TCG 411: Seeking Out Occupational Opportunities


Smooth Career Moves for 2011 – Part 1

By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group

As the economy continues to rebound, there may be more opportunities for you to advance your career – either at your current organization or with a new employer. You don’t want these prospects to pass you by. Today, I’ll share three tips for taking advantage of them; stay tuned for my next post where I’ll offer two additional action steps to propel your career forward in 2011:

1. Take on a “take-charge” role. Many companies are restarting projects that were shifted to the back burner during the downturn, and they need individuals to lead these initiatives. Volunteering for these assignments can be a good way to demonstrate your ability to assume more responsibility, gain visibility and build new skills.

When opportunities arise – and when you have the ability to take on extra duties – let your manager know about your interest in assuming a leadership role. Even if the project in question isn’t the right one for you, he or she may have others in mind that are better suited to your talents.

2. Pursue training. Think about how you’d like your career to progress and in which areas you might need to build new skills. For example, if you’re a web designer, you might be interested in acquiring HTML5, CSS3 or jQuery skills so you can help develop (and not just design) dynamic websites.

With economic conditions improving, some companies now have more funds to invest in professional development opportunities for staff, so be sure to ask your boss first. Make a case for how a particular course, seminar or conference will help you and benefit the company. If few internal opportunities exist, actively seek out training through online vendors or professional associations.

3. Find a mentor. Getting to the next step in your career can be easier with the advice from someone who already knows how to get there. Before identifying a mentor, however, make sure you are clear about what your professional goals are and what you hope to gain from the relationship. These factors will determine whom you tap for assistance.

For example, if you hope to move from a senior designer to art director role, you might look to a manager within your firm who has risen through the ranks. If you’re interested in switching specialties (from graphic design to user interface, for example), you might seek the counsel of someone in your professional network who made a similar transition. Also ask friends and family members for recommendations.

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