Both Hands On Career Steering Wheel


Ever think there are simply too many career options — especially in marketing/communications? If so, you’re correct.

The list of multi-industry titles is almost endless: public relations account executive; advertising creative director; sales promotions supervisor; graphic designer; event planner; search engine marketer; mobile commerce god/dess.

What should an ambitious climber, like you, do?

  1. Recognize that macro-economic factors, usually beyond your control, have influenced the number of occupations. Ongoing digital boom has generated job titles that didn’t exist a decade ago. Global distribution of goods/services has increased need for refined employee talents (e.g., second language, cultural literacy).
  2. Understand that your early career path will likely take turns — some wide/sharp. Reality check: you can make conscious decisions about elements that impact progress. Act to secure mentors (via university alumni/employer network), complete additional training (association webinars/conferences; certifications; graduate studies), volunteer for challenging projects and pursue introductions that may result in job interviews.
  3. Know about the concept of Emerging Adulthood (ages 18-25). This theory is based on research by professor of psychology Jeffrey Jensen Arnett (Clark University in Worcester, MA) who submits that another life stage may exist between adolescence and adulthood. Dr. Arnett’s premise is that it now takes longer for post-collegians to determine an ideal occupation because of a preference to “explore” during 20’s (e.g., travel, work at non-profit or startup enterprise). Take-aways: if you feel a bit uneasy about current situation, you’re not alone; the earlier you select a field, the sooner you can leap forward.
  4. Grasp impact of developing into a “T-Shape” performer. Imagine that the letter “T” represents your total skills. As an upwardly driven professional, your initial emphasis should be to master a chosen specialty through practice/education (vertical part of “T”). Then deepen collaboration by improving listening and design thinking/problem-solving (top of “T”).

Conclusion: To maintain an edge, always acquire relevant skills (tip: ask your boss).

By monitoring workplace dynamics, you can boost odds to maximize future opportunities.

Tim Conway When not chasing puppy Clifford (The Lil’ Red Dog), Tim Conway delivers academic/career counseling for twentysomethings, career changers and wannabe business owners. Reach Tim at or 312-523-1448 (mobile).

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