Women notoriously get stuck in the infamous marzipan layer, or feel trapped with no way up, because they have made compromises to accommodate child care arrangements or prioritise family commitments. They are willing to work below their skill set level and become under utilized. Some have gone part-time which can leave them out of any career loop.
But then things change. Kids grow up. They start school and with that many women find a new freedom only to see their careers have stalled in the intervening period. For many leaving the corporate world is a solution that high numbers explore.
But is it really necessary?
Here are 8 steps to kick-start your flagging career:
1. Speak up
One of the things that may be keeping you stuck is being invisible or your boss and peers are unaware of a change in your circumstances. Make sure your voice is heard. The the only way to do that is by communicating your ambitions and that you are open to new challenges. Speak up when you have an idea or want to make a contribution and show that you are capable of working at a higher or different level. This could lead to bigger and better opportunities within your organisation.
2. Ask better questions.
This is vital to gaining a critical understanding of the elements that under pin your business. If you have missed some developments and you don’t understand something, need more clarification, or you just want to learn more, don’t hesitate to speak up and ask. Don’t worry that this will make you look ill-informed. Choose your questions wisely and you will just look curious and willing to learn.
3. Show initiative
Make sure you are proactive and show initiative and get your to do list done every day. If you see something that needs doing – flag it up. Support others, but always be clear about your boundaries. You don’t want to become the departmental dumping ground for unwanted tasks.
4. Be positive
You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind, or so the saying goes. Show your passion for your job and your company. Success attracts success. Get into the daily habit of doing things to boost your confidence so you emerge as a go-to person in your organisation!
5. Show commitment
If you have had domestic commitments, you may have been overlooked or not put yourself forward for stretch assignments. Now is the time to show commitment by volunteering for projects. If you are still tied by childcare arrangements, propose flex-working so you can integrate your schedules. Keep your manager updated of your progress. Very often senior people don’t know what’s going on lower down the ranks because they are not told.
6. Find a mentor
Nothing helps better than finding other women who have walked in your shoes. Ask your company to provide a mentor and if there are no women at a senior level. Check out the 3Plus Mentor Gallery
Nothing kick starts a career more than activity. Pro-actively network both online and in person. All professional women should have a strong LinkedIn profile. Identify some key networking events to attend. It’s impossible to go to them all.
8. Hire a career coach
If you are truly stuck, then do invest in a career coach. Maybe your company will sponsor you, but if not, take a long-term view, you will reap the rewards. It might be you need specific competence building or simply someone to help identify your career goals and create a strategy. Carry out a career audit with an objective professional who will identify your strengths and development needs to reach your goals.
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