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Develop a Smart Personal Marketing Strategy
The job for life has gone forever. Changes in company structures, advances in technology and lifestyle options mean that the traditional career pattern is fast on the way out.
You need to take control of your destiny by developing a proactive, professional career plan.
But what does this mean in practice?
It means taking responsibility for your own career development, either within your current company or outside of it.
It means creating your own opportunities to get the sort of job you want.
It means constantly evolving your skills set to make sure what you can do matches the needs of the job market.
In short, it means taking control.
Developing a personal marketing strategy or career plan is much more straightforward than it sounds. Where do you want to be in three, five and ten years time?
Factor in all the variables
- Do you want to be in a high flying, in-charge role?
- do you see yourself running your own business?
- Do you want to be home by five every day?
- Do you want to work in another country?
Whatever your aspirations, you can achieve them through careful planning. Of course, there is always an element of luck – being in the right place at the right time, taking up opportunities you didn’t even know existed.
But in the end, you can be surer of getting what you want by developing your own career strategy.
First, take stock of what you’re doing now
- What do you like about your job? What do you dislike?
- What new things have you learned in the last six months?
- How did you get where you are – by design or by ‘accident’?
- Do you feel well rewarded and recognised for your contribution?
- Are you giving it your all yet other people seem to be reaping the benefits?
- What frustrates you?
- Are your ideas properly considered?
- What career development opportunities are there in your current organisation? Do you want to take them?
Now think about what you want to do in the future
- Do you see yourself in the same or a similar type of role?
- Do you want more (or less) responsibility?
- Do you want to relocate?
- Do you want to do something completely different?
This exercise will help you to focus on where you are now and where you want to go.
You may be perfectly happy in your current position and envisage yourself staying there as long as possible. That’s fine. But in this scenario, it is important to make sure that your contribution is fully understood and appreciated by those who matter in the organisation.
It is very easy to be taken for granted.
Use opportunities such as performance appraisals to make sure your contribution is recognised. Identify what you need to do to keep your skillset up to date and ask for whatever is needed to help you continue to do the job well.
If your ambitions focus on moving on and moving up, consider what skills you will need to help you attain those objectives. How?
Conduct your own skills audit
List the experience, qualifications and attributes required to do your target job:
- Where are the gaps in your experience, what are your weaknesses?
- Have you had sufficient man-management experience?
- Are you confident in budgeting?
- Have you had the appropriate sector experience?
- Do you need to gain a professional qualification to progress further?
- Will learning another language be valuable?
- Do you need to broaden your experience in a different business sector/environment?
- Write your resumé as if for your target position. This will help you focus on your experience and achievements so far, and help you to identify any gaps.
Next, think about how you can fill in those gaps in your skills and experience
- Can you organise a secondment to another part of the business?
- Will your employer sponsor you to pursue further qualifications?
- Do you need to change sectors?
- Can you take on new responsibilities in your current role which will prepare you for the next step?
- Can you get involved in any initiatives which will boost your profile and provide a new perspective?
If your current company cannot provide the opportunities you need, move on.
Do not be afraid of change.
Lingering in a role in which you are unhappy or unfulfilled can only make things worse. Boring jobs are inhumane. Taking charge of your career and proactively creating your own opportunities is the surest way to make things happen. It will give you a sense of control that adds an entirely new perspective to your job searching.
Think about getting a mentor
Ideally someone who is already doing (or who has done) the type of job you are targeting. Choose someone you get on with and can trust. Confide your aspirations to them and enlist their support. Ask them to help you identify potential weak spots and elicit their advice on how you can improve your skills.
Developing a smart personal marketing strategy is all about planning and being ready to take up any suitable opportunities which may come your way.
And if you can’t find the opportunity you’re looking for, CREATE YOUR OWN!
There have never been more opportunities to expand your personal marketing strategy into an area all of your own. Working freelance, building your own blog, e-commerce business or personal brand are all viable career choices in 2019.
There is more advice about succeeding in any and all of these areas than you could possibly use in a lifetime. The important thing to do is pick a niche, using the guidelines in this article, and then go all out to excel and make it your own.
It may take time, it may not make you a living in the early days but eventually, YOU WILL find the winning formula that makes your carefully-crafted strategy come to life.
The Universe rewards focused effort and imagination, so work hard, focus with laser-like intensity on your goal and use your creativity to make your ideas stand tall in the World.
Look out for more features in this series including ‘Career Coaching’, ‘Finding Your Next Job’ and ‘Accessing the Unadvertised Jobs Market’.