The career path less traveled

Q: I’ve been in marketing for the past three years and want to prepare myself for career growth. What should I do at this stage in order to advance?

A: "While marketing is a great area of business, those who have made it to the executive suite ave also cut their teeth in finance or operations–areas the provide a broader view of the company and make you more marketable," says Jeffrey Greene, principal at the executive recruitment firm of Wesley, Brown & Bartle Co. Inc. in New York. "Even marketing-driven organizations seek product developers who can balance a profit and loss sheet."

Yet, notes Greene, opportunities are lost because many African Americans are less willing to take risks. "For example, a manager’s spouse gets a promotion that will force them to relocate, but the manager is reluctant to move, so the opportunity that might have meant career advancement tomorrow is lost today," says Greene.

You have to be a risk-taker, and that may mean doing rotations in various cities or even countries. While racing can most certainly have a negative impact on your career, you want to alleviate all other barriers or potential shortcomings. "Volunteer for projects that show you’re willing to do the grunt work and take on less popular jobs," adds Greene. "Your flexibility will also lessen the likelihood of being pigeonholed."

True career success means positioning yourself to win the advancement you want.

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