How to build a career plan and what to do if it doesn’t work

How to build a career plan and what to do if it doesn’t work

It is difficult with a career: at first, you do not know which direction to choose, then you doubt whether it is the right one, and even if the work is your favourite, you can turn sour on it.

We asked several HRs:

– what kind of animal is it, a career strategy?
– will it save you from focus, burnout and self-disappointment?
– what questions should be asked?
– and what to do if you are already lost?

When do you need to think about a career strategy: at the start of work or when you feel that you need to change something?

A career strategy is needed at any stage of the working life. It draws key points on the way to the goal, helps to understand what skills will be needed in the future, and makes it possible to acquire them gradually and thoughtfully. For example, if you want to work abroad, the strategy will give you time to learn the language.

The annoying question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” is not so bad if you paraphrase it to “How do I see my life?”. Even if the answer is “I don’t work and I live with an ocean view,” a career strategy will help you achieve that state.

The main thing for building a strategy is understanding the benchmark you want to come to. In a situation of career stagnation, for example, there may not be such a target point – for a start, a person needs to cope with burnout or even depression.

 

What happens if there is no strategy?

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We can’t say that everything will be bad. There is simply a greater risk of being disappointed at the end of the road and thinking: “Why did I spend so many years on THIS, when all my life I dreamed of something completely different.” Career strategy is for those who understand the value of time.

Without a strategy, of course, it is possible, but there is a great risk that the path to the coveted sphere or position will be thorny. De-focus, a fortune on learning whose skills are not being used. Remember how it was in “Alice In Wonderland”? If you don’t know where you need to go, it doesn’t matter where you go.

At the same time, it is important to understand that all people are different – there are those who are comfortable working in the same position for many years, doing the same thing. And that’s okay, this also has a career strategy. If everyone around them were incredibly ambitious, no one would perform some of the tasks – everyone would be busy with their rapid growth.

Okay, I think I need a strategy. How do I start? Whatshould it look like?

To summarize, there are three main career tracks:

  1. vertical – a standard track in the form of a career ladder, where you rise up from a junior position to a managerial position and beyond;
  2. expert (horizontal) – you expand and / or delve into a function / industry of interest to you. Quite often people go freelancing on this track;
  3. entrepreneurial – you create something of your own and gradually scale your business.

In a career strategy, you can combine several tracks at once. For example, based on knowledge of the industry and the needs of the target audience with which a person worked, he can create his own product that will cover the needs of this audience. A freelancer can create his own company, attract more clients and employees for their tasks and scale the business through cross-function and client needs.

Strategy is always about vectors:

  • where to move on;
  • are there opportunities at the current place of work and what needs to be learned for this;
  • If not, where to go and what are the risks to be prepared for.

It may be a trivial map in Miro, where you draw: I am at point A, in order to come to point B, I need – and then you build options for the path. In parallel, you can formulate achievements for yourself that will help you move on to the next stage: what skills you need to acquire, what projects to defend.

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In career tracks for our guys at NoFrames, we often build a plan in the context of six months – but this is also flexible. Having tried to move along the intended path, after a month a person can wake up and understand that this is not at all what he wants to do.

 

It’s hard to sit down like this and figure out what I want. Are there any tools?

Remember: always in your areas of interest and always based on your strengths.

First of all, determine point A where you are now: your strengths, experience, education, tools, circle of your interests and current area of ​​responsibility.

Next, choose point B where you want to come: it can be a specific position, your own company, or even early retirement. The more details you write, the easier it will be to build a path.

But you need to understand that a career is not a static thing. It will be subject to changes, therefore, it is necessary to return to the strategy at least once a year. Don’t be afraid to revisit the B-point – it will help you stay tuned and transform your experience, adding value and expertise.

Little life hack: it is convenient to promote a career plan “from above”, from a big goal to a small one.

You can try focusing on more than just your career strategy. Ask the question where andhow yousee yourself in six months, what do you dream of, but not only within the framework of work – perhaps you want to move, change your image, master a new hobby. Compare the motivation “I want more money” and “I want to go on a trip around the world.”

There are goals, there is a plan, but I’m still slipping – what’s the matter?

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Perhaps, building a map, you overestimated your strengths, gained a lot of tasks and do not have time to self-develop or learn from someone else’s experience. It seems that no one is pressing, but the plan is built and there is an inner feeling that you need to do everything in time. It’s important to give yourself the right to slow down – this is your career track, you can influence it and you don’t have to run forever if a fast pace doesn’t suit you.

And you also need to periodically ask yourself these questions:

Am I cool now?

Do I like what I am doing?

Do I like what I am studying, or am I doing it because I have to?

And who needs – me or the leader with whom we built this track?

It is important to return to yourself with these questions – otherwise, it will not be possible to understand whether you are moving there, unfortunately.

There is also the trap of fear of change. It is always scary to go into the unknown and the new: to someone because of responsibility, to someone because of the fear of failure. Here, again, a psychologist will help. And there is another option – to talk to a career consultant. Sometimes we set ourselves high goals and do not understand how to approach them. Therefore, we procrastinate.

Don’t forget to check:

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Let’s get started!

Jonathan McCrorie about doing sales for a marketing company

Jonathan McCrorie about doing sales for a marketing company

How to maintain relationships with potential clients and getting courses via Glasgow Chamber of Commerce. We spoke to NoFrames Customer Relationship Manager Jonathan to know more about his career development from a marketing student to a sales professional.

– Let us know, where did you study? Why did you choose this field?

I have a background in marketing at City of Glasgow College and Strathclyde University, marketing has always interested me due to how varied a practise it is. The balance between it being an art and a science allows for a lot of interesting creativity to be had.

– What past experience do you think lends itself to this role?

It’s hard to say as this is my first sales position, in these scenarios it’s all about transferrable skills. I’ve worked in a few bars in my time and have thought back to those days in some situations while working here, it’s a stretch but it’s helped! 

– How did you find NoFrames? What made you choose NoFrames over others?

NoFrames was referred to me through the Kickstart Scheme set up by the government to help younger people get back into work, after being advised to apply for the job I thought it looked like a great opportunity and a great team to join, it was really a no brainer to look into.

 

 

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After being advised to apply for the job I thought it looked like a great opportunity and a great team to join, it was really a no brainer to look into.

 

– How has the experience been so far?

Yeah, it’s been a great learning experience given the fact I’m new when it comes to sales but in these situations, you tend to find the most room to grow and I’ve tried to welcome that opportunity with open arms.

I’ve been a part of NoFrames for nearly 3 months now and I’ve had a lot of positive experiences along the way in this short time. There has been so much support from the founders Ana and Irina, they have been a great help to me over my time here and allowed me to progress each and every day since my start.

– What is a Customer Relationship Manager? Give us an idea of what you do day-to-day.

In my day-to-day there is a mix of two different sides of the sales process, trying to find potential companies that would be a good fit for NoFrames to work with and maintaining relationships with potential clients—as the process can take some time. This mix keeps things fresh.

– Have you taken any training while being at NoFrames?

There have been a few training courses that I’ve taken in my time here that have been
beneficial to me, a social media for business lecture and a customer sales workshop. Both have been a big helping hand.

A funny story comes to mind when thinking about the support I’ve had throughout my time here involving one of the founders, Ana. It was early on in my sales training and I was being taken through the different stages and processes of trying to secure a new client for the company, Ana was a massive help as she was very informative; giving me a lot of resources to read through which were very helpful and I thought this was great, I’m going to be able to pick up this sales stuff so well with all of this guidance.

Ana decided that me and her should do a practice sales Zoom call where Ana would act as the potential client and I would do my job of selling the company. After reading and watching so much of the material Ana had given to me I felt ready as ever, fully confident I would be able to land this imaginary business.

The call started and I felt like I was flying, flowing with all information I had been given. Being detailed about our strategy all the while staying interesting to keep Ana fully engaged, I felt as if it couldn’t be going better.

After my spiel was over Ana’s quick response still haunts me to this day: “Jonathan your enthusiasm is great but you never even asked how I am.”

This was the moment I realised that even after all the help I’d been given, I personally still had a long way to go!

After that tragic/hilarious moment which was a while ago now, I feel I have personally progressed in my role at NoFrames. Getting better and better with each passing week all through my persistence and the fantastic team we have.

P.S. I now remember to ask “how are you?” at the start of a call.

– What does being a Customer Relationship Manager mean to you?

I’m the bridge between our clients and the company, it’s your job to maintain that bridge and create as straightforward and secure a route as possible.

 

 

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I’m the bridge between our clients and the company, it’s your job to maintain that bridge and create as straightforward and secure a route as possible.

 

– What are a few key elements you need to be able to do your job?

Patience and persistence are good mantras to have in this role, like a lot of things never too high never too low. As generic as it is, these things can help a lot.

What are your long-term goals?

I don’t want to pigeon-hole myself too much when it comes to long term goals, I know life can be pretty random and whatever you are doing at the moment can be turned on its head a year from now, but ideally if I can just focus on doing my best day-to-day, I like to hope the right things will pop up.

To anyone interested in getting started in Customer Relations, what advice would you give to them?

Every individual sales process is a marathon not a sprint, understand that most of the time you are working at the potential clients’ pace when it comes to selling and not your own.

Don’t forget to check:

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Let’s get started!

How to choose your brand colours

How to choose your brand colours

Don’t be afraid to be bold—after all, did you know colour determines 62-90% of how your buyer will react to your business’s product? Every colour has different perceived meanings and connotations, so how do you know how to use them? Read our quick guide on colour: when to use it, and how!

1. RED

Red is an eye-catching colour that promotes action. It’s a warning colour, sharply bringing you out of a calm state and attracting attention.

How does it work?:
Red affects someone’s physiology: it stimulates the nervous system and slightly increases blood pressure.

Remember:
In electronic media, red is subconsciously perceived as a mistake—so it’s better not to use this colour for brands related to education, finance and IT.

Fits:

  • food / drinks
  • the medicine
  • beauty
  • sport
  • transport
  • real estate

2. BLUE

Blue is the colour of serenity, calm and dimension (think the sea and sky). As well as reliability and purity. It’s still a restful colour, and isn’t overbearing or unpleasant when used as bright shades. 

How does it work?:
Affects emotions: calms, balances, controls.

Remember:
Blue is a universal colour that suits almost everyone. Ideal for travel brands – blue is reminiscent of the sky, sea and mountains.

Fits:

  • transport
  • finance / business
  • IT / digital
  • real estate
  • medicine
  • tourism
  • family / children

3. YELLOW

An energetic, warm and inviting colour. Take a look at some of the world’s most iconic brands—Mcdonald’s golden arches are a recognisable symbol anywhere on the planet. 

How does it work?:
Yellow stimulates brain activity and improves performance. Gold denotes success, worthiness and value.

Remember:
Bright yellow is associated with childhood, and gold is best used for luxurious, high status businesses.

Fits:

  • clothes
  • sport
  • entertainment
  • tourism
  • family Children
  • art
  • education
  • animals 

4. GREEN

Green is the undeniable colour of nature, peace and freshness.

How does it work?:
It’s said to soothe the nervous system, lower intraocular pressure and sharpen vision.

Remember:
Often green is associated with sustainable causes and ecological benefits, making it a good match for food brands. Also associated with money (as it’s the colour of the dollar) and is suitable for the financial sector.

Fits:

  • food / drinks
  • education
  • IT / digital
  • real estate
  • the medicine
  • tourism
  • family / children
  • animals
  • finance / business

5. BLACK

In branding, black is the colour of order, professionalism and clarity.

How does it work?:
It denotes high cost, luxury and functionality—in the 19th and 20th centuries, equipment and machines were often first produced in black.

Remember:
Black (like most colours) has different cultural meanings: for example, in Russia, it is the colour of mourning and, in Japan, the colour of joy.

 

Fits:

  • beauty
  • art
  • clothes
  • real estate
  • education
  • sport
  • finance / business
Don’t forget to check:

Ready to make a real change?

Let’s get started!

How SCAMPER, Euler’s circles and the How-Now-Wow method work

How SCAMPER, Euler’s circles and the How-Now-Wow method work

It’s four thirty. The office hums with impatience. The post-lunchtime urge to nap is both present and treacherous, and several bedraggled creative types sit slumped around a large blank page.  

Sound familiar? If you’ve ever had to brainstorm for a living, you’ll know that the elusive universal brainstorming technique (you know, the one that keeps your clients happy, gets you in under budget, and destroys your enemies)—doesn’t exist.

Take it from us, we’ve looked! And although we didn’t find it, we did manage to find the next best thing: our top five brainstorming techniques for effective idea generation. 

SIX HATS

You now have six imaginary hats. Each hat is a different colour and requires you to ask different questions about the problem at hand. Go through each hat in turn and approach your problem from a different perspective—take notes! 

White: Discuss your problem with an emphasis on facts and figures. What are the numbers telling you? 

– Hazelnut sales are down 20% from last year. 

Red: Rely on your intuition, focus on the feelings and emotions that arise when discussing the problem. 

– I’m to blame for the drop in numbers, I suck at targeting!  

– No, It’s just that less people are cooking at home, they’re ordering delivery. 

– This is a new reality dictated by the pandemic…

Yellow: What are your positive expectations for the project? What is it that holds positive significance in your idea? 

– Let’s come up with healthy nut based recipes and start promoting them on TikTok. Let’s print a cookbook and post it out with our hazelnuts. Our target market will be those interested in a healthy lifestyle—everything will be healthy, fabulous and green! 

Black: This requires critical thinking. You need to Identify all the risks and possible pitfalls in the implementation of your project.

– How is this going to work? Is there anything healthy about sugar, dough and deserts? With what money are we going to print these books? We’re almost bankrupt! 

Green: This hat is about creativity and imagination. Sit down and dedicate time to search for unexpected, creative and provocative solutions to  your problem. 

– A recipe from the 11th century is nuts with avocado and turkey on corn flour. We’ll find creative recipes to print on pfd, and then we include a QR code that links to instructional videos and extra content! 

Blue: The development of specific stages for the implementation of this goal. This is when we start to plan. What sort of timescale are you looking at? What’s the budget?

– We need to redesign, rename, search for influencers and begin seeding in social networks—let’s go!

 

What’s next? Depending on the task, you can try on hats in a convenient sequence. The technique can also be used with large teams. For example; divide the participants into six teams, record their ideas, then change the “hats” for the teams until all participants have expressed their opinion in each category.

LOTUS FLOWER

This technique helps you generate a solution for the main problem, by solving the auxiliary problems around it. Start with a main topic and expand upon it until you get to several different subtopics. You will need a 9 by 9 cell table – you can print or draw it. 

 

1. In the central cell, write the goal you want to achieve. For example, “Increase the number of active subscribers from one thousand to fifteen thousand”. 

2. In the eight petals around the center, enter the tools that would help achieve this goal. The following are suitable; UGC, influencer advertising, contests, targeting, content plan redesign, entry to other sites, collaborations, competitor analysis. 

3. Take each of these elements separately and come up with eight solutions to these issues.

To rework the content plan, you can try the following solutions: 

  • Re-analysis of target audience; 
  • TOV change; 
  • Updated rubricator; 
  • Increase in the frequency of publications; 
  • Emphasis on stories instead of posts;
  • Live broadcasts with experts that have not been held before;
  • Publications about brand partners who will share these posts on their own;
  • CTA and attempts to display a signature for a dialogue.

    As a result, you will have 64 different solutions to the problem, which can be combined and grouped in any way that seems logical to you.

    SCAMPER

    This method is more suitable for optimizing processes than for giving birth to a brand new idea. With SCAMPER, you need to answer questions from seven categories:

     

    S: Substitute—Is it possible to replace the components of the product to solve the problem? 

    C: Combine—Can it be combined with other solutions, functions or products? 

    A: Adapt—Can new elements and functions be added? 

    M: Modify—Can the product be modified? 

    P: Put to other uses—Can a product or idea be applied in another industry? 

    E: Eliminate—Can the product be simplified to reduce its disadvantages? 

    R: Reverse—Is the opposite solution, idea or product possible?

    Imagine that you were the first car-sharing service in your city, but have failed to develop your software for a long time and have become seriously behind the competition. SCAMPER will tell you in which directions you can move to fix this. 

    Spoiler alert: you can come to both a rebranding and a complete retraining—for example, a courier service.

     

     

    EULER’S CIRCLES

    Euler’s circles are relationship diagrams. They help to find the relationship between objects that appear to be poles apart. Euler’s circles are useful when you have a lot of concepts that you struggle to mentally connect. Unlike Venn diagrams, Euler’s circles show relevant relationships—as opposed to possible relationships between different sets. 

    There are six types of relationships:

    1. Equivalence. Mcdonald’s serves affordable fast food. MAC is a luxury cosmetics brand. You need to clearly associate your product with the niche it occupies. Think about what analogies you can draw and how to connect the psychology of your brand to the physical imagery your customers see. 

    2. Subordination (Coordination). Ethical hair brand Kevin.Murphy not only does not test products on animals, but also minimizes waste. For example, it produces a series of products in recycled ocean plastic. Although animal testing and ocean waste are two seperate issues, they both fall under the umbrella of sustainability. This is what sets the brand apart from other cruelty-free cosmetics. 

    3. Submission. Frame your concept in a way that is far from obvious. For example, tell us about your sunscreen, and how it should be used somewhere in the Far North. Many people still do not know that sun protection is a story not only about summer and heat. Surprise your audience, frame your product in a unique way.

    4. Intersection. What do your target audience and your product have in common? You care about the health of children, just like their parents—that is why you produce a series of stuffed toys that can be wiped with a damp cloth so that no dust particles accumulate on them. Relate your product to the humans that buy it. 

    5. Contradiction. The struggle of two conflicting opinions—all this storytelling power is at your fingertips. Think about the Twix’s ‘left & right twix’ Ad campaign. Or Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. 

    6. Opposites. These two don’t come into conflict and instead coexist peacefully together. Those with naturally straight hair want to curl it, and those with curly hair—straighten it. Your salon doesn’t care who they are—because they’ll do incredible styling for both. Use this to shed some light on your positioning strategy.

     

    You can apply Euler’s circles to: 

    • Check if the strategy is relevant to the project. 
    • Analyse competitors’ content. 
    • Develop TOV, corporate colours, branding and identity. 
    • Make sure that there are no points of friction or inconsistencies in the brief.

    HOW-NOW-WOW

    In this technique, you place ideas on an axis. It has four directions:

    Wow is the coolest option. The goal of the session is to arrive at a stage of development where the majority of your ideas are in this box.

    Edible coffee cups, chocolate bombs and sweet milk straws have all had a wow effect in coffee shops recently, and they are easy to implement. Think about what you have to offer? An innovative recipe for a cookie that doesn’t break in tea? 

    So, which of these techniques are the most suited to you and your team? Remember, there’s no universal brainstorming technique as there is no universal brain—so try out some methods that are as vibrant and entertaining as the people you work with.

    Don’t forget to check:

    Ready to make a real change?

    Let’s get started!

    Jack Mackie about finding job during the pandemic, future of content creation and how to create trends

    Jack Mackie about finding job during the pandemic, future of content creation and how to create trends

    How to get into Content Creation profession from Film and Media and how Kickstart Scheme can help with that move. We spoke to NoFrames Content Creator Jack to know more about his career development from a freelancer to a pro and requested some tips for beginners in content creation.

    – Tell us how and why did you start Content Creation profession. Where did you study?

    I studied at the University of Stirling, an undergraduate degree in Film and Media. Focusing on Advertising and Content Development within university and in my freelancing experience creating visual content for Rangers TV and other clients. Content Creation is at the heart of what I have done and what I continue to do.

    – What else did you do before NoFrames? What important experience did you get?

    Before NoFrames, I have had many work experience opportunities: freelance video editing, camera operating and many runner/PA positions creating visual media and writing copy for various social channels. Working at NoFrames was the next step in focusing on that experience.

    – How did you find NoFrames? Why did you decide to choose this company among many others offering the same job?

    I initially applied to NoFrames through LinkedIn and the Kickstart Scheme. Graduating last year mid pandemic, it became difficult finding work within my field of expertise. The opportunity provided through NoFrames has given me the confidence and a positive outlook on my future within the industry. The team at NoFrames, especially Irina and Sophie have given me great encouragement and advice, and I am grateful to feel as accepted as I do within the team.

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    Graduating last year mid pandemic, it became difficult finding work within my field of expertise. The opportunity provided through NoFrames has given me the confidence and a positive outlook on my future within the industry.

    – What exactly do you do in the team as a Content Creator?

    As Content Creator, my job is to create visually interesting content and copy for NoFrames’ social channels and for their varied B2B and B2C clients that work with the company. Creating a unique sense of brand identity through these pieces of content is what I prioritize. Working with our Social Media Manager to take into account the distinct aspects of each client and frame their work in an approachable and engaging way!

    – What do you like most about that job?

    I love that I can apply my creativity and have the freedom to try new things. Working with clients in different fields also gives me a great understanding of how to manage and curate for brands in sectors I haven’t worked in before. It gives me a diversified pallet for future projects.

    – How do you see this profession developing in the future?

    With the nature of Digital Marketing, the trends that are popular now, may not be tomorrow. It is a fast and ever-evolving space. I see myself trying and testing new types of content over my time at NoFrames. Developing a deeper understanding on what consumers are looking for when searching online.

    – Give us some recommendations on how to become a great Content Creator, something like a checklist from Jack Mackie!

    My checklist for creating great content all stems from understanding your target audience and to think outside of the box.

    01

    Understanding composition

    Knowing how to layout and present your material is perhaps the most important part of being a Content Creator. The first impression a person looks at the posts you have created is everything. Make sure to brush up on your presentation skills and the tools you utilize to ensure you are bringing your all to whatever project you may be working on.

    02

    Putting in the time to research competition

    Understanding what others are doing in the same field is very helpful and a great way to discover what works for others and what may work for you.

    03

    Identifying current trends and creating content for future trends

    You shouldn’t only rely on others for great content. You must put in the time. Researching and experimenting can lead to advances in how you shape your own content and can help you identify what works and what may work well for your client in the near future. Always be on the pulse of emerging trends and new ways of innovating.

    Don’t forget to check:

    Ready to make a real change?

    Let’s get started!

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