It is true that as women, we have come a long way from having to fight for our right to vote and be heard, and the younger generation of females no longer have to hear that they cannot be educated because their rightful place is ‘in the kitchen’. Indeed, surveys and theories in recent times have come up with results and deductions that women’s standing in the professional sphere has greatly improved. As true as that is in theory, the reality is that the glass ceiling is still in place, and needs smashing. Therefore, as women, we cannot afford to be complacent about our career progression, but rather be intentional.
A study carried out by the Harvard Business Review committee shows that women are less deliberate in their career progressions. They are of the mindset that they will “learn, grow, and build” their capabilities, rather than, create opportunities to learn certain skills, to gain experience in a certain field, to get to a certain position. As Sheryl Sandberg said in her book, ‘Lean in’, women lean out rather than in, and therefore shelve career planning.
Career success does not come about by happenstance; if you don’t aim at it, you won’t hit it. Everyone needs to plan their careers, women especially more so, because there are often more intricacies on a woman’s career journey; marriage, pregnancy and child birth, relocation for family reasons, caring for sick loved ones, and so on. Many of these events are unforeseen, but the more prepared you are, the less likely it is that you will be thrown off the track.
In this Newsletter, we provide you with four pointers to set you on your way to being strategic about your career success.
1. Mark out your career ambitions, and build flexibility into it
This does not require a lot in terms of physical action, but it does call for quite a lot in terms of mental exercise. Decide, and set out, what your short-term and long-term goals are, and then map out your route to getting there. However, DO allow some room for change and ‘Plan Bs’, in other words, don’t be too rigid. It is alright to set your goals in stone, but not how you achieve them.
A major part of mapping out your career path is the reviewing process. This allows for adjustments, and even setting of new goals (upon the attainment of the old ones) as you progress in your career, hence the need for flexibility.
2. Don’t be afraid to cast your sights yonder
So, we could simply have said ‘look further’ rather than ‘cast your sights yonder’, but the point is that we did not have to stick to ‘look further’ simply because it is the simpler and most commonly-used phrase of the two.
The bigger point is, look beyond the conventional and don’t be afraid to research, and consider, other possible careers. There is a certain proverb from the western part of Nigeria, in Africa, that translates to “one road does not lead to the market”. In contextual terms, there is no one way that leads to career success; there are many successful people who achieved success in different ways.
3. In all your getting, please get knowledge
Knowledge really is power, which comes hand in hand with success. Seek to learn more and better yourself. Develop transferable skills that can be useful across various roles and fields. Consider the training and educational opportunities that will support the pursuit of your goals; both formal and informal. These include online programs, workshops, seminars and conferences, professional associations, trade publications and so on.
Also, when job-hunting, look out for roles and organisations that offer training, personal and professional development programs. Make sure to take advantage of that time at the end of the interview where the interviewer(s) solicit your questions, and ask them about what development and training opportunities are on offer.
4. Do find a mentor
If you received this Newsletter directly from us, you most likely have attended at least one or two of our events, and must have heard our CEO and other speakers talk about the importance of having a mentor.
According to Dorothy Perrin Moore in ‘Careerpreneurs: Lessons from Leading Women Entrepreneurs on Building a Career Without Boundaries’, “Mentors can both protect women from discrimination and help them learn what men supposedly learn from the ‘old boy’s network’ about how to navigate their way past obstacles to their career success.”
Your mentor should be someone who has achieved what you would like to achieve, and is willing to help you get to that place. Consequently, you must possess, or develop, the ability to accept constructive criticism. However, be sure to see to it that your mentor is someone who you have a good rapport, and relationship, with.
There is a lot more to career planning than can be depicted in this Newsletter, so we implore you to attend the next Career Masterclass live event, ‘Career Planning Workshop’, where you will be taken through the process of evaluating your career progression so far, and assisted in mapping out your career ambitions, as well as the practical steps to help you achieve your career goals. To purchase your ticket, please find the link below.