Advice for how to market myself as a design/media/communications ninja
June 1, 2013 10:15 AM   Subscribe

I've got a very eclectic resume: 5-7 years of experience in several different fields at once, because I have had multiple simultaneous jobs. Now I'm looking for a new gig, and I think I have a lot to offer, but I'm not sure how to market the breadth of my skills.

Here's my brag list:

- designed & edited a peer-reviewed academic publication for 6 years
- built web databases and CMS in HTML/CSS/PHP/MySQL for a nonprofit (also for 6 years)
- fact checker/research assistant for a mass-market popular science book
- made and sold my own Photoshop plugins
- done storyboarding and hand-drawn animation for some filmmakers
- made curriculum materials for schools
- I'm about to finish up a Master's Degree in Science Education

I know that to some people, all this might look kind of nutty and unfocused, but I've had a pretty consistent goal throughout. I want to work with all types of information and media (web, print, video, illustration, writing) -- to specialize in being a generalist.

I think I could be an asset to a company that appreciates this goal, but can I sell myself as a "complete package" in a world of specialists? Is there a particular industry or sector where you think I might be a good fit?

Should I try to find some sort of recruiter/headhunter? Or is that only for high-tech?
posted by overeducated_alligator to Work & Money (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Get a marketing/design job at a tech start-up, you would be ideal for it. They're always looking for people who can do two or three jobs at the same time. I'd look for a marketing/web-design job with that skill set, or maybe one doing technical documentation.
posted by empath at 10:38 AM on June 1, 2013

A recruiter will never touch you (the bastards), but you definitely have marketable skills.

For a small marketing agency, this would be pretty hand:

- built web databases and CMS in HTML/CSS/PHP/MySQL

At the very least you can do web design (look for agencies that build websites for municipalities, as they have steady and work with relatively large projects). Database skills also mean that you can do some heavy-duty AdWords analytics too.

Not many web development shops do online marketing well... It's an either/or scenario, and 80% of agencies are going to focus on web dev (designing, "branding" and building websites) while 20% of agencies focus on the metric-driven, "performance marketing" you might be suited for. Of those 20%, only a fraction are any good at it.

But if you have technical ability, design ability, analytical ability, working for an agency would be a no-brainer.

You're also well-suited for "content", which is driving the web right now.

You seem to have an interest in creative industries, but I'm just not sure how healthy that vertical is these days. There is a lot of downward pressure on costs, and there are a lot of people that want to work in those industries.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:23 AM on June 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Looking at your experience, to me - as a communications professional - it read about 80% design and web based, less so communications and less so media (which usually synonymous with PR, at least in my spheres).

Like Kokuryu, I think your skillset will appeal to smaller organisations who cannot afford or aren't structured for dedicated specialists. I would say places like NGOs, Peak Bodies, charities, small educational institutions or publishers.

In my experience agencies tend to hire specialists - even the small ones - on contract, if need be.

Honestly, you look pretty hireable to me. I would just tweak your CV a little for each particular job to highlight the areas they need the most, best of luck!
posted by smoke at 3:30 PM on June 1, 2013

I have had this exact same issue. Some tips:

- I have had the best luck with organizations that are just beginning to really grow. They aren't at the point where they can hire separate people for each position, so they want someone who can do it all.

- Your cover letter will be really important. Showcase how you are a fast learner, naturally curious, and able to combine your skills. Even if you kind of fell into different positions, make it seem like it was intentional and that each position was an opportunity to add a skill or fulfill a passion.

- Make a big deal about how an organization would benefit from having one person who can have their hand in all of these different areas. You can synthesize these areas for them.

- Work your contacts. Most of the companies looking for someone like this don't really know how to advertise the position, so they put it off, which means you won't find it on Craigslist or the like.

- Make a digital portfolio. It's another way to control your professional "story" and organizations seem to find them crazy impressive.

- I had almost no luck with recruiters.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 3:40 PM on June 2, 2013

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