People who plan their career years in advance and make efforts to make them happen achieve far more than those who do not have a long-term plan and make their career decisions dictated only by immediate benefits. It’s better to be proactive for an individual to assess his interests, strengths, weaknesses and realistically evaluate his options and make relevant plans, rather than being reactive and end up in an employment where the individual’s true potentials are not realised for many different reasons.
This article illustrates my personal career plan in detail in my chosen field of professional interest – marketing, and lists steps I am planning to undertake to progress to my dream job, anticipating possible challenges, analysing alternative progressions and describing preventive actions. The article also describes career planning methodology, marketing field in general and necessary KSAs to be successful in this field.
My personal development plan is provided in the article along with my SMART objectives describing how I am planning to prepare myself for each step which eventually will lead me to my dream job – marketing executive.
Dream Job – Marketing Executive
Marketing executives promote products, services or ideas by developing marketing strategies and campaigns. They are closely involved in public relations, planning, research, product development, participating in events and organising them. This role is fascinating to me because it provides two job elements which I find exciting: meeting and communicating with people, and seeing the immediate and long-term results of your work.
Marketing executives have a wide range of responsibilities and it depends mainly on the sector and the size of the company. The job of a marketing executive includes production of marketing materials, managing the marketing budget, organizing and attending to events, exhibitions etc., evaluating the efficiency of marketing campaigns, conducting market research, and dealing with press and others.
The main skills required for marketing executives are communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving, strategic thinking, creativity, attention to detail and others.
Career Planning Methodology
The career planning process proposed by The University of Edinburg Career Services (The career planning process-online, 2014) consists of following parts:
- What I want and what I have to offer? Identify what factors are important to individual, build up a picture of priorities priorities in terms of skills, interests and what motivates the individual, recognise what might hold him back and identify how to fill any gaps in experiences.
- What’s out there? Gathering appropriate information about the nature of different types of work, the range of employment opportunities, and further study or training opportunities.
- Focus on options. Making confident decisions by analysing the research done on individual and his options.
- Making plans. Setting short and long term goals. Being realistic, considering the time available, focusing on the priorities set, breaking down large tasks and reviewing plans regularly.
- Making it happen. Reflecting on the skills and experiences and putting plans into action.
The Career Planning Model proposed by Queensland University of Technology (What is a career?-online, 2014) has the following format:
Source: Queensland University of Technology web-site
An alternative holistic career planning model proposed by Oregon State University (Career planning process – online, 2014) consists of the following interchangeable steps:
•Becoming self-aware-explore unique qualities – how do I fit with different career types?
•Becoming career-aware-exploring career possibilities – what do people do in different careers? Should I start my own business?
•Integrating awareness information-exploring challenges, making decisions & setting goals – does this mean following my heart or my head, or both?
•Marketing -preparing to obtain work – can I pull it all together to convince an employer I’m the right person for the job?
•Workplace Success-exploring methods for success – how can I start out on the right foot?
•Balanced lifestyle-review, reflecting, researching, and responding to personal, family/social, career, leisure, and community integration – Yikes!
Personal Career Plan
My personal career plan consists of several stages. Prior to landing to my dream job – senior marketing executive of a global multinational company I have to gain valuable skills and experience that would help me to be successful in that job. These skills are interpersonal skills, communication skills, ability to conduct extensive complex researches, creativity and others. I can gain these skills working in different positions which would lead me to senior marketing executive position, where in each position I can master one or more of the skills required
Stage 1: Working as a sales person in a multi-level marketing company.
After completion of my studies the first job I will be doing is the position of a sales person in a multi-level marketing company such as Discovery Toys, Freelife, Herbalife, Neways or telecom Plus.
I will benefit from working in a multi-level marketing company in following ways:
- My communication skills will be improved. Working in a multi-level marketing company means I will be speaking to lots of people every day trying to persuade them to buy products I am selling when they do not want it in the first place. This is the essence of a multi-level marketing business. Customers will not come to me interested in my product, I will have to knock their doors and persuade them that they need the item I am selling.
- I will get used to rejections. Every day dozens of people will reject my offers and I will learn not to take rejections personally, but to deal with them professionally
- I will benefit from training courses. Many global multi-level marketing companies offer valuable training courses for employees for free which is aimed at increasing their communication and selling skills
- I will improve my team managing skills. Many multi-level marketing companies operate in a way that you have to build your team and you get a certain percentage of the sales made by your team.
However, there would be possible challenges such as desire to give up if no sales made for a period of time and coping with limited or no money earned during the initial period of joining the business.
Preventive actions for challenges would be to be focusing on my dream job and to be persistent. Also, to get financial help from my parents during the initial period of joining the company.
Stage 2: Working in a marketing research company.
After working for a multi-level marketing company for about 2 years and gaining confidence and expertise in communicating with people and direct selling, the next step will be joining a marketing research company such as Illuminas, Kantar Group or Mintel.
The benefits for me would be to understand deeply market segments, different strategies of marketing research and learning how to work with data. I am planning to work for a market research company for about a year.
The possible challenges could be difficulty of securing employment due to absence of formal work experience in the field and lack of my knowledge of marketing research
Preventive actions I am planning to undertake are convincing potential employers that the value of my academic research could be equal to formal work research experience and to be consistently increasing my knowledge about market research
Stage 3: Working in a multinational company as a marketing officer
In today’s global marketplace marketing executives have to know about different cultures in detail especially about the factors that trigger their decision to buy a product or service. Working for a multinational company where I have a chance to cooperate closely with representatives of a wide range of cultures will give me an opportunity to study them closely which will benefit me enormously later when I will become a marketing executive of a large multinational company. It will help me in two ways: to effectively manage multinational workforce and to target potential clients of different nationalities. I am planning to work in a multinational company for about three years.
The possible challenge for career progression at this stage can be the difficulty of finding such a position. There is a risk that a company can be global and multinational, but the circle of people I deal with in my position could be limited just to several nationalities. In that case alternative progression would be still working for a multinational company as marketing officer, and at the same time to be learning about different cultures, their values and factors influencing their decision making through alternative channels.
Stage 4: Working as marketing manager and leading a marketing team.
One I have mastered communication and interpersonal skills, obtained work experience in marketing research company as researcher and have been working with people from variety cultures and studying them, the only step from my dream job will be the actual experience of managing people. Knowing how to manage and motivate employees to greater performance is also one of the key skills successful senior marketing executive should possess. I will get a job where I will be managing a team of at least ten marketing officers. I will be working in such a position for about five years.
Possible challenges in that stage can be some difficulties in managing people at initial period due to absence of managing experience.
There are no alternative progressions in that part. Successful marketing executive has to know how to lead people. Preventive action would be to be learning about management well ahead before I reach that stage, that is effective management principles and rules from now.
Stage 5: Securing employment in my dream job – Senior Marketing Executive in a global, multinational company.
I will land my dream job after eleven years of graduating from school and acquiring all necessary KSAs needed to be successful as marketing executive. The period of securing my dream job – eleven years may not seem ambitious enough, but it is a realistic estimation to realise that plan.
Possible challenge I might face as a marketing executive can be in the form of size of the business. Preventive action would be to form a good team of employees in form to take on challenges.
Personal Development Plan
Generally, the following three basic questions need to be asked in order to develop personal development plan:
- Where am I now?
- Where do I want to be?
- How can I get there?
The following flowchart illustrates the process of writing a personal development plan:
My personal development plan is aimed to equip me with all necessary KSA’a to proceed through all stages of my career stages and to land to my dream job. It includes following:
- To be reviewing new issue of Marketing Week magazine every month. It will keep me updated about the latest trends in marketing
- To attend Dale Carnegie ‘Effective Communication and Human Relations” course in 2015
- To attend Impact Factory leadership development course in by 2015
- To attend Kwintessential cross-cultural awareness course by 2017
- To become a member of Market Research Society by 2019
- To be publishing articles about various aspects of marketing in specialist magazines each month starting from 2019
The existence of a career plan does not guarantee that our career will follow exactly the same direction as we have mapped. However, this fact should not diminish the importance of identifying career plan in writing, because thinking about our next job taking into account our interests, knowledge, skills and abilities will help us to identify positions where our talents will be in their best use and we will enjoy the job itself.
In a personal level I benefited from writing my present personal career plan enormously. I had to evaluate the choices I have at present and make plans what I want from my career and how to achieve them.
Career Planning Process (2014) Oregon State University, Available at: http://www.osucascades.edu/studentresources/careers/puzzle
The Career Planning Process (2014) Career Services,University of Edinburg Career Services, Available at: http://www.careers.ed.ac.uk/STUDENTS/Getting_Started/The_Career_Planning_Process.html
What is a Career? (2014) Careers and Employment, Queensland University of Technology. Available at: http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.careers.qut.edu.au/student/career/Graphics/CareerPlan.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.careers.qut.edu.au/student/career/&usg=__mq1vk_9xZsFppfkf4jo6ftcfk=&h=342&w=432&sz=25&hl=en&start=3&sig2=nKuXpu89vJdr24aaqh1cMQ&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=Dv_nap48kprkMM:&tbnh=100&tbnw=126&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcareer%2Bplanning%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1R2SUNC_enGB384%26tbs%3Disch:1&ei=rM0aTNXpHND9_AbghpWbCQ
A personal development plan is one of the most effective tools for students and professionals who want to achieve excellence in their respective fields. It utilizes the concept of reflection to enable one keep track of the steps they have made to acquire skills and knowledge. It enables one to keep track of the changes required in their life and the weak spots requiring improvement. The plan provides a gauge for a person to see their progress, and determine the skills to be achieved in the future. It aids in the achievement of personal and professional development goals. This is because success requires planning and goal setting. The goals set in the plan have to be clear and measurable.
Review of the initial PDP
According to my initial PDP, communication and social skills acquisition was the main goal for the semester. I had planned to communicate more with my instructors in the areas of my weaknesses. The utilization of the instructors’ office hours and the taking of extra time to get in touch with them enabled deeper understanding of the concepts taught in class. This was the main change that I had to make. During this semester, I have been able to increase the amount of time spent with instructors on learning after classes and ensured that I go over everything I learned in class. If there was a point or an idea that needed clarification, I have been leaving it to myself to talk to the teacher in order to understand the concept before the next class.
Social development was also a significant part of my PDP; I discovered that I lack soft skills in relation to other people. The importance of these skills in the work place is significant, and I required developing them in order to avoid the skill mismatch in the workplace (Zenger and Folkman, 2009, p. 137). The improvement of interaction with other people was one of the main goals of my PDP. During this semester, I have changed how I relate with people by leaving more time for the interaction with them. I was able to achieve this by seeking an elective post as a representative in one of the professional clubs at the school. Acquiring this leadership position was important for my development of leadership skills. The acquisition of this post has also helped me develop communication skills since I had to communicate the needs and issues of the club members to the club leaders. It has also made me a good listener and a more focused person due to having other responsibilities besides schoolwork.
I also intended to improve my social interactions inside and outside the campus. One effective way that I chose to achieve this goal was getting involved in extra-curricular activities. Choosing a sport or a club was not easy because I am not too athletic. However, I knew the importance of this and thus decided to join the badminton team and have become an active and competent badminton player over time. Having an extra-curricular activity and a social group outside of classroom has enabled me to deal with stress more effectively. It has also allowed me to relax actively and to live a more productive life. Joining the badminton team has proved to be helpful and beneficial in many ways.
On the issue of time management, I planned a weekly schedule of the things I would be doing every week in order to make sure that I was not falling behind on time. The weekly schedules have been effective but I have had problems achieving some of the overall goals set for the semester. The time schedule has been a difficult one to follow due to overcrowding and poor execution. Some of the milestones that had to be achieved by the end of the semester such as reading inspirational books have not been completed. The schedule made for the reading of inspirational literature has been too overcrowded, and I have only achieved half of what I had planned. According to Zenger and Folkman (2009), Inspirational literature is very important for motivation (p. 24). My inability to finish the reading plan is bothering and discouraging. This highlights a time management problem that I have to take into account in the next personal development plan.
A reflection on my performance
My academic performance during the semester has been at par with other semesters. There has not been any considerable difference in my performance, which is not satisfactory. I intended to improve my GPA performance every semester in order to graduate with honors. Therefore, more needs to be done and dedicating more time to studying is necessary. According to my PDP, I required to achieve an average of 70% in all the tests and assignments before the end of the semester. The more time spent consulting the lecturers and instructors has only had a marginal effect on my performance. This implies that more time should be spent on doing so in order to achieve the desired results. One of my instructors said that what I needed was more practice as opposed to theory. Changes in the amount of practice required have not been implemented effectively since the results have not been satisfactory.
Gaining hands-on experience in the field has been an important factor and determinant of success. I intended to work part time during my free time to gain experience and practice in the field to aid the theory learned in class. This step has only been partially achieved because I could not secure employment in my field of specialization. The job I acquired was in car sales, which is not what I consider perfect for the practicing of the skills learned in my course of study. I actually spent more time than the experience I gained was worth. Yet in my next PDP I will surely include more time for finding suitable work to ensure that experience is gained in the perfect field and the perfect job.
Overall, I have learned that I have potential I have not been utilizing. Previously, I could not find time to engage in other activities besides class work, yet I did not perform exceptionally well. I have discovered that I can live a more holistic life without compromising the time spent on studies. Planning has enabled me to visualize what needs to be achieved and decide how to achieve it. I learned that my poor performance in school has been the result of little or no practice. It has also shown me that personal skills are important, and they are not as difficult to learn as I thought earlier.
PDP for the next four semesters
My current performance level is average and needs to be improved by the end of the semester to ensure that I graduate with honors. Therefore, more time will have to be spent on activities that improve the amount of knowledge gained during class time and outside of class. Practice is also required; therefore, the time spent practicing the learned skills will have to be increased over the next four semesters. My academic performance is the most important aspect of my studies, thus more time will be dedicated to it alongside the inclusion of other activities such as sports. I will keep a record of the activities that I am involved in concerning work experience, personal character development, and other life experiences. The main aim of the plan will be to achieve the knowledge and skills that will match the market requirements (Fry, 2009, p. 120).
The plan will also integrate academic development with personal development. Personal learning activities such as spending more time in the library conducting research on some important aspects of my professional field will also be considered. This means that I will require dedicating more time to find work that is in line with my field. This learning experience will be aimed at learning from other people and encompassing the learned ideas and methods into my skill set (Niven, 2006, p. 295). Developmental changes are necessary to ensure improvements in the overall well-being of my career prospects. I will undertake more involvement in social activities and situations to develop confidence. The goal is to attend at least one social event every two weeks. In addition, acquisition of leadership and interpersonal skills will be given proper attention since these skills are what the professional world requires.
Establishment of learning habits will become a major part of the plan since life is all about continuous learning (Fry, 2009, p. 124). Motivational literature will form a significant part of my learning culture and habits. I will improve my time management skills to ensure that I read two or more motivational books every month. In order to improve my employment prospects and recognize the weak points I need to work on, I will ask one teacher to become my mentor. I will then make sure that I meet with the teacher at least once a semester. During these meetings with the teacher, I will ask for feedback on my career prospects in the field and the type of skills I need to work on. I will also ensure that the teacher gets a chance to criticize my efforts and improvements, and suggest areas for improvement.
Another important aspect of life that has to be included in the development plan is the achievement of financial goals. This is one of my main weaknesses and it was not included in the previous PDP. The goal is to achieve financial freedom and independence by the end of the four semesters. This will be achieved by ensuring that I obtain the habit of saving money. I will save half of the money that I earn during holidays. Doing so I aim to save at least $ 5,000 every year. These savings will be used to cover living expenses upon completion of my course of study until I get a permanent job. This goal will be achieved by ensuring that I change my spending habits to only spend on the necessary things. Avoidance of unnecessary and non-value adding activities will be the main weapon against excessive expenditures.
The personal development plan is very important in enabling the tracking of developmental changes that are necessary for the achievement of set goals. Planning is very important since it provides a medium for a person to set goals and decide how they will have to be achieved. My personal development plan will…