are really doing yourself a favor. You want to reach out to your connections. Make them aware of your career goals. Oftentimes, people want to help, but they can't help if they don't know what you're working towards. And in our job market of public relations and marcom, employers expect to see online presence. Be sure to invest time to grow your professional brand on LinkedIn. Leverage the capabilities of that platform to create articles and post content regularly. When we talk about engaging your network, I want to make sure that folks know that when you comment on other people's LinkedIn posts, it enhances your visibility in two ways. Number one, you stay on people's radar because you’re popping up in the news feed more because that's just how the algorithm works. And number two, recruiters and others go to your all activity.
Amy Alyson Teller: What guidance can you offer recent graduates on how to best build a career and grow their network and the era of remote work and virtual events?
Bridgette Borst Ombres: You might want to look at setting a goal to make let's say 10 new connections on LinkedIn every day. Maybe you push yourself to join one to two professional groups over a 90-day period or identify three professional mentors. Maybe you look at places like LinkedIn or HubSpot that offer free online learning courses and set a goal for yourself. Those are things that I think you should be considering if you're a new grad. Get better at presenting yourself on video to prepare for those upcoming Zoom meetings and interviews.
Meet Bridgette Borst Ombres
Bridgette Borst Ombres is a former TV news reporter turned PR and marketing professional with nearly 15 years’ experience working in communications across agency, corporate and nonprofit. Bridgette has media trained more than 350 spokespeople for organizations around the country and has consulted for brands such as Google, Angry Birds, Vestas, Boy Scouts of America and Earth Day Network.
Bridgette owns The Commsultant, a boutique PR agency specializing in communications planning, thought leadership and media strategy.
Through the years, Bridgette has worked to place hundreds of students and young professionals in internships and jobs. She is passionate about mentoring and professional development.
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bridgette lives with her husband, David and three-year-old daughter, Brielle.
Looking to learn more about growing your career? Attend our upcoming Integrate Online session, " New Year, New You: Personal Branding Tips to Succeed in Your Career" live on Zoom, Tuesday, January 12 at Noon EST.
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