I was honored to participate in AdweekMediaConnect's live chat session on 4/15. Through the course of an hour answering questions in real-time, I discovered there were some smaller issues addressed that may benefit anyone reading this column. Below is a re-cap of some of the questions posed and an expanded response. I hope this is helpful to some of you.
Q: Do I need an online portfolio
A: Yes, without a doubt. Even if you're not a digital guru yet, get your work online. You can use portfolio sites which also offer hosting services, or the traditional method of building a site using tools that can be found all over the net. Google if you need to.
(Sidebar: there were many questions about how to find niche job sites, web building services, etc. My response each time was Google. If you can't find it on Google, it doesn't exist)
Q: Will there ever be jobs that aren't online/digital again
A: Yes, there will. There are still above- and below-the line needs that exist now and will continue to exist. The budgets will continue to be pushed toward digital hires, but TV isn't going anywhere and consumers still listen to the radio and read some newspapers and magazines. They will continue to shop in-person at retail outlets and be primed for messaging while they're about to swipe their credit cards. My thoughts are in addition to the continued growth in digital, promotions, retail, and shopper-marketing will remain strong based on this.
Q: How do I get digital experience
A: You can always teach yourself some skills based on what your offline skill set is (do the research, much of it is available out there in how-to format on blogs and the like). You can also look for webinars, online courses, and trade association offerings to help you learn the new skills or programs required. Then, you can start small projects to show your new skills off. When they're complete, add them to your portfolio or resume. This is just the equivalent of spec work at the end of the day. If you happen to be a writer, create spec work for both banner and web copy. Banner = headline, web copy = long form. If you could write well under traditional, you can write well online.
Q: I'm a 20 year veteran of spot- and print-media buying who has been laid off for a few months now. Can I get a job again?
A. Unfortunately, maybe not. At least, not like you had and not using the methods you know from the past. You would be wise to try to determine a complimentary career to explore. In this case, perhaps a change to the Rep side, and still utilize your well developed negotiation skills. Taking the time now to identify skills you've developed through your career and where they may fit in other industries will help you develop a hit list and expand your options.
At the time I'm writing this you can still access the chat here: http://www.adweekmediaconnect.com/page/live-chat for other ideas and advice that was discussed. Please know that I am always happy to address areas you propose in future articles as well.