Take Control of Your Professional Future

September 7, 2010

By Michael Palmer

Many organizations today say that one of their core values is their commitment to the pursuit of lifelong learning and personal development. To that end, these companies say that they emphasize helping individual growth to reach full potential.

Nowadays, I would suggest that your career growth is up to you. You need to take control of your professional future and make sure that you are progressing down the right career path. Here are several proven strategies to help you get started:

· Talk to your boss. Understand what your boss thinks it will take for you to move to the next level-what skills you need to meet the company's goals. Share your own career goals to ensure that your dreams match what your boss thinks you can achieve. What often derails careers is that you and management have a very different take on your ability to move to the next level.

· Keep learning. Continually acquire new knowledge. Stay on top of trends or developments in your field by seeking out educational opportunities. If there is a cost associated with your learning goals, share your desires with your boss who will most likely help you find a way to achieve your goals. Make sure that your current résumé reflects those needed skills.

· Build your reputation. In marketing especially, your reputation is the most valuable thing you own. Those who have the ability/knowledge to help others accomplish their sales goals and objectives will be continually sought out. Find out what makes your customers buy from your organization, and then help others use that insight to build more effective programs.

Need help? As an ANA member you can turn to the ANA School of Marketing. We offer both free and paid training opportunities-take advantage of the benefits of your association membership. Find out more today!



comments (1)

Chuck Hatsis

September 22, 2010 11:40pm ET


I’d like to build on the points you’ve made. In addition to sharing one’s career goals with his/her boss, one can also ask him/her the qualities, experiences and education s/he would look for if hiring a successor. Asking this question allows one to “inventory” him/herself against the manager’s criteria, determine which gaps need to be filled, and chart out a course of action.

With regard to “keep learning,” one always needs to stay at the forefront of his/her field to stand out from the crowd. This requires learning from more experienced colleagues and continuous education. Continuous education takes the form of reading (papers, magazines, books), classroom training, conference attendance, and hearing out innovative prospective suppliers. Classrooms and conferences bring the advantage of functional peer learning, as well.

In addition to reputation, I think managers like direct reports, colleagues, team members and 3rd parties that can uncover insights and suggest creative, alternate means to desired ends. When my direct reports look at the same horizon I’m looking at, proactively identify the same issues and opportunities I do, identify ones I’ve missed and suggest sound courses of action, that’s when I know they’re ready to take on more responsibility.


Chuck Hatsis
President, Surge Consulting

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