When it comes to their careers, most people don’t have a clue. They don’t have a plan, a roadmap, a flashlight or even a Thomas Guide. They simply keep plowing forward, head down and hand out for the next paycheck. My guess is that a majority of people in PR put more thought into the college they were going to attend out of high school than what type of PR agency they’d join. Are PR people stupid? No, but many never majored in PR in college and just fell into the profession by way of journalism, advertising, marketing or a referral from a friend. They were happy to land that first job and never actually had an idea where a PR career leads or how to get there. They didn’t chart out a master plan and then 3 years into their first job, they’re more concerned about getting a raise, than plotting a career move. After a year or two more, it’s time to jump again for more money or a title elevation. That’s how most people do it. Unfortunately, it’s not the right approach.
But life is hectic. The work day is hectic. It’s tough to sit back and put some serious thought into that next career move. But are there really many things that are more important in terms of helping to ensure your professional and financial satisfaction? If you spent an hour a month strategizing your career, you’d probably be spending more time on career planning than 90% of your peers and would have a better career trajectory and achieve faster financial rewards. That’s especially true for professionals in the first 5 years of their career. These young professionals, YoPRo’s as many young PR professional organizations call them, are so caught up in their day to day job responsibilities that they don’t take the opportunity to breathe, look up and try to envision where they want to be in 5, 10 or 20 years.
And when they finally do get to the point of contemplating a move they typically chase the cheese instead of taking a longer term view that ultimately leads to even more cheese. Chart out a rough career plan and then talk to an (external) industry recruiter and get in their talent pool, so you’re seeing as many opportunities as possible. My point is simple. Spend a little time to plan and to think and it will pay off in a more rewarding career.