Top Comms Execs provide Tips to Manage Your Career

September 1, 2016 by prtalent

As communications pros, we’ll do almost anything to achieve positive results, over-deliver and add value for our clients. It’s in our DNA to burn the midnight oil to roll out the plan pieces just right, work weekends and holidays and respond to emails while on vacation. We’re all in. This is our mindset when taking care of our clients.

IMG_2787L-to-R: Jim Delulio, Pete Pedersen, Mary Camarata, Dan Lee, Mark Firmani, Joy Portella, Katie James

Why don’t we put the energy and effort into mapping out a personal game plan for our careers and treat ourselves just like one of our clients?

However, when it comes to taking care of our own careers, we tend to put that on the backburner and rarely check-in with ourselves on where we are, where we want to go and how we’re going to get there. As time ticks by, our careers can happen to us based on situations and circumstances.I posed that question and others to Mary Camarata, Director, Global Communications at Amazon Web Services; Katie James, Senior Communications Manager at Microsoft; Pete Pedersen, Vice President, Global Communications at Sonos and Joy Portella, President at Minerva Strategies, when moderating a Seattle PRSA panel discussion on “Charting the Course of Your Communications Career.”

I posed that question and others to Mary Camarata, Director, Global Communications at Amazon Web Services; Katie James, Senior Communications Manager at Microsoft; Pete Pedersen, Vice President, Global Communications at Sonos and Joy Portella, President at Minerva Strategies, when moderating a Seattle PRSA panel discussion on “Charting the Course of Your Communications Career.”

Here are key tips they shared that will help you manage your own communications career:

Build Momentum: What are the intentional steps you’re taking right now to manage your career? Create a brief outline plan with action items that you can reference, adjust and accomplish. Keep the action items simple and achievable to build your momentum.

Be Curious: Before looking for a new job, have you explored all the opportunities available to grow your career in your current firm? Believe it or not, your next opportunity could be right under your nose just outside of your current department or geography.

Stretch Yourself: Be open and willing to take an assignment in a new area that stretches you creatively, allows you to develop new relationships and takes you out of your comfort zone. This is how professional growth happens.

Take Risks: What’s holding you back from going after that new opportunity? Raise your hand, put yourself out there and explain why you’re the right person for the role. Even if you don’t get the opportunity, you’ll be on a manager’s radar to be considered for one similar.

Network Your Network: Is there someone who has a skill inside your firm that you want to learn more about? Invite them to coffee and have the key questions ready you want answered. Networking is also about giving not just getting. Be sure to ask them how you can help them in some way too. This strategy also includes reaching out to younger co-workers who can teach you a thing or two about the digital world.

Speak Truth to Power: Don’t be afraid to take a stand to express your opinion even if it’s counter to the current point of view of the organization’s leadership. As long as your position is well thought out, researched and is presented in a respectful, intelligent manner, your stature in the company will be elevated for taking a brave stance. (Be selective on your issues since this comes with some obvious risks.)

Find Balance: Creating work-life balance is a constant tug of war for all of us. Things get even more complicated when kids are part of the mix. Sometimes the only
option is to bring the family along on unavoidable business trips. Try to extend the stay an extra day or two, treat it like a mini-vacation and create a memorable time for everyone.

Stay Fresh: You may land in a role that is comfortable, but it’s not fulfilling your career aspirations. Don’t get too comfortable, stay focused on where you want to take your career and take proactive steps to move it forward. Like products in the local grocery store, we also have built-in “stay fresh” dates too. Time goes by quickly, so don’t let your “stay fresh” date expire by growing stale in your current position.

Pair Your Passions: Sometimes two passion areas may seem unrelated, but with a little research or a little luck you may land in a spot where can play in both areas. Look for opportunities that check more than one of your passion area boxes. This could lead you in an exciting direction that you haven’t considered.

Brand You: Throughout your career journey, each experience you have and the relationships you develop along the way also build your personal brand. Be conscious of your brand and what it says about you. What attributes does your brand possess? Why is it compelling and valuable? Polish up your brand and be ready to tell your story so the right organizations want to hire Brand You.

Dan Lee leads Seattle and Pacific Northwest recruiting for PR Talent. Look for similar PR Talent sponsored panels to take place in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles in the coming months.

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