Easy way to explore new career directions– target potential future jobs, etc…
In doing market and industry research for a business training I am currently taking, I stumbled upon a simple but profound exercise.
If you are curious about or actively exploring other career paths or job directions, this is a fast simple way of narrowing it down to some more specific targets.
Here it is:
1.) Type into search engine something like “list of events related job titles” but fill in the industry you are interested in. “marketing job titles” etc… Find a good list and paste all the job titles into a word document.
2.) Now go through them all and put a start or two stars next to the ones that sound appealing to you.
3.) Compile all of these that got stars into one place and look them over in more detail. The ones that seem like the best fit you can now research deeper and start pursuing.
NOTE- After you gather as much info as the web will give you, the next step before applying for education or internships or jobs is to do an Informational Interview with someone currently holding this position. This can save you a lot of wasted time and resources.
Here is a great site with titles and descriptions of Creative, Marketing, and Communications jobs.
New Years resolutions are a great tradition, but have started to become more associated with wishful thinking than with serious goal setting.
Because we say I want to do more of this and less of that and then hope that because we wrote it down it will magically happen…
After many years of doing resolutions, I have gathered and developed a few tips and tools to help give some legs to those intentions so that they can walk out of January and into the rest of the year.
1.) WRITE IT DOWN- & put someplace visible.
It is not enough to write down your goals and hopes and dreams in your journal. That is a great start. It is best to use your notebook or journal to process and get to clarity, but once you are clear, put it down on a nice sheet of paper that you can hang someplace highly visible. Then you will have a reminder of your resolutions or goals in your space making it less likely for them to fade from memory.
2.) BREAK IT DOWN into small chunks that can actually be tackled.
This can be done in a linear way by making a list of small items beneath the big one, or you can also do this by mind mapping. Put the Resolution in the middle and brainstorm all the connected bits and branch them off of it.
3.) MAKE A GRID TO KEEP TRACK of Progress
Using one of my resolutions as an example– I want to revive my ‘morning practice’, which means 20+ minutes first thing in the morning for writing, meditating, yoga, or some other centering non mental activity. So I write 1/1, 1/2 etc… down the left side of a page in my notebook and then the intention at the top and then make boxes where I can check the box on the day that I did the morning practice. This way, at the end of the month I can see exactly how many days I realized my intention and how many I did not. This visible accountability is an extra band of incentive… and you can always give yourself some reward if you hit 20 out of 30 days.
4.) GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY BUDDY
If you are the only one that knows that you only exercised 1 day this week despite the goal to exercise 5 days, well… but if you have someone who you check in with and who will want to know why your results were weak this week… this simple accountability is incredibly powerful. This is one of the main reasons people hire life coaches… to have someone who knows what you are intending to do and who will hold you accountable. If you can’t afford a coach right now, then find a friend who could use support with their resolutions and schedule a weekly call to share your progress and get support through resistance or obstacles that inhibit progress.
Get those intentions for 2011 onto the page, broken down into their components, put onto a simple grid, and find a buddy to check in with on your progress.
Clarity is a slippery creature. You have it and your life and goals look clear and then somehow it slips away and that very same view is now thick with fog.
There is this frustrating tendency for humans to forget what we know, to suffer from amnesia.
BRIEF STORY– I was recently on skype with my own coach in the UK on a day when things were not looking particularly clear to me. She asked me what the ultimate goal was for me, what the purposeful bottom line was. I blanked out. I was just about to say I don’t know when I looked at the wall (I was in my home office) and saw my Life Purpose Statement hanging there declaring in bold pen the answer to that question. And at that moment I really needed to be reminded what my life is about.
What I am getting at is that it was not enough that I took the time to draft and polish and write out this life purpose or mission statement. I reflect on and write about all sorts of important aspects of my life all the time. It was the fact that I put it up in a visible place where it can remind me at any time I need to be reminded of the greater picture.
It is almost an antidote to the amnesia issue.
This same thing goes for our Priorities and Goals (what am I shooting for again?)
and our Strategic Plan. This is like an action blueprint and needs to be visible while you are building the house, so to speak.
So here is MY PURPOSE STATEMENT as an EXAMPLE:
My purpose is to live an inspired, meaningful, and creatively productive life, and to support thousands to do the same in their unique way.
TAKEAWAY- Don’t keep those gems hidden in your journal or computer- turn them into something tangible that can live in your space. When you do have those precious moments of clarity– Capture it- WRITE IT DOWN and when you get something so central, so crucial, then I dare you to frame it and hang it up so you will be reminded all the time of the purpose behind the work that you are doing.
I recently finished a course from SF State extension that was called Market Research Basics.
Now I will admit that this is one of the less interesting aspects of marketing to me, and yet I did get some valuable insights from it that I will share with you.
Creative types can tend to lean away from super analytical methodological practices and approaches to business. But just like the analytical could learn a thing or two from the nonlinear creative, we can learn a thing or two from the analytical.
Conducting market research makes a lot of sense:
When you are starting a biz or deciding between a few biz ideas
When deciding on which product to produce or before launching a product
When you feel like you have ‘lost touch’ with your market or are ‘missing the mark’ and need some input and insights to guide you back into a sweet spot
When you want to gauge satisfaction or improve a product or service
Some Subsections of Market Research:
CUSTOMER RESEARCH- Who are our target customers anyway? What dot they need and want? What wording do they use to describe their wants and goals?
COMPETITOR RESEARCH– Who are our closest competitors and how do they compare with us? What can we learn from them and do do to clearly distinguish ourselves from them? What is our competitive advantage? (this informs your value and positioning statements and your USP- unique selling proposition)
TREND ANALYSIS– What trends are currently impacting the need/demand of our market? What trends might impact us in the future? Which trends are beneficial to our work and how can we best align ourselves with the existing momentum?
Also PRICING Research, SEGMENTATION Research, CUSTOMER SATISFACTION, and ADVERTISING/MESSAGING Research
As strategic of a thinker as I may be, I had to admit that I hadn’t really thought of either of my businesses in terms of trends. I hadn’t done any real substantial research into my market before starting a business to serve their needs. I just thought they were good ideas and suited me, so I created them. If I had identified and surveyed my market, I could have saved myself a lot of guesswork and accelerated my profits. But it isn’t too late.
MAIN MARKET RESEARCH TOOLS:
SURVEYS- be clear about your objective in conducting the survey, use an online service like survey monkey, use a variety of question formats, and give people an incentive to complete it. (perhaps a coupon or a free download after completing it) ALTERNATIVES include Questionaires and Polls.
FOCUS GROUPS- A roundtable discussion of 6-10 carefully selected people with a facilitator. You can get more in depth information and feedback and thus insights. The role of the moderator/facilitator is very key in quality of results. Costs can be high. ALTERNATIVES to Focus Groups include Interviews, free workshops with a question and answer portion at the end, and creating a ‘marketing persona’, which is basically a fictional ideal customer that guides all your decisions.
Whichever option you go for, you will need to know WHAT you are trying to find out, then GATHER DATA, then sort, filter, and ORGANIZE DATA and then ANALYZE the Data so that it can be applied to actual improvements.
A good baby step is to create a poll on your blog. Here is one I created in 5 minutes via poll daddy. Please take a second to add your vote into the mix.
Discernment has been such a THEME around me lately, that I decided it is worthy of a post.
I spent the last weekend helping my mum go through the closets and drawers of her 4 bedroom home of 20+ years to decide what was worthy of keeping as they streamline into a 1 bedroom home. What a process!
But the truth was that at least 75% of the clothes in the closet, and the VHS tapes, and the stuff in the garage, and the books on the bookshelf were NOT needed/wanted!
This could be seen a few different ways:
1.) She should have done a deep Spring cleaning every year.
2.) Americans have way too much stuff and it’s ridiculous.
3.) She should have been more discerning of what she bought in the 1st place.
Though they are all somewhat true and interesting, especially #3. Perhaps if we have higher standards we will surround ourselves with more quality but less quantity. Perhaps if we know what we Really want in life, we will be less easily convinced of the merits of so many (extraneous) things.
I think we could all practice more discernment about the FOOD we put into our bodies, the CARE PRODUCTS we cram into our bathroom cupboards, the TV SHOWS & MOVIES we put into our minds, the CLOTHES we buy because they are on sale and kind of cute (but don’t end up wearing), the PRODUCTS that sound good at the time but we know we won’t really get around to using…
I have a client currently going through all his collections, possessions, and all the art he has produced in the last 25 years. His task is to discernthe treasures from the junk.
I have another client who is realizing she needs to cut some social connections out of her life that are draining and distracting her from her stated priorities. Her challenge is to discern true allies from flashy distractions.
The internet is the biggest bundle of exciting, stimulating, overwhelmingly distracting endless tunnels of information that humans have ever had to reckon with. If you don’t come to the search engine with a clear query, you can bounce all over checking out cool stuff and realize that hours went by just ‘surfing’. All of us have the challenge of discerningwhat Content (in books, newspapers, tv, & internet) is actually worth our time.
So, a few TIPS if you are sorting through anything in your life, from contacts to stuff… Ask Yourself:
* Do I truly Love this?
* Does this in any way help me get towards my biggest goals?
* Would I miss this if it disappeared?