Being in communications and marketing is not the easiest of fields, but it is hands down THE most exciting. And if you have a knack for it, growth can be stupendous. Being in this field takes a deep understanding of the finer nuances of your target audience. It takes almost a lifetime to master this in a country as large as India, where you meet a different audience set everytime you cross state lines. The more local insight you have the more coveted your role becomes. And that also ensures you move further and further away from the global map and become a specialist in one area or country.
So, if you are based in India, how do you find the time to craft a global career? Is this even possible? If possible, how do you go about it. This month at PRPOI, we have curated a series that will answer these questions and focus on the budding next generation of professionals in public relations and communications, especially those who want to create global careers.
For the first session Sneha Deshpande, strategic partnerships, devices and services - Google Australia and New Zealand, joined us for a candid and frank conversation, on what works, what doesn't, and what it actually takes to reach the global career goal. She took a different career path of growth in the industry to establish a global career and through her experiences shared insights on how one could design a practical path to shift countries. We share key takeaways from the session:
Have a plan: This is essential and becomes even more pertinent when you have a family attached with you. Create a list of countries you want to move to that is agreeable to both you and the family. So, when you do get an opportunity there is no discussion or hand wringing on either end. The worst bit is having to refuse an opportunity after you get the job. It leaves you disappointed and closes doors for you with that organisation as well. If you don’t have a family obligation, then simply say ‘yes’ to the new global opportunities that come your way.
Learner for life: This is crucial not just for you to survive but to thrive in any role you take up. Be excited about picking up new skills, not just in your core area of expertise, but also beyond it. Make time for learning if you want to succeed. It helps you develop a larger understanding of the industry. Nothing in life that you learn, ever goes to waste. PR is a dynamic field where we deal with people from all walks of life. You will be surprised how often you pull up a piece of information tucked away in some corner of your brain that you never thought you would use…to start a conversation.
Plus, it keeps the grey cells alive!
Collating skills: So, we all think that we have a limited space to fill up with skills without realizing that we can often think beyond to accommodate and make connections with the data we collate. However, you can go about it in a more strategic manner to master skills in PR and build on them to move ahead, onto a global platform within the communication and marketing domain.
Skills to master from PR: Writing, storytelling, story selling, collaborative mindset, hyper customisation, entrepreneurial mindset, and inclusive diversity
Skills to pick up when moving beyond PR: Negotiation, customising pace of work, learning global cultural nuances, using financial data appropriately
Building your career: There are several ways to build your career. You can become a specialist and go straight up the ladder creating a linear progression in your career graph. Alternately, you can also create your career in the form of a jungle gym. Collect a skill set, spend some time to master it and then move on to the next bar. However, in this each one is somewhat connected to the other so that you can connect it all back together again for the bigger role you have in mind.
Presenting your skill set: This is as important if not more than collecting them. A classic error that professionals do is list down every possible skill they have and make it into a laundry list. You really don’t need to put down every single thing you did in life. Look at the job description and then customise your resume accordingly. Leverage your skill as a storyteller and a media relations expert. When you pitch a story, you customize it to the journalist and the publication at hand. Do the same with your resume, when looking for new opportunities. .
Job search: Look for relevant platforms and networks that will help you reach your dream job. Once you join a network or add someone to your circle interact with them. Engage them in a conversation and apply for positions that intrigue you. If you meet 80% of the criteria, go for it. The rest of the 20% is an addition that you make to your skill acquisition list.
Mindset: A key element you will have to incorporate within yourself if you want to build a career of your dreams, is ‘getting uncomfortably excited’ about growth. Growth brings discomfort. That specific discomfort or anticipation should bring you excitement. Without this you will always dread the change that forces you to grow.
Keep in mind that PR is a huge field and has many roads that diverge into different professions across marketing. Pick up as many skills as you can in the time span you want to dedicate to the PR field and then find a natural extension that takes you closer to the field you want to be in making it a seamless career progression. And an excellent story to tell!
(This story has been published as a part of Campaign India's media partnership with PRPOI.)