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Where are all the remote Digital Asset Management jobs?

When it comes to working remotely, I have pushed for it since 2000. My main limitation was the mindset of the people I worked for who often cling to an increasingly packed workspace. As if we needed to justify the commercial real estate spend of employers while everyone gets less desk space and less floor space each year, I fail to see the value here even if we are “together”.

What office?

If there were no more commercial offices, smart companies would figure out how to survive and thrive. If they did not, maybe the market did not need them to continue existing. If the market needed their products or services to exist without offices,  simply switch out any of their leadership or management that cling to the self-limiting beliefs like “must work in an office together” and other such fallacies.

Enter COVID-19. Ready or not, if you are not moving physical objects for your work, you will work remotely until further notice. Get used to it. Become effective, then efficient, and find the benefits in doing so.  Otherwise, goodbye. Time to find someone else who is flexible and can adapt quickly to VUCA.

Employer and employee locations are no longer relevant

Notice I did not say work from home #WFH, but rather work remotely or work anywhere. Location is now almost irrelevant. You choose where you live and you choose whom you work for. Break the mindset of believing where your employer is located matters. It does not. Work is not a location, but rather an activity. Where you are located is your choice. Not an employers’ choice if you don’t move physical objects for your work. Let us be very clear about that. Let that sink in. You choose the location with a good internet connection to continue getting the work done. No one in their right mind is running back to a packed office simply to have a desk.

Time zones matter more than location

Since location is almost irrelevant, taking virtual meetings and calls is as simple as scheduling them based on calendar availability and time zones. No wasted travel time. No commuting. If the online calendar invite is accepted, it is assumed that at the scheduled date and time on a specific means of communication, we are available to discuss the said topics on the agenda. The calendar should adjust for any time zone differences between parties so it is a reasonable time for everyone regardless of location.

Digital asset management work

Months later, we still are working remotely and we are adapting. Some adapt faster than others.

During the webinar, I spoke about the fact that digital asset management can perfectly be done as remote work. Most of us do not have a choice of working in an office any more. Yes, there is an emphasis on the fact that all that work is digital since we seem to forget what those three words (Digital Asset Management) mean and what they stand for since we say it so often, but miss the point that digital has no borders. Even more so now. Those 1s and 0s don’t typically sit in a cubicle either, so why should you?

New DAM Job Applicants

If you are applying to a DAM position and you are not explicitly provided in writing that your position will be remote, ask “why not?” and listen to their [outdated factory worker mentality] excuses. Ask why you can’t work remotely without returning often or ever to the office if you continue to provide your employer the proper work, input, output, support, and value that you ‘normally’ would as if you were an if provided the necessary tools that you should be provided anyhow to do your job.

Water cooler talk

What about water cooler talk or conversations in the hallway or around the coffee machine or office kitchen? Really? In case you have not been paying attention for the past few months (and before), this is what 1 on 1 video calls are for. Whether it is with your co-worker, supervisor, management, leadership or external partners, it does not matter. Those can be scheduled. Try a 15-minute call for efficiency and effectiveness in one of those types of convos.

Communication matters

Face to face communication will be virtual for the foreseeable future.

Seeing the person is not really necessary, even by video call.

Verbal communication by using our words with the right tone to communicate is crucial. Being seen virtually or in-person is not as important to communicate. Think phone call and less video chat.

Since we are still not reading minds, clear verbal communication still matters a lot.

It can not be garbled without restating it. It can not be assumed without confirmation. It should not be implied. It should be clear, confirmed, and understood. When it is not, ask.

Conversations should be framed with the context of a specific topic.

Communication with explicit intent and specificity can be received clearly and confirmed by the receiving party.

We should continually work on our smart communication.

If your communication skills are lacking, it is high time to work on those skills and practice exercising them regularly (even virtually), regardless of our age, experience, role, or title.

Collaboration online only

If you have not figured it out yet in the past few months, you don’t need to be physically together in order to collaborate over concepts, electronics documents, ideas, innovations, skills or anything that does not involve moving physical objects for your own work. You won’t be shaking hands anytime soon and HR frowns on any other forms of touching each other since close proximity is not a good idea. Working physically together is now over. Collaborate online or don’t collaborate at all.  You can manage workflows and people remotely.  In case you needed someone to tell you, the days of running to an office only to crowd into a meeting room are now over. If you need help figuring it out, I may be able to help you as a consultant. This is not free advice. There are solutions to anything regardless of the challenge, big or small. Sometimes, those solutions are not technology, but rather communication.

Manage your time

You are either available based on your up to date online calendar for your co-workers to know when you are available or in a state of deep work (by setting “do not disturb until [YY:YY] time” on your messaging app). You should set clear hours for work with very few pre-scheduled exceptions when your work hours need to shift, not increase.

Manage your technology

Do you have a poorly evolved IT infrastructure that is not cloud-based or has a limited VPN? If your ISP bandwidth where you are at that time is too low, improve your Internet Service Plan and ask your employer if they will pay for your internet service like some (Google) do. I have an ISP at home as well as one internet hotspot on my smartphone as a backup. I also have several other locations I go regularly for other wifi hotspots and most of them are not indoors. Some are available 24/7.

If you have self-limiting IT management and leadership, maybe it is time to evolve beyond them if they can not adapt to the new IT needs of the company.

Issue the tools to get the work done

Employees should be issued a laptop with needed software licenses and tools.  If you need a mouse, a headset for calls,  a second monitor or something else, some companies issue a specific standard based on the different roles within the companies by buying them in volume. Otherwise, some companies give employees an allotted amount of money each year to spend on such things including coffee to remain welcome in a coffee shop.

Hiring DAM Professionals now

Hiring the right people for the work is a challenge at any time. Not just now. Quickly evolving to the needs of the company is still a necessity. Poorly evolved HR practices and mostly obsolete business cultures are often poorly defined and outright meaningless since the same organizations wish to survive and keep hiring viable candidates regardless of their location. Work is not a location anymore, but rather a function, a role, and a series of tasks.
I spoke with several DAM Professionals hired during the first wave of COVID-19 (between March 2020 and June 2020) and they are expected to work remotely without the need to come to any office. Ever.
How did they get to work remotely from day one on the job? They simple asked to. It is really that simple. And it should not take a pandemic to get digital knowledge workers to work from home or work anywhere as long as the work gets done.
Some people report being more productive than ever before. It helps to not run a daycare and school within your household at the same time. Now that they don’t have to waste time commuting or running around an office hunting for people in person. Everyone is one call, email, or message away as they have been in the past. Instantaneous responses are still not to be expected though. Prescribed response times should be set as a standard such as within X number of business hours, just like in a SLA.
Interestingly enough, remote work or work anywhere policies are still missing in more than half of the companies in order to set some ground rules for safety, productivity, maintain connectivity, provide access, provide needed tools (such as a laptop with software), maintain security, maintain continuity (for people, process, information, and technology) and stay within needed regulations. Companies should not need a pandemic to plan ahead with some guidelines for everyone. We wish common sense was widely available, but guidelines can help since it is not.
The way this evolves is that we set the ground rules before day 1 of any person working anywhere (Ask why or why not questions) and/or justify how you wish to continue working going forward. Either way, you continue to prove that you can be as productive, efficient, and effective as part of a distributed workforce without the need for space in a crowded office.

Where are all the remote DAM jobs?

As I review DAM jobs weekly as I have for the past decade (not because I want any full time position as a consultant, but rather studying the DAM job market),  I would expect all open positions to be remote DAM positions. I would expect companies and HR to have evolved during the past several months of the pandemic. I should in fact stop hoping for logic to kick in and write about it instead. Digital Asset Management is a digital job, not a physical job requiring the person to be onsite for anything. DAM jobs can and should be done from anywhere (especially remotely) since DAM professionals are not moving any physical objects around for their own work. Location is almost irrelevant and if companies can’t figure out the tax code for that, they should hire new HR people and accountants who can. All Digital Asset Management professional positions should be able to work from anywhere with a good internet connection, not just from an office nor just from their home. Digital Asset Management should not be limited nor confined to any location and neither should anyone working with DAM. Location should be the workers’ choice if the companies want to hire and retain the best people. Maybe those companies want to stay relevant and survive too. Offering remote positions is one step companies can take towards retaining their own relevancy and continuity plans.


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What are some DAM job descriptions?

“Mind readers wanted.”

This is first line from an actual Digital Asset Management (DAM) job description posted this year. More on that later.

Aside from asking where to post and find DAM jobs, several people are asking what are typical DAM job descriptions. After presenting this information during a DAM Conference, here are parts of actual DAM job descriptions and knowledge shared by several DAM professionals on the job market today.

This is part of the equation that involves people along with process and technology for DAM.

While some people may use Digital Asset Management (DAM) sometimes within an organization, there is an increase in the need for people who may work full-time on DAM within an organization. We’ll explore several of these positions so you can have an idea of what some organizations have for talent and resources for those who do this type of work.

Here is a part of a job description for a Digital Asset Manager:

  • Responsible for leading overall strategy, implementation and workflow of the Digital Asset Management system for [organization]
  • Acts as primary liaison between [organization] and various photo studios with regard to image names, new photography and archiving
  • Responsible for assigning appropriate metadata for assets to ensure accurate usage rights
  • Manages the Digital Asset system and facilitate the uploading of assets as well as maintaining and upgrading the system
  • Registers internal and external users to the Digital Asset Management system based on permissions
  • Facilitates retrieval of previously cataloged images/shoots
  • Processes raw images using the appropriate software
  • Archive assets as necessary
  • Generates asset download reports
  • Maintains accurate procedures and records for the system
  • Keeps informed of latest Digital Asset Management technology trends and innovations
  • Other duties as identified and assigned

What are we looking for when filling the human resources gap with people needed to help manage your organization’s digital assets?  There are no hard and fast rules, but rather guidelines. Any of these could be staff or contractual positions:

  • Administrator (DBA)
  • Archivist
    • With Digital, not just analog (print) experience
  • Analyst
  • Consultant
    • Either an internal, permanent staff for ongoing consultation OR an external (temporary), outside perspective looking in with a fresh viewpoint
    • Advisor, coach and/or functional role
  • Digital Asset Manager
    • Support DAM system and users
    • An industry expert in the field
  • DAM Specialist/Coordinator
    • Organize and upload assets
    • Metatag assets
  • Data Entry Specialist* (depending on volume)
  • Engineer/Developer/Programmer/Information Architect
  • Help Desk
  • Intern
    • Temporary position (more on this in a future blog post)
    • Willingness to:
      • Learn about DAM
      • Work on metadata and taxonomy
      • Upload assets
  • Librarian
    • With Digital, not just analog (print/physical cataloging) experience
  • Metatagger (aka Metator, Cyberian)
  • Project Manager
  • Sales
  • Taxonomist

What we call the position (job title) is less important than what they actually do.

DAM professionals who communicate with management need to have an understanding of high level business needs and how DAM can meet those needs. Why? Because it is important to quantify:

  • Cost savings
  • Time savings
  • Reductions in risk (with knowledge of rights)

Yes, Digital Asset Management is a business need, not just a technology or another database.

If you are looking to hire a DAM professional, such as Digital Asset Manager, have potential candidates include their answers to the following questions as part of the job application:

  1. Have you worked with a Digital Asset Management System? Where? How long?
  2. How much experience do you have creating Metadata Schema?
  3. Do you have any training experience? What type?

That should help gauge the level of experience of most candidates.

Now about that “mind reader” job posting. Often, management and human resources do not know what DAM professionals are supposed to do (a bit difficult to write a job description that way), but they are slowly realizing there may be a need for Digital Asset Management and that is followed by realizing the need to fill a position with a DAM professional. That professional may be assigned (or volunteered) within the organization. The professional may be hired from the outside. Beside that, DAM professionals should use best practices and notice common behaviors when these practices are not followed. How?

  • Communicate
  • Evaluate
  • Recommend
  • Reference
  • Document
  • Estimate
  • Train
  • Plan
  • Budget
  • Deliver
  • Report
  • Anticipate
  • Follow up

That does not take any mind reading. I am not a mind reader. I am a Digital Asset Manager.

Besides, I forgot my mind reading hat at home.

What is your DAM job description?

Administrator
Business Analyst
Consultant
DAM Architect
DAM Director/DAM Manager/Digital Asset Manager
DAM Specialist/Coordinator
Digital Archivist/Librarian
Engineer/Developer/Programmer
Intern
Project Manager
Taxonomist/Metatagger (aka Metator)


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Where can I find some DAM jobs?

Despite current economic times, Digital Asset Management (DAM) jobs are listed on a regular basis throughout the United States and the world. While many positions are clustered around major cities, there are often 100+ jobs listed at any one time. So the question is if you have relevant job experience (according to the individual job description) in the field of DAM, where do you look?

Here are several online job sites which display DAM jobs regularly:

As many DAM professionals know, metadata is important. Specifically, keywords.

Keywords which work well when searching within relevant job sites are:

  • “Digital Asset Management”
  • “metadata”

Keywords which do not work as well are:

  • “DAM” (unless you really are looking for jobs related to hydroelectricity or any other word with the letters “dam” in it)
  • “Asset Management” (often yields financial or real estate positions)

What if you do not have relevant job experience? If you are a college student, consider a DAM internship.

If you are a working DAM professional or between DAM jobs, consider seeking the skills of a talent scout or head hunter with experience in placing individuals with those technical skills. And experience.

It is not a secret that Digital Asset Management is a technical field, but the DAM users are not necessarily technical people. DAM professionals need to be able to ‘translate’ the complex blah blah blah into terms non-technical people do understand. As a Digital Asset Manager, I am a bridge between creative and technical groups. There is a lot of hands-on activity and training which involves plenty of hard work and, of course, metadata. Like many positions, this job is not for everyone. If you are job hunting, do yourself as well as the hiring managers a favor: Don’t apply if you are not qualified according to the job description.

Nowadays, many employers only accept digital copies of your resume and cover letter when applying. Human eyes may not even see your completed application unless it first passes filtering technologies. As with most resumes, Human Resources may read them in less than 30  seconds. Depending on a variety of factors, there may not be a line forming outside the door for DAM job applicants.

Many people may not understand what DAM professionals do for a living nor how digital asset management works. In order to get hired as a DAM professional, you need to know what this involves and be able to explain it to people clearly.

Let us know when you are ready for consulting or assistance in finding Digital Asset Management professionals for your business.

Where do you find DAM jobs?


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How do I plan for a career in DAM?

Most of us did not go to college nor university knowing we would be working on Digital Asset Management (DAM) today. Many might even say ‘DAM picked me. I did not pick to work on DAM.’ Those of us who are working on DAM come from diverse career backgrounds, which may include:

  • Archives and records management
  • Business Management
  • Design
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Film
  • History
  • Journalism
  • Library Science
  • Marketing
  • Photography
  • Project Management
  • Sales
  • Video
  • And many other career paths

Is a career in DAM really planned at all? It may be fair to say that at the time of this blog post and according to a recent poll, most people did not plan on a career in DAM, but rather volunteered for it or were volunteered for it. Either way, that is okay. Allow me to explain why…

  1. DAM is a growing field
  2. Growth in DAM means growth in careers which manage information  (Has your organization stopped accumulating digital assets? This is not likely to happen anytime soon)
  3. DAM has the ability to measure growth and progress within an organization, which is very lucrative in any business, as long as you know exactly what is being measured
  4. Part of running a DAM can lead to better record keeping and Rights Management which reduces liability within the organization (aka not getting sued for unauthorized use)
  5. There are more and more DAM jobs waiting to be filled
  6. There are not enough DAM professionals available with the needed experience, some even say there is a shortage of qualified individuals
  7. More education about DAM is coming soon to help reduce this shortage and further the knowledge of people who find themselves newly involved in DAM
  8. DAM internships and mentorship program are now available in order to share the knowledge and hands-on experience needed
  9. It takes a certain type of individual to work on DAM and not everyone can do this type of work. You may be that person and not realize it. Do not expect overnight change, but rather baby steps of progress
  10. Some organizations are still scratching their heads wondering why there is a low adoption of their systems, while their own people don’t understand how to use them and there is no one to help them internally. As soon as it dawns on them, they will begin seeing the value of a DAM professional who can assist them within their organization whether it is an internal resource who knows their processes (is that you?) and/or an external resource (such as a consultant) if you are not sure where to start or how to move forward in a phased approach. Yes, I will be blogging about the phases of DAM too.

There are courses available in DAM from:

  • CMSWatch (also offered by AIIM) offer an online certificate education course on the Fundamentals of Digital Asset Management Technologies
  • King’s College London to offer a Master of Arts in Digital Asset Management (MADAM) in late 2010. This is being offered not because we needed more acronyms in this field, but because we need more education about DAM.
  • Tutorials offered before and after each Henry Stewart DAM Conference held in the USA and Europe
  • More events and workshops for DAM users are coming soon
  • Internships are now available
  • Mentorship program has been established for professionals.

Of course, DAM vendors offer documentation and support for their specific DAM systems, but it is not enough. Who will drive the adoption, implementation, operations, support and workflow of the DAM within your organization? Enter the DAM Professional.

Anyone can supplement their DAM education and experience with:

  • Books (take note of their publish dates though because technology changes rapidly)
  • Blogs (not just this one)
  • DAM Foundation (the author of this blog is an active member)
  • LinkedIn groups about “Digital Asset Management”
  • Podcasts (you do not need an iPod to listen to them, just a computer or smart phone, and internet access)
  • Vendors publicly offer great marketing materials  (even if they are not your preferred vendor, you may learn something new)
  • Webinars (there are several every month)
  • Twitter (users and vendors are both there)
  • Do not limit yourself nor your sources of how/where you can learn something new

In an upcoming post, I will list some job descriptions and various levels of experience for DAM-related positions.

How do you plan your career in DAM? Educate yourself and keep informed.