Q: I have been seeking employment in marketing communications in Chicago since 2001 to no avail, despite my experience and education (B.A. in Public Relations, 1992/M.S. in Marketing Communications, 1995). I am now afraid that I have been out of the job market too long and perhaps considered “out-of-date” even though my knowledge/skills are still up-to-date.
— D. Kirkman, Via the Internet
A: Marketing is a discipline that is ever evolving because it is intricately related to market conditions and consumer attitudes. Assumptions that were applicable 10 years ago may not be appropriate today. For example, the 2000 U.S. Census reports projected demographic shifts that have caused many industries to retool their marketing approaches to ethnic audiences. Marketing needs will vary from industry to industry, but trends in 2005 will be increasingly influenced by technology and efficacy in measurement. Marketers, more than ever, have to be able to quantify results, and there are metrics available to better determine strategic outcome. Your expertise may indeed be “out-of-date.” You mention your degrees and past experience but not how you’ve updated your knowledge. Set up some informational interviews in the area you intend to pursue. And consider joining an association, such as the American Marketing Association (www.marketingpower.com) and Chicago AMA (www.chicago ama.org), a nonprofit marketing organization.