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Kickstart Your Marketing Career: Mid-Career Roadmap, Tools, and Tips

Restarting your marketing career after a break as a mid-career job seeker feels like the deck is stacked against you. In an unstable job market with mass layoffs rising across industries and growth in wages falling, relaunching your marketing career in 2024 after a pause can feel intimidating and overwhelming.

More than 305,000 US employees lost their jobs in major job cuts last year according to Forbes. Technology is advancing fast. As companies explore using  Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve systems and processes to try to do more with less, industries will continue to be disrupted and roles will shift. 

Maybe you are re-entering the workforce after getting laid off from a job you’ve had for years. Or you’ve taken time off to have children and manage childcare, senior care, or a spouse’s employment priorities. You may feel financially unstable, emotionally spent, and utterly unprepared.

But armed with the right mindset, a mid-career roadmap, job search strategies, and tools, you can offset the odds and thrive in your next marketing career.

Lynne Williams, Executive Director of the 501(c)3 nonprofit, the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group

That’s why AMA Philadelphia reached out to career advancement industry leader Lynne Williams, Ed.D. Candidate, writer of resumes and LinkedIn profiles, and Executive Director of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, which provides online career development and networking for career transition job seekers and career management.

Williams will share insights and recommendations from over a decade in the career services industry and lessons learned from her multiple career reinventions that have helped job seekers build their personal brand, get their career documents in order, and land employment sooner, even in a competitive landscape.

Read: The Executive Circle Breakfast Is Back: Here’s Why You Need to Go

Advice to Overcome Mid-Career Restart Challenges

Build Your Marketing Career Brand

Preparing yourself for a new role begins with building your personal brand.

“Marketing professionals think they know how to market themselves for a job because they are very good at analyzing data and developing strategies,” explained Williams. “They know about marketing in their industry, but they may not know how to present and position themselves in the best way with their career documents. It’s a different type of content writing.”

That process begins by clarifying the direction you want to take in your career. Then, develop a personal branding statement that shows the unique value you’ll bring to this position. A mentor or career coach can accelerate the process.

Get Your Career Documents in Order

Optimize your LinkedIn profile and tailor your resume for the role. Highlight your marketing qualifications that support your personal branding statement.

Your LinkedIn headline, about section, and experiences should use “future-forward” keywords and industry phrases to attract potential hiring managers and recruiters. If you want to move up to director from manager, use words to position yourself as that.

Use Metrics to Showcase Mid-Career Accomplishments

“Every bullet point on your resume should have a metric on it,” Williams insisted. “Focus on how you helped a company make or save money, save time, and the impact that had. What mountains did you move? If you’ve done it in the past, you can do it again in the future, even if you have had a gap for any reason.”

She has found that once clients put in the time to quantify past experiences with percentages, dollars, and amounts, it boosts their self-confidence, and they have tangible evidence of their past accomplishments. 

Get Past the ATS Gatekeeper

William’s discovery of insights into the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) changed the course of her career. She put time and effort into preparing her career documents and thought she was doing everything right.

“I went seven and a half months with zero interviews in 2013,” said Williams. “ I had my resume done by the local unemployment office. As soon as I began investigating how ATS works, I knew the essential keywords, phrases, and formatting, and other things that prevented my resume from being read. So, at 11.5 months, right when my unemployment was running out as a single parent, I had zero income one week, and then the next week, I started a job.”

-Lynne Williams

At the time, she couldn’t afford to hire a career coach, but she believes that if she had, she would have tremendously shortened her job search and landed her position sooner. She desperately needed to support her family, and unemployment was about to run out.

As she dug deeper into the research, her perspective on job search strategies shifted, leading her to the missing piece, which kept her stuck and unemployed.

Her research on the ATS was so groundbreaking that it led to her mission to help other struggling career transitioners and job seekers and to taking over the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group in 2015, after its founding in 2010. This meetup group became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a website and social media in 2017.

“I had so many aha moments that led to articles, podcasts, presentations, and writing Chapter 8 in the book Find Your Fit: A Practical Guide to Landing the Job You’ll Love published by the ATD, with the forward written by the famous career industry leader Dick Bolles, author of “What Color is Your Parachute?

She continued learning about using the right keywords for LinkedIn searches, on Google Trends, and building SEO into her WordPress blogs. According to one of her sources, there are over 550 ATS systems today.

Engage in Strategic Networking

Everyone is in marketing and sales, no matter what role they are seeking. “Your career documents will help you land that interview,” Williams pointed out. “Once you get the interview, you need to sell yourself. Your career documents have to be spectacular enough that they are going to invite you in.” 

“According to research, around 80% of jobs are found via networking,” shared Williams. Companies prefer to hire based on a referral. It’s a lower risk, and people do business with people they know, like, and trust. That’s why building your network, meeting new people, and conducting informational interviews in the target companies where you want to work is essential.

Leverage Artificial Intelligence

 What are the key job search skills to master to land the next marketing career position? AI can be used in job search research, interview prep, and preparation.

  • Resume fodder to find alternative ways to pursue accomplishments
  • Interview prep
  • Cover Letter ideas and development

Career Coaching Support and Resources

After a career break, restarting your marketing career and re-entering the workforce can feel overwhelming. Williams knows firsthand, having experienced seven career reinventions, helped thousands of job seekers, and written 260+ articles, including Career Pivots vs Reinventions.

The best investment you can make in your career advancement and development is hiring the right career coach who not only has the experience, knowledge, and know-how but also leverages a data-driven decision-making approach to keywords for your resume and LinkedIn profile. Work with someone who gives you the one-to-one white-glove concierge experience and not a turnaround tweaked document.

You can find free resources available for job seekers on the Great Careers Group contact page. On the left-hand side, where all the social media pages are listed, scroll down to Google Docs. Open the document and scroll through the upcoming events. Below that are links to free resources. There are a slew of other job-seeking groups and entrepreneurial groups. Some meet in person, and some groups meet online.

The Great Careers Group is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides a wealth of educational resources, career coaching support, and training. Although many services are offered for free to help the community of unemployed job seekers, only some things are free. For a nominal monthly charge of the cost of a cup of coffee, you can become a member and enjoy around 18-25 events a month. The organization is also seeking volunteers and board members. 

Join a Professional Organization

Consider joining a professional organization like AMA Philadelphia where professionals looking to restart marketing careers like you can invest in career growth, gain industry insights, expand your network leading to new job opportunities, and access valuable resources to stay competitive in your field. Volunteering is a great way to stay ahead of the curve, upgrade your skills, and fill in the employment gap.

 Lynne Williams, Ed.D. Candidate, is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Area Great Careers Group, which provides online career development and networking for career transition (job seekers) and career management (employed and self-employed). Lynne writes resumes, LinkedIn profiles, LinkedIn company pages, and does corporate LinkedIn training. She focuses on keywords and helps build personal brands. Currently, she is writing her doctoral dissertation on the topic of LinkedIn. Connect with her on LinkedIn and visit to learn more.

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