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Five ways to keep your career on track

23 Sep 10:00 by Richard Walters

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We all start out with dreams of successful and fulfilling careers, but without a bit of careful planning things can quickly go off track

 

Here are five practical pointers to help you keep your career on an upward trajectory

1. Relationships are everything in this industry. Since marketing is a ‘people’ business, you are likely to be comfortable with building and maintaining relationships. But do you have the scope to be even more proactive in your networking, both inside and outside your organisation? Some useful tips for relationship building in business can be found here. Also, don’t be shy about promoting yourself and your achievements within your network, though take care to acknowledge the contributions of others.

2. Accept that career paths rarely follow straight lines. Though primarily aimed at women, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s tome Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead contains plenty of advice applicable to both sexes. Notably, she likens her career path to a ‘jungle gym’, a piece of multi-level playground equipment on which children can sit, hang or climb. Her message is that there are numerous paths to the top and your career trajectory may involve making lateral moves, as well as having a willingness to work in different positions and for different companies.

3. Don’t allow yourself to become obsoleteSome leading futurists predict that 60% of all the jobs people will be doing in 10 years’ time have yet to be invented. By the same token, technology is sure to render some of today’s roles obsolete. Marketers (particularly younger practitioners with long careers ahead of them) should try to keep a step ahead of the march of technology, otherwise they risk being trampled under it.

4. Invest sufficient time in managing your career. According to career management consultancy Right Management, good things can and will happen to you if you take the time to effectively manage your career. They argue that individuals should set big goals, then take action every day towards achieving them. Right Management also stresses the importance of lifelong learning, which brings us neatly to…

5. Get qualified. There are numerous professional qualifications that can give you a boost through all stages of your career. Most can be studied for in bite-sized chunks around your existing commitments, and you may find your employer is willing to cover the costs.

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