Marketing people often ask me about navigating their careers. Whether this is a soon-to-be graduate, a marketer at a crossroads, or someone who just needs to chat through some potential next steps.
And since The Marketer came about because some of our IRL conversations might have helped others, I'm going to share my personal hierarchy of choosing a client-side job in that same spirit.
As someone who hasn't worked client-side much, when I decided it was something I wanted to explore I needed to make sure my next move was a good move. And ok, I didn't end up client-side (I might just be an agency baby) I developed a checklist for how I would determine if the role was for me.
So here's my 5 areas in order of importance.
If I'm going to be spending my whole day on one business - how much do I love the industry that this business sits within?
I don't see a role being satisfying, or long-lived if you aren't passionate about what you're doing.
One of the things that's appealing about agency work is the variation. If I was going to spend all day in the same vertical, could I see myself getting bored - or is this something I'm super passionate about?
Check's the box? Moving on...
Just because you are passionate about an industry it doesn't mean that all businesses in that vertical are created equal. They aren't.
Does the business you're looking at joining have a good reputation in the industry? Do they do quality work? Do their values align with yours? Is there good work/life balance?
There's so many more questions here - and my recommendation is to do a Google, check out their reviews, have a look through their About page, check out their Seek score, and do a vibe-check of their socials.
Better yet - ask around. Being in Perth we only have 1.5 degrees of separation so you're bound to know someone who knows someone that's worked there - especially if it's a well-known brand.
This is something I'm super passionate about and could talk about all day.
Essentially, you want to work for the right person. And everyone's right person is different - but they have commonalities.
There's a different between leadership and management. Yep, there are overlapping skills here but boiled down to the lowest common denominator, leaders inspire you to follow them to do the right thing, managers tell you what the right thing to do is. Yes, I appreciate this is oversimplified, but you don't have time for my manifesto on Leadership Vs Management at this time. Ask me next time we catch up.
I want to work for a leader. Someone I can follow. Someone far enough ahead of me that I can learn from, and who values my development in the role and beyond it.
Think about what kind of person you want to work for and use the interview process to determine if they're the best person to lead you. Most of the reasons people are unhappy in their job boil down to poor leadership.
In a similar vein, what's the team like? Do the people that report to me/are on the same level fit the bill? Is the team adequately resourced? Is there a high turnover? Do they seem stressed?
Do employees of other departments that I'll likely be interacting with on a regular basis check out?
You spend so much time with your colleagues that it's important that you (at minimum) can form reasonable work relationships.
You've all heard teamwork makes the dream work? Working with a dream team makes work pretty rad.
I put this last because if the role isn't right who cares what they pay?
And yes, this comes from a place of privilege and I appreciate that this advice isn't for everyone.
Having said that, you need to get paid what you're worth and in looking at roles for myself, the amount of client-side vacancies that value and compensate specialists are fewer and farther than in agency land. This isn't necessarily the case across the board, so you do you - but get paid what you need to live, and find out if it's inclusive or exclusive of super before accepting.
There you have it
That's the method I used to evaluate client-side jobs. I've shared this with some marketers recently, so I thought I'd share it here in case it helps anyone deciding their next career move.