One aspect of the field of marketing that likely attracted you in the first place is the chance to continually develop new skills and even take your marketing career in a different direction. Whether you’re new to the field or a seasoned professional, consider these strategies for building a meaningful and rewarding marketing career.
Expose Yourself to the Possibilities
It can be difficult to figure out what truly inspires us when we fail to expose ourselves to different options and opportunities. We fall into a certain path and then forget that we have the ability to take a step back and shift gears for a better way forward.
If you’re just launching your marketing career, one of the best ways to get broad exposure to various marketing specializations—as well as how they work together—is to join an agency or an in-house corporate marketing function. In the agency environment, the account executive role offers the chance to build strong relationship management skills while gaining insight into areas as varied as research, media planning (traditional and digital) and creative. Working on a corporate team, you’re more likely to be assigned to a particular area while being given projects that allow you to work cross-functionally. In either case, keep an open mind to see if you’re drawn to a particular area of specialization. Then, ask to spend more time shadowing individuals in that area or, better yet, seek out a mentor who can provide guidance.
For experienced marketers, tap into that valuable network that you’ve cultivated over the years and set up coffee or lunches with individuals who are already doing what you think you might want to do. Ask them how they ended up in their roles and the advice they have for someone trying to make a transition to their area of specialization. (Who knows, you might even uncover a job offer or two this way). If you’re struggling to figure out what might make for an appealing transition, take a page from Designing Your Life and log your daily work activities for several weeks, noting which ones provide the greatest satisfaction and leave you energized versus those that cause frustration and drain your energy. While no job is frustration-free, this exercise can lead to a better sense of the direction that is right for you at this stage of your marketing career.
Consider Becoming the Boss
Perhaps your next step isn’t about pursing a different marketing specialization at all. Maybe it’s time to think about leading a team as the next step in your career. The good news is there’s endless research you can tap into about effective management practices, as well as findings from behavioral scientists about what motivates people at work. Set aside time each week to read an article or two as a way to explore what effective leadership looks like—and what it takes to deliver it.
Take Baby Steps Instead
Maybe now isn’t the best time to pursue a new direction for your marketing career, but you’re still feeling restless and bored. Use a strategy such as job crafting to help identify smaller changes you can make involving your daily work tasks, relationships and, perhaps most importantly, the way you view your role. These “tweaks” can actually have a major impact on your satisfaction, providing you with the time you need before making bigger changes to take you in a new direction.
No matter where you find yourself today, career development and advancement are crucial factors in your long-term happiness and engagement at work. Taking an active role in building your marketing career will always be a big part of ensuring success.
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