Professionals entering the workforce might be surprised to learn that women still face many obstacles while attempting to climb the corporate ladder. An article published by CNBC cited a 2018 list of Fortune 500 companies consisted of only 24 women CEOs. With so few women holding positions in upper level management, it is important to be strategic with your career. At times, working smarter is more fruitful than working harder when it comes to building a career, specifically as a woman.
Reasons To Stand Out
The journey up the corporate ladder is a challenge that requires discipline, dedication and self awareness. There are a number of ways a professional can attempt to stand out among co-workers, including, but not limited to, working extra hours and picking up extra assignments. But, what can be done when that is not enough? What should a professional do when desires for a raise, a promotion, the opportunity to work on high profile accounts or any other path toward upward mobility is desired? The answer maybe simpler than you think.
Networking is a strategic tool that can be utilized to strengthen upward mobility in any career. In an article published by Huff Post, contributor Madeline Bell, president and CEO of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), discusses the importance of networking.
“However, networking is an essential part of advancing your career. I often tell my own children, ‘You will likely get a job through who you know rather than through your education or work experience.’ These days, it’s not enough to keep your head down and produce the best work. You need to connect with others, be vocal about your interests and career goals, and build relationships with people you might not otherwise have met.”
Another cornerstone of any great plan to strategically climb the corporate ladder is to secure a mentor. Annabel Acton, a contributor for Forbes gives her advice on the importance of a mentor.
“The importance of mentors cannot be overstated. A good mentor inspires you, stretches you, connects you, develops your EQ, opens your mind and most importantly, doesn’t judge. They provide a safe space to learn, experiment and ask questions, no matter how seemingly stupid. In the corporate world, mentoring boosts employee engagement and retention, as well as knowledge retention. In short, mentorship is a way to soak up the wisdom of those who have gone before you, in a way that sticks.”
Working Hard Or Hardly Working?
Consider the advice of India Nooyi, former CEO of Pepsi Co. Set yourself up for success by earning credentials, asking for extra work and over-delivering on your projects are stepping stones to achieving goals within a career.
Kian Hervey, founder and editor of 40 Magazine, understands the importance of balance. When asked which key activities contribute most to her success in both her career and her business, Kian replied, “When I am not at work I read, study and educate myself. Currently, I am enrolled in a certificate program.”
With balance there is no reason women cannot have both if they choose to a family and a thriving career. Kian stressed the fact that there is a challenge for women, per societal norms, to balance what is expected of them. “A woman may want to put in extra hours in the office and work with very little personal life, but others might wonder, why is she not at home with her kids? [The proposed answer] is to break stereotypes about what women want and what women are capable of.”
A deliberate strategy is required to build a successful career and climb the corporate ladder. Securing upward mobility in competitive spaces requires the utilization of skills, wit, networking, balance, and the aid of a mentor in order to bridge the gap between a current role and an senior management position.