While women’s career paths have often been bumpy with pay inequity and the ever-present glass ceiling continue to be obstacles in career advancement, there are strategies that women should consider when they are looking to advance their careers. The following strategies are steps in the right direction.
We also encourage companies to take more decisive actions starting with treating gender diversity like the business priority it is, closing the gender gap in hiring and promotions, and taking bolder steps to create a respectful and inclusive culture so women – and all employees – feel safe and supported at work.
Develop a strong personal brand and be visible
One of the best pieces of career advice for anyone is to develop a strong personal brand. A strong personal brand and a strong reputation can put you on the radar for exciting career opportunities. Also, being recognised in your field will help your chances of quickly getting another job in the event you are ever laid off. Get visible and make sure you are clear on what your unique skills and accomplishments are. You need to be able to tell your career story in a concise and interesting way.
Take on new challenges
If you are asked to do something that excites you but that you aren’t sure you are completely ready for, always say yes – you’ll figure out the “how” later. The prep will be stressful but it will be an incredible experience that will boost your confidence. Have the confidence to try new things, or even take a lateral move to get a new perspective.
Don’t give up, if you really want that job or promotion. Sometimes things don’t happen as fast as we’d like but once you have set yourself a goal, be single-minded about it. Write down your goals, review them regularly and get support to achieve them. Also, make sure your manager knows what your professional goals are so tell them what you’d like to achieve and ask for any feedback and support if necessary.
Be someone people want to work with
If you do a bit more than what’s expected of you, you will often be recognised. Also, always behave with integrity and kindness; don’t ever be bitchy at work. You could be the most qualified person but if people don’t trust you, or you’re not likeable, it will be hard for you to achieve your career goals.
Plan your career
Career planning is especially important for women, who might have more twists and turns in their career than men. For example, taking time off to raise a family. Having career goals allow you to track your progress and also make alterations if your circumstances change.
Find a mentor
The majority of women who have succeeded in their careers and reached a position of influence credit their participation in some sort of mentoring effort for getting them where they are today. Many organisations offer network opportunities and support, reach out to them. The best mentors are often senior women that you establish a relationship with and then they end up being a sounding board for you.