Article provided by Rita Trehan
Finding a career that is right for you can be difficult at the best of times, and at worst, it can feel impossible.
Unfortunately the latter is the reality for women across the world, and while movements such as International Women’s Day has made a significant difference, more needs to be done to champion women. It is the responsibility of all to create fair and diverse workplaces and communities.
Here are my four top pieces of advice for women, young or old, looking to progress in their careers or businesses. As a woman who has held senior positions in large organisations, I have myself experienced some of the issues countless women face in the workplace. As such, I want to use my experience to help others looking to progress in their career.
Develop a strong personal brand and use it
I believe that strong women are to be seen and heard. Possessing an impressive and well-rounded personal brand is becoming more important than ever.
As if there weren’t already enough barriers to finding your perfect career, the likeliness of a potential employer searching for your profiles on social media is almost guaranteed. Ensuring that your profiles reflect who you are – your interests, your values and your work ethic – will certainly help you stand out from the crowd.
Having a strong personal brand can also prove to be a valuable tool to show employers that you have the skills and the ability to conduct/express yourself in an appropriate manner – something that’s particularly useful as an ambassador of an organisation.
Think you can’t do it? Do it anyway
Opportunities will come and they will go quickly, therefore when an opportunity arises, you should consider taking it – even if you’re not convinced of your skills, you should take the opportunity to challenge yourself and strive for success. Unfortunately, Imposter Syndrome affects two-thirds of UK women*, and these feelings of self-doubt can definitely be a barrier.
As difficult as it can be, fighting your fear and tackling tasks head on might just be the best decision. Imagine taking on the challenge, accomplishing it and realising that you do in fact have the skills. That feeling of self-confidence will motivate and give you the drive to aim even higher.
Ask for feedback
In my opinion, this is the most important piece of advice I can give to someone hoping to develop their career. No one can improve if they don’t know what to improve upon, whether it’s feedback that will help you nail your next interview or how to be more effective in your current role.
Asking for feedback will not only improve your performance, but show those in leadership roles that you are eager to learn and determined to improve.
Find a mentor
The effectiveness of peer-to-peer learning shouldn’t ever be underestimated. Finding someone to mentor you professionally (and perhaps even personally) can dramatically improve your self-esteem as well as your efficiency and performance due to the consolidation of knowledge and new skills.
In addition to the amazing opportunity to learn, utilising a mentor can provide women with an extra platform to get their voice heard during the early days in a new role. A great mentor will champion their mentees, encourage them to challenge themselves and may even recommend for progression when appropriate.
Career development certainly isn’t easy – it requires hard work and a clear vision of where you want to be. Taking a little bit of time to implement these steps will see you creating a work persona that is hard to resist, and achieving in no time.