10 ways to manage career expectations

Career planning is not something that many of us do very well, or even think about at all.

But in Hong Kong, where job hopping is endemic, the marketing and PR industries needs to step in and manage the issues, particularly among entry-level executives.

The Hong Kong PR Network this week pulled together four industry experts to debate the issues of career progression, with a lively debate about poaching, job hopping, and the right (and wrong) reasons to make a career change.

- Ruth Rowan, CMO at BT Asia Pacific Chair and Founding Member of the Marketing Society Asia
- Jennifer Wu, APAC talent manager, LEWIS PR
- Charlie Bright, managing consultant, Prospect
- May Chan Rhodes, senior consultant, Waggener Edstrom

Among the key issues explored was that people must be proactive about their paths and should not look to their managers for answers, in addition to the importance of the appraisal process.

After some heated discussion about the value of agency talent and the recruitment methods of some HR teams, all parties agreed that candidates need open dialogue with their managers and HR teams to plan career development.

Here are some key insights about talent management and considerations for switching jobs.

5 tips from Jennifer Wu, APAC Talent Manager, Lewis Public Relations

1 Actually plan: Set an itinerary for yourself on long terms goals you would like to achieve over the span of your career. Consider your career as a “travel around the world” experience. Then set some short term goals on how to reach the milestones on the way.

2 Be flexible: While it is important to have direction, you still never know what life will throw at you. So keep an open mind and keep your eyes peeled for exciting opportunities that may come your way.

3 Speak up: Don’t be afraid to talk about your career. Career discussions should not be something you shy away from. They should also not just be about money. A career discussion covers a whole facet of points ranging from learning & development, challenges you face at work, ability to take on lateral experiences and, of course, there is also the aspect of promotions and salary raises. But the main thing to focus on during a career discussion is how you develop overall and how you can achieve the long term goals you have set for yourself.

4 Take ownership: We are all responsible for our careers. If you sit there waiting for things to be delivered to you, you will be waiting a long time. Make sure you know what you want before asking the employer to deliver. If you don’t know what you are looking for, how can they? However, some responsibility does lie with the employer. As the employer, we need to be enablers. We enable our employees to feel comfortable enough to be open and honest with us. We should work hand in hand with them to achieve their goals – if they achieve their goals, the business does too. It’s a win win situation.

5 Hone your people skills: If there is one key skill set you need to learn or can constantly improve upon to help you further your career, it is people skills. Having the ability to manage your direct reports, peers, seniors will define your ability to influence and shape an organisation / industry and, ultimately, the path you take to success.

5 tips from Ruth Rowan, chief marketing officer BT AMEA and chair of the Marketing Society Asia

1 Don’t be in a rush to go up. It's not always about a promotion, sometimes a sideways move can be even better for your career.

2 Ensure you are constantly challenged. Change roles internally every two years.

3 Prove your loyalty and accountability. Be prepared to grow with your firm.

4 Gain international experience. Do this as early on in your career as possible.

5 Influencing skills are critical to success. Develop the ability to take people with you and constantly work on building your network.