I know that the future is looking wobbly for lots of Planners/Strategists at the moment and I personally know several who have already been made redundant.
It must be particularly hard for Junior Planners to work out how to make themselves indispensable/employable as quickly as possible, especially if they’re already on furlough. So I’ve come up with a few ways that Planners/Strategists at the start of their career can attempt to make yourself even more useful to your agency – and make yourself more attractive to a new employer should the worst happen.
Be the one who gets things done
In agencies, sometimes what needs doing is too small, too expensive or too urgent to get another part of the agency in to help. That’s where you come in to save your team time, money and stress. Teach yourself the basics so that you can:
– Edit images, audio and video
– Do simple equations in Excel and Google Sheets
– Get the most out of Survey Monkey and Google Forms
– Extract basic data from Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics
If you’re already really good at any of the above make sure that your team know about it and you should definitely mention it somewhere on your CV and LinkedIn.
Soak up all the CPD you can
If you’re still working, do as much already-paid-for-by-the-company training as you can. This could be decks that exist in HR’s CPD folder about learning how to manage people or getting more from Microsoft Teams, or you might have access through your agency to websites that assess your personality type and learning style.
In your own time, there are loads of lists of free training resources out there to pick from like this one and this one. The Sweathead facebook group is a great place for learning and development and if you’re willing to invest a little money into your own career development, consider the online courses from Mark Pollard (of Sweatheads) and The School of Stolen Genius from Faris and Rosie Yakob.
Start a document that lists every single piece of formal training that you’ve had so that you have something to talk about in appraisals or interviews – and right now, it would be great to be able to drop onto the end of an email to your boss that you’ve proactively completed a certain piece of training in your free time, or to ask them to recommend online training resources that they rate. If you’re currently job hunting, share on twitter or LinkedIn how much you’ve enjoyed your recent online course and what you’ve learnt from it.
Make like a magpie
Make sure that you’ve got a copy on your personal home computer of everything you need for your Portfolio. Just like Creatives, agencies may expect you at interview to be able to talk through a campaign you worked on, including how your contribution made it work better. So make sure that you’ve got a copy of the relevant decks, artwork and effectiveness data stashed away on your personal computer. This definitely isn’t about stealing client secrets or agency IP to help another agency win work (which is really poor form and also prohibited by most agency employment contracts), it’s just to support your own career development and continuing employment.
If you’ve already been made redundant, go through your personal email, google drive and dropbox just in case you have any client work hiding in there that you could use. Or ask a work friend nicely if they can discreetly share with you what you need. Agency’s own websites and social media can also be a good source for ready-made case studies of your work and access to imagery.
Good luck out there x