Hello everyone, welcome to the first post in a new series of blog posts where I will document my experience of the QA Digital Marketing apprenticeship. This apprenticeship is a 15-month course where I will learn the basics of Digital Marketing and leave with a Level 3 qualification.
I have decided to document my experience of this apprenticeship on a recurring blog on BlogBright’s website as it will allow me to accomplish multiple objectives through one medium. I will be able to complete my apprenticeship tasks in a creative way, whilst also promoting engagement on BlogBright’s website.
As BlogBright is primarily an agency that offers SEO blogging services, it makes sense to showcase my skills on our own website and, consequently, boost our own site’s SEO.
So, without further ado, this is my first post on this recurring series and will be a Personal and Professional Development Report featuring SWOT analysis and SMART goals. If you don’t know what those are, read on to find out more.
The instructions for this task are as follows:
· Produce and present a personal and professional development report
· Remember: you can use your own template or choose to approach this task as a presentation, video or other submission type if you wish.
As I mentioned previously, I will be structuring this submission as a blog post but will make sure to include all the requisite parts of the task.
To begin the process of creating a Personal and Professional Development Program, I needed to first do a personal assessment so I could accurately understand where I am in my professional life, where I want to go, and how I plan to get there.
Although this sounds easy, it is not. Honest appraisals of yourself are often the most challenging tasks because they require you to be frank about your abilities and whether you are heading in the right direction. Thankfully, through my QA apprenticeship, I was reminded of SWOT analysis.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. SWOT is a commonly used tool in the professional world and provides individuals, and organisations with a detailed evaluation of their past, present and future objectives.
It’s been a long time since I did a SWOT analysis of myself so, in order to familiarise myself with how it worked, I used this handy resource, by Business News Daily. After reading up on SWOT analysis, I also decided that I needed an external opinion to help me with some aspects of my own SWOT analysis. I asked my Line Manager and brother, Cameron, to help me.
Together, this is what we came up with:
Based on the SWOT analysis seen here, as well as the instructive conversation with my Line Manager, I feel more comfortable in my position at the company.
I am aware of the positive qualities I possess as well as the opportunity I have to learn a lot about digital marketing during my apprenticeship which will be invaluable to BlogBright going forward.
I think these strengths and opportunities outweigh the potentially destabilising effects of the weaknesses and threats column.
In this next section, I will outline my Personal Development Plan. This plan is highly specific to my current situation and is based on the findings from my SWOT analysis.
It has been designed using a SMART analysis technique. SMART is an acronym that can, and should, be used to guide your goal setting. Like SWOT, I had not used SMART analysis in many years and so I used this useful website to familiarise myself with the process once again.
The acronym goes as follows:
· Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
· Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
· Achievable (agreed, attainable).
· Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
· Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
Basically, what this all means is that in order to reach your defined goals, you have to first come up with goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Coming up with goals that satisfy all these demands is quite a challenge, that’s why you need to first conduct a SWOT analysis.
The Personal Development Plan below features my SMART goals for the near future which are based on the SWOT analysis I did with my Line Manager.
A key part of creating SMART goals is their achievability and, when working in an organisation, a key part of achievability is having someone to help you. As BlogBright is a very small organisation, I will be working closely with my Line Manager to track and update my Personal Development Plan.
The final part of the Personal and Professional Development activity is a Skills Assessment. The Skills Assessment is basically an exploration of how I, as a professional, apply my skills and attributes to my professional work.
As we learned in the SWOT analysis from earlier, I am a hard-worker, a fast-learner and I am good with technology. I have been able to apply all these strengths in real work for a BlogBright client by creating image assets to spread news on their social media channels.
Here are some screenshots of me using the image editing software Adobe Spark to create crisp images:
This is an example of me using technology to complete some helpful work for a client. It is also an example of me being a fast learner because I have only recently started using Adobe Spark.
The screenshot below is of the same image, but it shows it has already been posted to the company’s Facebook page:
I have also made it a personal mission to learn how to use more advanced Adobe software such as Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. This will allow me to make even more content for BlogBright and our clients.
In completing this activity on my own personal and professional development, I have learned a lot about myself. I have learned about what I am doing well right now, as well as what I have done well. Whilst I have also learned about the things that I need to improve upon.
I learned these things within the helpful nexus of SWOT analysis and SMART goals. A particular lesson, however, is the importance of developing my skills as a communicator. One of the key opportunities highlighted by the SWOT analysis is my ability to become an important member of my organisation. However, this hinges on my ability to overcome some of my key weaknesses related to communication.
In addition, I have learned the value of having a continuous personal and professional development program with actionable goals that can be measured over time. I am looking forward to exploring this further as the course goes on.