I am a working mom that continues to aim high. I’m a mom first, always. I am also a career woman that wants to continue to advance in my career. I believe in raising incredible children while still chasing my career dreams. By achieving all I can in my career, I can build a brighter path for my children. Aiming high as a woman has its challenges, but there are tons of ways to go for what you want and advance in your career. After a career change and deep diving into leadership and mentorships, this is some of the top career advice for women that I have received for women like me looking for growth. Growth can happen in every part of your life, and you can have it all. These are my favorite pieces of career advice for women that I apply to my job every single day.
Keep An Elevator Speech Ready
At any given moment, you should have a personal elevator speech ready to go. An elevator speech is your personal brand pitch that is only as long as an elevator ride. If you were to step into an elevator with the CEO of the company you work for, what are the most important things you could say in 30 seconds? Your elevator speech should include your best accomplishments, background, and ideas that you can easily convey in 30 seconds or less. It should be memorable, and represent the personal brand you are trying to promote. Having an elevator speech handy is helpful in tons of scenarios from interviewing, networking, and marketing. Regardless of where you are in your career, you should always be ready to pitch yourself well.
Have A Clear Vision
All successful long term goals are dependent on small wins. Develop a clear vision of both your career, and your life. What does your ideal role look like? Which skills or roles can you develop now that could aid you in getting there? What do you want your life to look like when you come home from work? What do you want your days to look like in 5, 10, 30 years? Start with your long term goals and work backwards to develop your short term goals. Having a clear vision will allow you to take steps forward, and capitalize on your available time and efforts.
Align Your Time With Your Values
I am a working mom. I want to excel in my career. Your time is your most valuable resource, and must be aligned to your present values and priorities. There are ebbs and flows of where your time is most needed. Some days, my kids command more time than work during the day and I communicate that to all necessary parties. Some days, my kids are all set and my clients’ needs take the forefront. Being transparent with your values and where your time is needed will make the road to achieving your goals much easier. Take ownership over your time, and make sure you are using it in the way that you need to at that time. You can always shift your time as needed, but it is important to always keep your values in mind.
In many aspects in life, I am not a confident person. But at work, none of my leaders, clients, or colleagues know that! Even when you are lacking in a skill or knowledge area it is important to always exude confidence. You do not need to know all the answers to be confident in yourself and your efforts.
Seek Out Mentorship
Mentorship is extremely beneficial for both the mentor and the mentee for the value provided in making employees more engaged and providing incredible professional development. For me as a mentee, the greatest asset I have acquired from both formal and informal mentorships is the power of building a network. Through casual conversations as well as formal mentoring sessions, my mentor has directly connected me to others in the organization or field at various points in my career that have made a profound impact on my career trajectory. I have been connected to leaders with near future openings on their team that match my interests, skilled experts in areas that I wish to develop my own skills, as well as colleagues that are facing/have faced similar challenges as I am in my career. I have also been able to provide networking or relationships to my mentor by connecting him/her with potential matches for their team or support with personal needs they may have. Mentorship can be an extremely powerful tool to build personal skills and development while getting to know an organization in a greater capacity.
Build Lasting Relationships
Along with building mentor relationships, building a network is crucial throughout a career. Having connections is important, but building real relationships with others in your field can make a big difference in the path you take in your career. Go beyond the surface level with your network to ensure you are memorable (remember that elevator speech!). Look for ways to build relationships that extend beyond the office and always be aware that you have an audience. You never know when you will meet someone that could become instrumental in the future.
Refine Your Communication
Your communication style and power speaks loudly to those in your circle. When looking to advance, you want to refine your communication style to align with the image you want to portray. If communicating in person, your tone, body language, and use of power words matters much more than the content of what you are saying. When communicating via email or in writing, work to refine your communication to come across clearly and confidently. Try to avoid apologizing or adding modifiers to your words such as “just”.
Here is an example:
I am sorry for all the emails but I am just checking in to see if you have been able to review the materials I sent you.
Thank you for your time and attention to the materials I sent over yesterday. I am confirming your receipt and inquiring as to when you have availability to follow up with me.
While this is a great piece of career advice for women, this is also great advice for any woman in a busy season of life. When it comes to aligning your time to your values, saying no becomes a powerful tool. In order to get ahead and continue to manage everything successfully, you will need to learn the art of saying no to anything that detracts from your goals. Saying no is something you have to do in your personal life in order to devote more time to career growth. Saying no is something you have to do at work in order to continue balancing your family and your career goals. Being selective with your time allows you to flourish in the areas you say yes to, and get you that much closer to your next steps.
Learn How To Negotiate
This one can be hard, especially for some women. One of the best pieces of career advice for women is to ensure you always negotiate. Negotiation skills can be developed and practiced and can make a large difference in various outcomes along your career journey. You should always negotiate when it comes to accepting new roles, promotions, or assignments if you feel the offer is not adequate for your worth. Stay aware of market trends and keep up on your desirable skills so you always have items to refer to when negotiating. That elevator speech you have in your pocket can be useful when negotiating too!
Know Your Worth
At the end of the day, your most valuable asset is you. I remember a mentor telling me early on in my career to aim high but never forget that I was quickly replaceable in any job. Regardless of how far you advance in your career, your needs always need to be your first priority. Take care of yourself and your family, and all things career related will fall into place. Always remember your worth and do not settle
If you are interested in advancing in your career, these pieces of career advice for women can go a long way in getting you where you want to be. The most important thing is always believing in yourself, and believing all your dreams are possible. There are no ceilings that cannot be broken.
All the best,