Moving Your Career Along in a Static Economy

By Tim Johnson

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Millions of marketing people have 1-5 years’ experience and are thinking about how to accelerate their career growth in terms of experiences, income and education. Despite Coronavirus, you don’t need to slow down your growth, although your growth may come in different ways. Here are several questions you should ask along with a few tips as you start to focus your career.

What type of marketing person do I want to be? 

Do you want to focus on product marketing, corporate marketing, advertising, market research, public relations or something else? If you’re currently working in one of these areas and are curious about other areas, ask around. Consider contacting your alumni network. When you’re just starting out, if you make a switch of disciplines it won’t be difficult to start over and you may not even suffer any impact to your income.

Do I need an MBA?  

An MBA is a lot of work but can accelerate your exposure both to an enormous range of new information and new ways of thinking, as well as enable you to learn from the experiences of other students. One thing to consider: if you plan to get married and have kids, consider earning that MBA sooner rather than later. Juggling work and an MBA course load is a significant undertaking, adding a family to that makes the effort truly herculean.

Should I work on the company or agency/consultancy side of the business?  

Yes. Whichever discipline you select, it’s valuable to your career to work on both sides of the business. While the core marketing skill sets you’ll employ are largely the same, the management of those skill sets is entirely different.

What else should I be doing?  

Here are a few other tips to keep your career moving:

  • Don’t wait! Check out this book, The Defining Decade. The author suggests that there is a “30 is the new 20” culture today and that many young professionals don’t start to focus on their careers until they turn 30. I’m not sure how true this is, but it’s an interesting read.
  • Speaking of reading, read—a lot! It’s important to have a knowledge of what’s going on in the world generally, in your industry and in your profession. And, reading today isn’t just reading, it’s reading, podcasts, videos and more.
  • Network. When you meet people at events, connect with them on LinkedIn and stay in touch. When work colleagues leave, keep up with what they’re doing. If you’re at an agency and a client contact leaves to go to another company, keep track of what they’re doing. You never know who can help you down the road.

The current Coronavirus pandemic adds a new challenge to your career growth. But, with some creativity and perseverance, you can continue to add to your experiences, income and education. 

Have a question about a career decision you need to make? Let us know!

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