TCG 411: Seeking Out Occupational Opportunities – The Sequel

Smooth Career Moves for 2011 – Part 2

By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group

In my last post, I offered three action steps to give your career a boost in 2011. Here are two more ideas (that you can add to your list of career resolutions if you haven’t done so already):

1. Grow your network. Being connected at work has many benefits: You may learn of opportunities you might not have otherwise been aware of, or meet someone who can provide insight into the type of position you seek. A manager, for example, could outline the steps he or she took to move from a senior web designer to a creative director role, and warn you of any stumbling blocks encountered along the way.

Networking with others in your organization also allows you to identify valuable allies and establish connections that make it easier to secure resources and support, and increases the likelihood that someone considers you when a position becomes available.

2. Stay on top of new trends. Those who are best able to advance their careers have their fingers on the pulse of their field so they can identify and take advantage of new trends. It may not be easy (case in point: nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of advertising and marketing executives recently interviewed by The Creative Group said it’s at least somewhat challenging to keep up with social media trends), but it’s mandatory if you want to remain marketable.

Keep apprised of developments in your area of specialization by reading industry publications and online articles or blogs. Follow Twitter feeds or become a Facebook fan of your favorite brands and figureheads. Also, consider joining a professional organization like AIGA or your local Ad Club. These groups often feature speakers and other thought leaders who can speak about new developments that emerge as business conditions improve.

Your research will also help you keep tabs on areas of job growth – or contraction – within the creative field so you can determine how much promise your current career path has. Think about both the short term and long term so you always find yourself in the right place: ahead of the curve.

How about you? What are some action steps that have helped guide your career?

Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at