Answer three questions and you have your career game plan.
I call it a game plan to stress execution; the art of the doable rather than the art of the possible.
You need a career game plan and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Here is my method; it works.
1. HOW BIG do you want to be?
This is about personal growth. What specific position do you covet? Most people are vague when asked about their career goals: “I would like a position managing people” or “I want to lead a marketing or sales team”.
These aspirations don’t feed execution very well, and a game plan that can’t be executed isn’t worth much.
Define the specific position you intend to get. It makes a big difference to the actions you take, for example, if you are interested in a VP Marketing position versus a Sales Account Manager position.
And be as clear as you can on the organization you are targeting. Your game plan tactics will be different if you are interested in BMW as opposed to Bell Canada. Each has a different business challenge and a different priority on the skills and competencies they require.
Too many career hunters are unclear on where they want to land which is a normal situation for most people. The problem is, as long as you are hovering over a number of possibilities you don’t act. You ponder and reflect. But you don’t DO anything to move forward.
It’s better to declare what you think you want today based on the best information you have available and your particular interests. Go after it. You will learn soon enough if it is the right path and you can then adjust your game plan “on the run”.
2. WHO do you intend to SERVE?
Who are the individuals – the foxes – who influence decisions on who gets selected for various positions in the organization you are targeting?
Game plan success means engaging with the right people to spread your word and get attention so you get the invitation to make your pitch. I have seen many talented people fail because they did not cultivate the right channels to express their skills and experience.
If you covet the VP Marketing position for the Canadian Marketing Association, for example, identify who can help you, and “mentor up” with high currency individuals. Other venues for your fox hunt include social media communities, Chambers of Commerce, Boards of Trades and Industry Associations.
3. HOW do you intend to compete and WIN?
The competition for career positions has never been greater; you need to be able to position yourself as THE most logical choice; you need to separate yourself from the job-hunting herd.
The killer question: “There are many applicants for this position; why should I pick you?” “What makes you special?”
If your pitch doesn’t crisply identify the experience and competencies you possess that are critical for the position AND how you are different from others, you won’t likely get picked.
My eyes glaze over when I hear “I have great interpersonal skills.” or “I have 10 years sales experience.”
Create your personal ONLY Statement to express your uniqueness: “I am will the ONLY one with demonstrated marketing experience necessary to successfully move the organization from a regulated monopoly to competitive one requiring an obsessive focus on the customer and delivering highly differentiated value.”
Three questions; three answers and you have a game plan to start your career journey.
Ponder no longer!
Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former CMO with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.