Starting a new career can be an exciting and scary endeavor. You may or may not feel like you are ready. Sometimes, you’ll feel pressure to do everything perfectly. Other times, you may feel like a failure for not being perfect (whatever “perfect” means to you).
One mistake that many women make, especially early in their careers, is not contributing to important conversations in the workplace. No, we’re not talking about the water cooler. Women have been taught by society to be quiet and polite, and we sometimes are guilty of not speaking up in the workplace as much as we should. Champion your ideas, advocate for yourself, pitch something to the boss, and make it a point to contribute some meaningful bit of information at least once per business meeting. This is how you’ll start making a name for yourself
The world of business is basically about two things: 1) the problems (and negative consequences) we are currently facing, and 2) the solutions to those problems. The sooner you begin to think of business in these terms, the better. You don’t have to know all the answers, but if you can start thinking strategically, you can begin to help your company solve the problems it faces (or its customers are facing). This can help you advance in your career, and some companies even offer job roles specifically for those with business strategy experience
Become a leader
In a recent New York Times article, Traci Entel said, “To stand out and excel, especially as a woman in the business world, you need to lead.” Entel recommends thinking of yourself as a leader first and foremost. Regardless of your actual job title, leadership is your primary job role and everything else is secondary.
But why is being a leader so important? Entel explains that solid leadership skills will build a foundation that will allow you to navigate the uncertainties and challenges that we all inevitably face in our careers. In addition, leadership skills can become a “springboard to new opportunities” and possibly even promotions or new career paths. (Entel herself should know; after just two years at her previous company, she was offered a leadership role. Since then, she’s gone on to become the Managing Director of Global Human Resources at BlackRock, where she now strategically recruits and develops top talents.)
Too much is at stake in the business world already; don’t let miscommunication cost you a job. Toastmasters meetup groups happen in cities around the world, teaching professionals the fine art of public speaking. Not only will you learn valuable skills that you can apply to your job; chances are, you’ll gain confidence and self-esteem as you craft your abilities to speak in front of large crowds of strangers. These skills and experiences will serve you in very beneficial ways – in all areas of your life.
Hopefully, these tips and tricks help you as you start the journey towards your dream career. If, after reading this list, you’re still feeling “stuck,” it might be a good idea to get a career coach or a mentor. As helpful as it can be reading advice online, sometimes you still can’t beat a good face-to-face talk with a trusted advisor. Good luck in your future career!