Over the past year and a half, if you weren’t hunting for toilet paper, bingeing Bridgerton or listening to true crime podcasts while baking banana bread (you know who you are), you may have found time to sit and think. And you wouldn’t be alone. Americans have found themselves self-reflecting on what matters, both personally and professionally. At the same time, the economy is on the rebound, and there’s new demand for specialized talents.
Over the past 20-plus years, I’ve worked with both individuals and companies, helping young talent build new skills and designing corporate programs to develop and retain that talent. Yet never have I seen such an inflection point in learning and leadership. Young professionals are taking control of their careers, hungry for the “next thing,” and looking for new ways to grow and advance. At the same time, smart employers are taking notice and providing talent with new opportunities to engage and thrive.
What does that mean for you? If you’re at the early stages in your media career, now is a good time to evaluate your current situation and focus on gaining industry-specific knowledge, new skills and expertise. And if you’re a leader seeking to meet your employees where they are (and fast), you have options. Below are some tangible ways to approach the opportunities at hand.
1. Outline a personal business plan
First, figure out what’s important to you in your career. Job title? Autonomy? Money?What isn’timportant to you? Then, ask yourself what you want to do next, and be specific (i.e., “I want that job”). Third, consider the strengths you already have that have made you successful. And finally, think about the strengths you still need to develop before getting to the next level. Write it all down.
2. Get smart on what’s hot
Staying on top of trends in your industry is important. But you’ll need to go further than just subscribing to newsletters and scrolling social media.
Develop a point of view. Understand why a trend is happening and develop expertise around it. For example, one emerging trend in media is podcasting. Learn everything you can about it and start by taking courses available to you. SXM Media recently launched AQ Academy, a first-of-its-kind free online training program dedicated to digital audio education. Designed by the thought-leaders from Pandora, SiriusXM and Stitcher, it’s a great way to raise your “Audio Quotient” and get smart about audio, trends and, of course, podcasting.
3. Get certified
Having knowledge is great, but having a certification is better. And it’s more than just visual proof. Certification adds a level of validation and credibility that can elevate you as a go-to expert within your organization and to your clients. Case in point: By completing training within AQ Academy, you can earn your certification in Digital Audio Advertising. It’s specific to audio, plus it’s soup-to-nuts, inclusive of planning, buying, creating and measuring audio.
4. Surround yourself
As physical doors start to reopen and more networking opportunities pop up, be there. But be selective. You don’t need to attend every event; focus on professional groups specific to you and your goals, with the mentors and talent you admire. Looking ahead to 2022, SXM Media will initiate its first members into the Auris Society. Those invited will have earned a minimum AQ Score from AQ Academy, and members will benefit from peer sharing, networking and thought-leadership opportunities.
5. Show it, share it
Listing your certifications on your resume and social accounts is the first step to marketing yourself. Showing and sharing your newly developed talents while in your current job is the next step. That experience will lend itself well to the next step in your career.
For example, raise your hand to peer-coach. Host a lunch-and-learn. Offer to spearhead your team’s learning effort. And when it comes time for a 1:1 with the boss, dust off your personal business plan. Share your career aspirations, highlight the skills you have developed, and showcase examples of where you stepped up and carved out on-the-job leadership moments.
Leaders: Make industry-specific development accessible
If you’re a leader reading this article, that’s a good sign: You want to further develop and retain top talent. But making resources available to employees at scale isn’t always easy.
The good news is that online, on-demand learning is having a moment. There are a handful of companies whose business is online training, and business is booming. But what about industry-specific learning? What about the topics that are emerging in your business? Building that kind of training in-house usually takes time and money. And the depth of content typically requires deep subject matter expertise. Not to mention, just when you land it, the industry changes!
So, at SXM Media, we saw the opportunity to open our library of training tools to our client and agency partners at no cost. Being at the forefront of the audio revolution means that we have a treasure trove of key learnings to share. By partnering with SXM Media, you can take advantage of on-time resources like AQ Academy. Continue to seek out other like-minded partners who are devoted to growth and teaching. You may be surprised to find what partners in the industry are willing to make available to you.
By Leanne-Bach-Chiazza – VP of Training at SXM Media