Do You Have A Professional ‘Marketing Plan’ For Your Next Promotion?
by Jacquie Wise
The end of a year is a good time to take stock and plan your career strategy for the year to come. If you think of yourself as a product, and your employer as a customer, it’s easier to understand how you can market yourself so that your management clearly recognises your skills, innate abilities and knowledge and puts you first in line for new opportunities.
Any product doesn’t get sold just by sitting on a shelf, waiting for a customer to notice it. It takes a good marketing plan to make sure potential customers see a need for it and decide they want it.
The first question to ask yourself is: Are you known to key people at different levels of your organisation? If not, you need to gain visibility. Find a task force to join—or, even better, initiate one to resolve some problem. Learn presentation skills until you can participate at meetings and management conferences.
If your company has an internal newsletter, find a way to contribute. You may be able to write a book review, or summarise something you learnt at a seminar.
If there are networking functions in your organisation, don’t stay glued to your own team. Circulate to meet people from other departments—find out how they operate. More importantly, introduce yourself to senior executives. Allow them to get to know you and your aspirations. Ask advice. Maybe one will mentor you.
Next, let’s assume key people in your organisation know you exist. But do they recognise your potential? If not, you need to identify any blockages and revise your approaches. Research your management’s real needs and adjust what you have to offer. This is a continuous process. You need to seek out performance appraisals. Ask peers and customers for feedback too. What are you like to work with? What could you do differently? Maybe review your appearance, speech or manner, to ensure you meet industry standards.
The last question to answer is: do you have credibility? In my view, credibility is visibility. You must be seen to have the skills, innate abilities and knowledge that combined, add up to competence at a particular level. That loops around to the other two questions on whether you’re known and whether your potential is recognised.
But what if you don’t have the necessary skills and knowledge?
People who succeed are constantly looking for ways to improve. In the coming year, read at least three professional development books and act on the pointers you gain.
Seek out appropriate training and allocate the cost in your budget, in case your company won’t provide training.
Identify role-models who inspire you for the next step in your chosen direction. Or maybe what they do can give you ideas on what that direction could be.
Revisit your CV (and LinkedIn profile) and gear it to the next step you want to take. Write a draft Key Selection Criteria statement to see for yourself where the gaps are and what you need to do to make yourself ready to meet the requirements of the next step.
It was volunteering that opened up many new career directions for me over the years. I learnt new skills, expanded my experience and knowledge and met a host of interesting people. One thing led to another, but it was volunteering that opened that first door.
Maybe you have the right skills, knowledge and experience, but aren’t getting anywhere. Then maybe you’re in the wrong organisation. Of course you’re not going to leave one job without having another to go to, but you’re going to go shopping.
Expand your network of contacts, perhaps through an association or discussion group. You’ll find contacts amongst clients or customers, your company’s auditors, solicitors, and bankers, or former colleagues. And of course, there are always professional advisers who can give you leads.
Don’t forget to ask friends and family if they know anyone who can help you with something specific. Keep asking and generating conversations on your chosen topic—you’ll eventually meet the right person who has just the right information.
A clear strategy leads to concrete actions that result in definite outcomes.
Part two of this article will address a question asked by so many of my clients: what you’ve done all these things but still lack the confidence? If you don’t believe in yourself, how are you going to convince anyone else? Well, watch this space.
Imagine how you would feel if you could get the promotion you want. Interested? If so, contact me directly to arrange a convenient appointment time.
I’d love to know what you think of what I’ve said here.
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