By Sonia M. Farace, MSEL – Master of Science in Executive Leadership
“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after having an experience with you becomes your trademark.” – Jay Danzie
Today’s marketplace is different by far from what it was few years ago. The rapid pace of evolving technologies certainly makes these exciting times. Unfortunately, many schools are failing to prepare their grads for a marketplace where many of the old rules of doing business no longer apply. Those who’ve been in the in the marketplace for years, but are now looking toward a new stage in their careers are finding out that it’s become harder to stand out from the crowd. All this brings these questions to mind: How can you efficiently develop a career in an ever-changing economy? How can you get yourself noticed and get ahead?
Your ability to outshine your competition by differentiating your skills and knowledge is determined by your ability to keep up with and adapt to changes in your chosen field. Successful companies know this; they plan their marketing strategies to monitor and manage change. Unfortunately, many individuals have no such plans in play.
Why You Need a Personal Marketing Plan (PMP)
Through personal experience, I’ve learned that to get ahead in these times, where the only constant is change, it’s necessary to have an entrepreneurial mindset, and to develop and execute a Personal Marketing Plan (PMP). The same principles used in formulating a Business Marketing Plan can be adapted to market the most important commodity in your life: you! Following a good PMP can be equally effective whether you’re involved in career development, or dealing with an unexpected job change.
Framework for a PMP
The following framework has been adapted from “Marketing YOU, INC. – Preparing a Personal Marketing Plan.” It was prepared by Deborah Lawton for McGraw-Hill.
In addition to guiding your future, a PMP helps you to determine what is important for you, and to decide how to allocate your time and personal resources over a given period.
- Vision – What is my preferred future/career path ¬– what will fulfill my life purpose?
- Mission – What do I need to do to realize my vision?
- Objectives & Goals – Which KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) can I use to measure my progress? What can I use as proof of the achievement of my mission/vision?
- SWOT – What strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats influence my situation?
- Strategic Opportunities – What strengths and opportunities can I leverage? What weaknesses or threats must I be aware of and guard against?
- Strategic Alternatives – Which career paths can I follow to achieve my goals?
- Work Plan – What specific actions do I need to complete, within what time frames?
- Contingency Plan – What could go wrong? What is my Plan B? Plan C?
Your PMP’s timeline will vary according to your particular needs and the current stage of your career. I’ve been working on my own PMP for three years now, and I keep updating it as my professional career evolves.
Yes, you may argue that all this takes a lot of time, or that you’re just too busy to stop and work out a PMP. However, if you don’t do it for yourself, nobody else is going to! The fact is, very few people ever take the time to formulate a PMP, much less execute one. So this is something you can do to get a major jump on the competition. Even if it’s not the perfect plan, or flawlessly executed, it will be much better than operating with no plan beyond “I’ll just work hard and hope it all works out.”
By putting your PMP in writing, your good intentions are recorded. They’re tangible, right there in front of you where you can review and reorient to them from time to time, track and acknowledge your progress, refresh your resolve, and make revisions as circumstances change.
Now, please share your experiences with plans like those I’ve described, as well as the ways you’ve approached getting ahead in your career.
Currently Sonia is serving on the Board of Directors of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professional (CSCMP) San Diego/Baja Roundtable and in the Advisory Board of the Hispanic Chamber of E-commerce (HISCEC). She is also a guest writer to the #LatinaGeeks blog, an online community that empowers Latin women to leverage the use of technology, digital and social media for their personal and professional growth. You can contact and follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.