Article by top UK career sector writer, Paul Hichens
Besides planning, even just thinking ahead, or being aware of potential opportunities, is also something proactive that you can do conscientiously, or even just subconsciously lurking in the back of your mind.
For example, if you are currently a general marketing manager but know that your long-term goal is as a specialist digital marketing director then even though your current job remit may at best slightly overlap that of the digital marketing director it doesn’t stop you from being proactive.
For example, in addition to ensuring that you keep up-to-date with the very latest developments in digital marketing, there are numerous other things that you can do to help prepare and pave the way for career development to your target job. One obvious thing to do (if possible) is to try and get as much in-house experience in your target area as possible. In this instance, if your current company doesn’t have much in the way of digital marketing strategy then one thing that you could do, in your own time of need be, is do some analysis, create reports and prepare recommendations on the potential benefits to your current company of improving their digital marketing strategy. At the very least, you will learn more about something that is relevant to your future career. On the other hand, it may bring additional, more tangible rewards including recognition from your current employers, or even promotion.
Yes, in the course of your research, depending on circumstances, it may well transpire that additional digital marketing strategy may not be particularly cost-effective for your current company – but even that is potentially significant, and especially if your current company was thinking of paying for an external company to provide this. Even in cases like this, it is sometimes advantageous to approach senior management and/or directors and give them insight into your findings.
On the other hand, you may well unearth a key to a whole new revenue stream that your current company was crying out for.
Either way it could be win-win, and unless you do it, no one will ever know.
The main thing is to remain positive and proactive. This includes things such as doing your homework and attending seminars, conferences, meetings and the like is it helps. Moreover, if you do attend such events, then it can be highly beneficial to network, and make contacts. There could be very senior, influential people at these events, and if you can strike a rapport and make an impression then this could pay dividends further down the line – even indirectly. For example, Mr A at company X may not be looking for a digital marketing director, but Mr A may chat to Mrs B at company Y who is.
You get the gist. Moreover, you don’t even need to restrict yourself to networking in the field. In the age of the proliferation of social media and websites such as LinkedIn, networking can be done from the comfort of your own home. It may not be quite the same, but it still possible to make new connections, and to find out more about opportunities that your more passive counterparts won’t have even heard about.
The moral of this section is really to just reiterate that yes, if you are currently just a manager whose ultimate aim is director then it may well be difficult to make the transition in one fell swoop, and so you may need to be patient and gain experience. That being so, the more proactive you are, the better your odds of progressing more quickly – and you never know, you may just make it in one fell swoop if you play your cards right.