7 ways to grow your marketing career

Zone’s Marketing Executive, Rianna Mitchell, attended the Festival of Marketing and shares what she learned on how to grow your marketing career.

At the Festival of Marketing, Founder and CEO of The Marketing Academy, Sherilyn Shackell, hosted a session on why career growth goes beyond just learning new skills and taking on more responsibility — it’s about having the right attitude and establishing a sense of purpose. Based on Shackell’s valuable advice, here is a summary of her essential top tips for progressing in your marketing career.

1. Chill the f*** out

For those marketers who try to fast-track their way up the corporate ladder, Shackell brutally tells you to “chill the f*** out”. While she advocates professional growth and grabbing opportunities, she believes pursuing more senior roles, and so soon in your career, shouldn’t be the primary focus. She encourages marketers to enjoy the aspects that are unique to the current stage of their career while developing skills proficiently and gaining in-depth learning to become true experts in the field before moving on. Newbie and junior-level marketers should be patient and remember that the right time for progression will come.

2. Banish the inner critic

Shackell reveals that a common theme stifling marketers in their careers is that they lack confidence. “We all have an inner saboteur,” she says, and “the biggest one is ourselves”. The inner critic is a subconscious deterrent standing between you and your achievements. She believes silencing the inner voice or “turning down the volume” can help tackle self-doubt and feeling “not good enough”. You can mitigate the critical voice by showing some compassion through accepting it is just trying to protect you from emotional distress. Shackell shares a trick — to create a characterised voice in your head, perhaps even name it, who you can thank for their critique before dismissing it and moving on.

3. Because you’re worth it

Feel like a fraud at work? Imposter syndrome can be a powerful blocker for career progression, and numerous professionals, including high-flyers, experience it. Believing that your success is undeserved or incited by luck, not a result of your efforts, skills, or abilities, can knock your confidence and self-esteem. But Shackell wants you to know that “you’re worth it”, and while you may not recognise your achievements as being self-earned, other people can see your talent, which is partly why you are where you are in the first place.

4. Discover your why

Advancing your career just for the sake of it isn’t going to get you geared for long-term career success. If you find yourself thinking “I don’t know what I want, but I don’t want this,” says Shackell, you should discover the why before stressing about the how. It’s important to define why you’re taking that next step and if it aligns with your career goals, as you don’t want to land a position that isn’t an appropriate fit or find yourself on the wrong career path. Shackell believes motivation involves finding balance, freedom, development, wellness, flexibility, autonomy, personal impact, and appreciation — but these need to be found by you, the employee. Companies are not there to figure this out for you, she warns; your purpose goes beyond job security, status, pay and benefits.

5. You be you

It turns out that being your authentic self can help you break through career barriers. Shackell believes that the best leaders are the ones that are unafraid of showing vulnerability or “dropping the mask”. Some leaders live in a persona all the time and use it as a guard, constantly thinking about their image and how they are perceived by others. If you portray the persona as the real you, people will treat you accordingly and show you what you’re fearing. She advises leaders to “wear persona lightly” if they want to create genuine relationships. You can be your real character by being authentic, open, trustworthy, courageous, inclusive, balanced, and peaceful. Leaders must understand that “leadership is about influencing peoplemaking someone smile… [or]giving advice”, not about how big a team is.

6. Cherish your tribe

Showing appreciation and cherishing the people around you can come a long way toward career advancement. Shackell suggests thinking about the people that play these roles in our lives or at work: mentor, coach, supporter, and champion. The mentor provides advice; the coach helps unlock solutions; the supporter offers joy and support; and the champion is the person who sings your praises when you’re not in the room. We should consider how much effort and time we are spending with these four types of significant people — not only because they deserve it, but because their advice, encouragement, and positive feedback can help us take the next step in our careers.

7. Seek to give not get

When it comes to career growth, the focus should not just be about what you can gain. Consider it a two-way street — you should be willing to give as well as take. “Have “give” as a driver,” recommends Shackell. Think about how you can help manage the team or support others. Not only does it unwittingly help develop leadership skills but offering kindness and showing commitment to others will not go unnoticed. People will be more willing to offer their help, support, and expertise in reciprocation should you need it, which can help facilitate progression. However, Shackell warns that you can’t control what you get in return, but when you focus on giving, you get lots more.

Do you have any more tips on how to grow and be successful in your marketing career? Let us know in the comments.

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