Make your work known. Nothing is as important to career advancement as self-advocating. Yet women are often reluctant to take the steps necessary to make sure everyone knows how good they really are. Here’s a tip: Men are uncomfortable with self-promotion, too, and they also worry that co-workers and bosses won’t like them for being too assertive or too boastful. The difference? Men are less likely to let uneasiness stop them. When you feel that discomfort, try the following, rather than giving up or staying silent:
Network inside and outside your organization. it may seem like a big step to join a professional group or even presumptuous to insert yourself in a certain “league,” but persevere. It can be key to join and stay connected with a professional network that can help you advance and may even tip you off to upcoming opportunities. Inside your company, find a mentor, male or female, who can help you navigate the internal politics, advocate for you higher up and coach you on your career development. Don’t be afraid to reach — studies suggest women don’t aim as high in the corporate chain as their male counterparts when seeking mentorship, and as such don’t reap as much reward.
Actively plan your career. First, as your own best advocate, it is wise to have a solid plan for having your work recognized. Whether you plan to build on your career internally by climbing the ranks or you prefer to keep your eyes open for an external posting, (or you hedge your bets by doing both), it really does pay to have an action plan. Rarely does coasting reap the same rewards.
Statistically, the best avenue may be career advancement within the company where you’ve proven your worth, but in the rapidly changing business landscape, many companies are actively seeking female talent anywhere and everywhere, so it pays to keep abreast of opportunities outside your organization.
If you’ve achieved career advancement, what did you do? Did you get that promotion? What strategies worked for you?