Whilst it certainly helps, when looking for a new job or deciding on your career path, to give yourself as many chances as possible, there are also distinct advantages to planning your career or setting yourself a specific goal.
At the beginning of your career, it’s a good idea to make yourself as appealing to as many employers as possible. Marketing is a diverse subject and by being open to as many fields or disciplines, you’re simply giving yourself as many chances to find employment as possible but as you progress further in your career this generalisation could actually start to work against you.
Employers, especially those looking to fill more senior roles, are often seeking an expert in a specific role, rather than someone who is a “good all-rounder”. If you have a reputation for excelling in a specific area or having a unique talent then, not only are you appealing to the employer who is looking for someone exactly like you but the dazzling reputation you’ve started to develop means that you could end up being headhunted by a company you dream of working for or offered a salary and benefits package to die for.
As has already been mentioned, being an expert in your field gives you a single skill with which to impress clients/employers. Employers are humans at the end of the day and whilst average might appeal to some people, others are impressed and remember those who excel and stand out. Jobs are becoming scarcer and the competition to get them is exceptionally fierce so it helps to make yourself stand out above the crowd. Given that your first impression to a company is often your CV or an application form then being as highly skilled in a specific area such as PR or account management is essential if you’re going to secure that dream role.
It might sound obvious but being focused on a particular role or target means that you’re less likely to be distracted and more likely to succeed. It stands to reason that focusing on a specific goal or target rather than a general destination means that you’re more likely to strive to succeed in reaching it whilst having something blasé gives little in the way of encouragement to get there. Even if you haven’t decided what the “end of the story” will look like yet, there’s nothing wrong with having a goal. You can keep the steps small or reassess if you think you’ve set yourself a target which is unattainable.
There are, obviously, a few cautions in being goal or target driven. The first is to ensure that you don’t tread or use colleagues in your hurry to get there. Even if you manage to reach the lofty heights of manager, it’s little good if you have nobody willing to work with you because of your attitude on the way up.
Secondly, it’s wise to ensure that the goals you set are achievable. Nothing is more frustrating or disparaging than a goal you simply can’t manage and this is likely to make you give up rather than strive to meet it.
Charles Reybreck is a freelance writer specialising in marketing jobs.