Women experience a myriad of hurdles in the workforce that can stall career progression and harm professional confidence. From gender bias causing discrimination in the office to asymmetrical family responsibilities, these problems mean women often encounter a glass ceiling.
Yet, as we celebrate the recent International Women’s Day, there are many strategies working women can adopt to overcome these challenges. We’ve highlighted several helpful tips to push your career in the right direction while ensuring your talent and hard work gets the respect it deserves.
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1. Set clear goals
While it’s hard to predict the future, setting clear goals can direct your career progress over the short and long term. Raising a family can make your professional development more complex, so factoring these aspects of your life into your career moves can make navigating them slightly more straightforward.
Whether you’re considering the next few months or creating a five-year plan, understanding your career objectives is the perfect way to align your professional aspirations with the future. As you complete smaller milestones on the way to success, you’ll experience immense satisfaction and build confidence.
2. Grow your network
Advancing your career becomes so much easier when you have the support of a dependable professional network. As you forge connections with like-minded colleagues and industry figures, these relationships can result in future job opportunities that impact how fast you move up the corporate ladder.
Many women find their spare time for networking taken up by house responsibilities and childcare considerations. However, asking family and friends to help out wherever possible can help you reclaim hours of the day to attend networking events, conferences and industry dinners.
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3. Take risks
You might have the talent to take on a job beyond your current position, but many women struggle to conquer overthinking and hesitation. So, how can you learn how to take more risks with your career development?
As the author and entrepreneur Michelle Poler said, “Choose action over perfection.” Getting comfortable with failure is essential. Train yourself by taking small steps at first to advance your career and overcome greater hurdles.
4. Advocate for yourself
Don’t get held back by the ‘confidence gap’. The term, coined by Dr Russ Harris, explains the underlying psychological reasons that men often progress further in their careers because they are more assertive about pursuing their goals.
A landmark Hewlett-Packard study also supports this notion. It discovered men are more likely to apply for a promotion if their skills matched 60% of the criteria, while women only do so if they met every listed requirement. Reject your inner critic to reach your objectives.
5. Find a mentor
As confidence is key to advancing your career as a woman, finding a suitable mentor to guide your progress can be a game-changer. While this person doesn’t necessarily have to be a woman, it helps to chat with female leaders who have experienced and surpassed the same career barriers.
Reflect on your ideal career goals and how someone’s expertise can help you attain them to find your perfect mentor. Also, consider what qualities in people inspire you the most. Then, create a list of potential candidates and make contact to see if they’ll help drive your career progression.
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6. Don’t overlook self-care
While career advancement might be at the top of your priority list, it’s easy to get lost in the whirlwind of moving up the ladder that you forget to look after yourself. As self-care is critical to performance, remembering to take regular downtime is vital to success.
For starters, getting enough sleep, exercising, eating well and closing your inbox after a certain time daily all deliver restful benefits. However, you can take things to the next level by meditating, practising mindfulness and even learning to say no to tasks outside your ordinary job description.