By Leanna Lane Ferguson

The Eagle Technical Communicators (ETC) recently hosted an event with Nicolle Ketcham, Director of Operations for Masterplan, who shared invaluable insights on how students can leverage data to enhance their career prospects. Nicolle, a seasoned expert in marketing and operations, has honed her skills over years of using data-driven metrics to quantify the value she brings to her employers. Given that fields like marketing and technical communication thrive on feedback and data, it's important for professionals to harness this data to demonstrate their organizational worth--particularly during economic downturns.

Navigating the Job Search

Nicolle emphasized several critical strategies for students seeking employment opportunities. She suggested that students join professional organizations, proactively offer to give presentations, and engage with industry peers at networking events. Not only does this approach allow employers to learn about prospective candidates, but it also helps job seekers assess the suitability of potential employers. Additionally, building a professional website is crucial. Tools such as Wix, Squarespace, and other content management systems make creating a website easy. A well-crafted website should briefly explain a candidate's professional profile, work experience, contact information, and any relevant certifications.

Advancing in a Career

For students working with technical or marketing content, Nicolle emphasized the value of being proficient with web analytics. Familiarity with essential metrics, including website visitor counts, geographical origin, bounce rates, and device usage, empowers professionals to make informed content decisions. Ensuring that website content is accessible for people with disabilities is equally essential.

Nicolle also described how collecting customer email addresses can provide valuable data that can help employees quantify their worth. But she stressed that employees must follow government regulations when sending mass emails. Services like Mailchimp or Constant Contact offer compliance and detailed analytics such as open rates, click rates, and revenue tracking. A/B testing is also a powerful method for collecting data when building messaging strategies. By comparing the performance of various options, professionals can make well-informed decisions about which messages resonate best with their audience.

When working with social media campaigns, Nicolle suggested that professionals focus on delivering value to their audience rather than solely promoting products. Sharing project milestones, industry news, valuable tips, upcoming events, speaking engagements, client successes, and awards can significantly enhance a social media strategy. Tailoring content to each platform's unique interactions is also key because it ensures a company's messaging aligns with user expectations.

Management tools like Hootsuite are useful for juggling multiple social media accounts and showing a comprehensive view of analytics. By using the insights provided by these tools, professionals can consistently demonstrate their organizational value and establish goals for continuous improvement. Effectively handling customer data and tracking potential leads is simplified using Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. CRM software stores information on customers within the sales pipeline, generates reports, tracks leads, identifies top clients, and monitors communication frequency. This holistic approach empowers data-driven decision-making and nurtures valuable professional relationships.

Throughout her presentation, Nicolle reiterated that harnessing data is key for students to advance their careers and showcase their value within an organization. Implementing these strategies and making the most of available tools will provide any job seeker with valuable insights and help ensure ongoing professional growth.

Building a Fulfilling Career

Career building requires careful attention to multiple factors. Malcolm Gladwell argues that three elements contribute to professional satisfaction:

  1. Proper Compensation: Adequate financial recognition for your work is essential. It validates your efforts and ensures a reward for your contributions.
  2. Autonomy: The freedom to make decisions and exercise independent judgment is crucial for professional growth. Autonomy empowers individuals to take ownership of their work and fosters a sense of responsibility.
  3. Complexity: A fulfilling career should offer diverse challenges to ensure that each day is distinct. Embracing complexity enables individuals to continually learn and adapt, leading to personal and professional growth.

For students to further enhance their career prospects, Nicolle recommended considering the following strategies:

  • Never Stop Learning: Continuous learning is the key to staying relevant in today's dynamic job market. Students should explore opportunities to acquire new skills and knowledge within their field and other disciplines. Gaining proficiency in accounting and management can broaden horizons and provide a unique perspective on a person's career outlook. Engaging in passion projects can also help build meaningful relationships.
  • Look for Opportunities to Advance: Students should actively shape their career trajectory by seeking growth opportunities. They should initiate conversations with mentors or supervisors to understand the requirements for advancement within their organization. And they should feel free to negotiate when necessary to ensure their contributions are recognized and rewarded appropriately.

Building a fulfilling career is an ongoing journey that demands dedication and perseverance. You can create a professional path that aligns with your goals and aspirations by focusing on proper compensation, autonomy, complexity, continuous development, and advancement opportunities.

Interested in learning more? Join the ETC club here!