There’s an HR crisis brewing and it’s getting a bit nasty. Five years back a typical job description for a social media creative video person read: Experience with video a must.
Now: Experience with Reels a must.
Frankly if you’re above 30, you are not expected to be an expert on any of the newer platforms. Instagram, Snapchat, Indian platforms like Koo and Roposo, and even WhatsApp for Business.
Being from the analogue generation I can understand the struggle — it’s not just digital, but a certain niche within digital that seems to be the flavour of the season. And the galling thing is, it’s the 40 and even 50 plus managers/hirers who are deciding these ageist tags.
So this article is for my older friends who are suddenly being ignored by an increasingly ageist system.
Here are seven things you must do to reinvent your digital self:
About 30 per cent of your time should be dedicated to upskilling — online or offline. Not just core competencies, but also allied fields. I know a video editor in his late 40s, who just finished a course in flying drone cameras. Smart.
As Fredric Litto, President, Brazilian Association of Distance Education, says, “We are now in the transitional stage of employers gradually reducing their prejudice in the hiring of those who studied at a distance, and moving in favor of such ‘graduates’ who, in the workplace, demonstrate greater proactiveness, initiative, discipline, collaborativeness — because they studied online.”
Show up at the smaller industry meets, not just the big ones. When it comes to staying up-to-date, nothing beats meeting the guys who do the real work. The CEOs and marketing heads who show up at big meets — you have little to learn from them that you can’t from just YouTubing.
As Michele Jennae , author of The Connected Worker says, “Networking is not about just connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.”
Write long posts on LinkedIn. Interview yourself on Instagram. Share insights, opinions that are of use to people, help them move up in life. Be interesting.
As Joe Pulizzi, content marketing strategist says, “So many people create content and try to cover everything, instead of focusing on the core niche that they can position themselves as an expert around. No one cares about your special recipe... Find your niche, and then go even more niche.”
Change your resume every six months, reinvent yourself. In fact, write CVs for different potential employers. LinkedIn is a great place to keep updating resumes. But of course, as Criss Jami, American essayist and philosopher, puts it, “If you’re waiting until you feel talented enough to make it, you’ll never make it.”
Content is not enough, learn how to measure its successful deployment. Learn how to read Google data, Facebook data and so on. It’s easy these days. As economist Hal Varian, says, “The ability to take data — to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualise it, to communicate it — is going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades.”
Learn from Peers
There are people your age on social media with followers in millions. See how they experiment constantly, relentlessly. I have written about some of them in my earlier #DigitalGadfly columns. As Phil Collins crooned, “In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.”
Creativity is the part and problem solving is the thing Artificial Intelligence may not yet be able to emulate and solve. For every technical advancement, humans are able to create better solutions using the technology. As Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.”
(Shubho Sengupta is a digital marketer with an analogue ad agency past. He can be found @shubhos)