October 11, 2017: Reap what You Sow, Part 2 – Create Your Own Professional Development Opportunities

2016-2017 Issue 1

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How do you make the most out of a less-than-ideal work environment? How can you turn the increasing discouragement of a routine job into a source of excitement?

Consider creating professional development opportunities for yourself. Reinsert joy and growth into your current role so that mornings – and Monday mornings especially! – carry promise rather than gloom. Better yet, by carving out and following your own Professional Development Plan (PDP), position yourself for your next career move.

Here are some suggestions for going above-and-beyond:

Story-Telling & Foresight

If your objective is to leap from consumer insights and analytics into marketing strategies, you will need to show that you can make numbers talk. And that when they do, the stories they tell go beyond past behaviour and into future, emerging purchasing needs. Since your job already provides you with the distinct advantage of measuring outputs, what is stopping you from taking the lead on a targeted market report in your industry? Consider compiling previous analyses in a particular market segment, setting it against the marketing plan executed in your company during those recent years, and bringing in up-to-date publications from a recognized think tank or other intelligence source. Compare observed patterns with forecasted trends and lo and behold, you have a quantitatively and qualitatively interesting document to inform upcoming executive decisions.

Not only will this initiative demonstrate your proactive, forward-thinking approach, but it will also highlight your synthesizing and writing abilities. These are all key skills for a role in marketing strategy, and not too much of a stretch from your day-to-day responsibilities, so don’t be surprised if you are suddenly invited to partake in those strategic discussions!

Sourcing & Negotiation Skills

Is your inventory control or administrative support role becoming a source of frustration? Convinced that you have all the competencies of a Purchasing Manager or Contract Administrator? You will need to demonstrate the “need-to-have’s” of sourcing and negotiation skills to court those promotions, not to mention results-orientation, assertiveness and emotional self-control. To hit all nails on the head at once, think about how you can take insights from your current role a step further. Chances are you have already input data on previous purchase orders, so try extracting a list of past suppliers from your employer’s database. Then, enhance it by cataloging them in a targeted manner for the business needs and/or performing a search to source others, and then proactively contact the new ones for quotes.

You can take the same kind of initiative to conduct benchmarking on best practices in a wide range of other fields. This kind of big-picture, bottom-line thinking immediately positions you above your current role and paygrade, whether you intend on moving up within or outside of your current organization.

To push it even further, in two weeks’ time we highlight some self-initiated professional development opportunities for Leadership skills. Stay tuned!

Connect with Maia and McGill’s School of Continuing Studies on LinkedIn.

This article was originally published in French in 24heures Montreal.

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