Digestion

Career Planning: A Few Thoughts

Posted on: November 6, 2007

I’m currently job-searching – such a fun ‘job’ in a weak market, made even more joyful when you have less than 3 yrs of experience in your targeted ‘field’. Recently, one of my mentors/friends pointed me in the direction of Marc Andreessen’s “The Pmarca Guide to Career Planning, part 3: Where to go and why” – it stirred a bit of an “aha! hmm!?” moment for me. I must react…

One of the points Andreessen makes is:

“If you are young and want to have an impact, you want to be in an industry where there is a lot of growth and change and flux and opportunity.” I definitely think advertising represents change – specifically planning. I’ve always felt that wherever I end up, career-wise, I want to be in an industry where change is welcome and there’s opportunity for new ideas to emerge. That’s exciting and while it can often throw people (and particular theories, models, structure, etc.) for a loop, the uncertainty and dynamics of change intrigue me. Confusing?

Andreessen also says:

“Once you have picked an industry, get right to the center of it as fast as you possibly can. Your target is the core of change and opportunity — figure out where the action is and head there..” This highlighted a few things for me.

First, I would say that as far as advertising or marketing services go, the digital realm is the center. What do you think? Social this, social that, etc etc, so much is happening it’s hard to keep up (my personal opinion). However, this obviously represents ACTION…influx…and millions of people live their lives digitally. It’s a real extension of who they are and as things continue to evolve and morph, businesses and brands will have new opportunities to do really exciting and hopefully interesting things for us — and with us.

Second, where do you go/look if you don’t have a lot of experience in the area you hope to get into? Does that matter? Obviously to some extent yes. I’m not going to be considered for a mid-level planning position when I’ve never had professional planning/strategy experience. Regardless of solid professional experience, I am still valuable, a potential asset. Agencies (whether they be traditional advertising, digital/interactive, design, etc.) should welcome people with non-traditional planning/advertising-ish backgrounds. When considering jr thinkers (like myself), agencies should look beyond the portfolio or resume, and consider an individual’s potential for generating great ideas — even new ideas, dare I say that. Books and resumes only tell a portion of a person’s story, right? I need to find the right agency/group that sees beyond a piece of paper…

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2 Responses to "Career Planning: A Few Thoughts"

Thanks for leaving a couple comments on my blog. They were very thoughtful and much appreciated.

I’ll also be sure to add you to my blogroll (least I can do).

Specifically, I had a couple reactions to this post. One, I’m not sure advertising is about change. Some may argue advertising is about “changing” perceptions and behavior, which is largely true. However, as an industry, advertising is extremely slow to change its own way of doing things.

Finally, yes it is important for firms to look beyond a “piece of paper”, but someone wiser than me said, “a resume exists only to get you an interview. The interview gets you the job (and is where they can see beyond the resume)”. Maybe, that doesn’t help, but it’s a nifty way of looking at it.

Is there anything I can do for you? From your blogroll, you seem to be very much in the know. I know Brew and Hunt Adkins in Minneapolis had been looking for junior planners. However, they don’t reside solely in the digital space, which you indicated a preference for in this post.

Yes, interviews do seal the deal in the end, I agree.

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