Your career is one of the most important aspects of your life. It’s one of those things that will also have a major impact on all other areas of your life as well, such as your family and your earnings potential. It’s no wonder why you’ll want to dedicate a lot of time learning the ins and outs of career advancement.
All too often, women may shy away from taking an outward approach and making their career goals known. But doing so will only set you back in the long run. It’s time to take charge of your career and financial goals.
Here are some top strategies to help you excel at your job and soar to the top of your industry.
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What is career growth?
Career growth refers to the advancements you are able to make within your field. It’s akin to climbing a ladder. You stay on the same ladder, or in the same career while getting higher up the more you climb! Climbing the career ladder is more quantitative, meaning you can measure your success through numerical values like your salary.
It’s no secret that women have a harder time advancing on the career ladder than men. This is due to a number of factors – but balancing familial responsibilities plays a big role.
Women who become mothers or caretakers of aging parents often end up paying for it one way or another when it comes to their careers. And the fact that paid maternity leave isn’t universal doesn’t help.
That’s why it’s all the more important for women to think about the trajectory of their careers from an early age. Women need to start planning ahead of time – both for career goals and how they want their futures to look like.
Career growth vs career development
You can physically witness career growth because it takes the form of raises, promotions, and more advanced positions. But don’t get it confused with career development.
Unlike career growth, career development is the intangible transformative act of gaining skills and knowledge that relate to your career. In other words, career growth is quantitative whereas career development is qualitative. Examples of qualitative forms of career development include enhancing your work-related skills and furthering your expertise in your field.
Why does career growth depend on career development?
Career growth depends on career development because the more you advance in your job, the more valuable you are, resulting in greater pay and higher chances of receiving promotions. Unfortunately, most women have to work harder to climb the career ladder, but by focusing on the cultivation of skills, women can further their career growth.
8 career tips for professional growth
We’ve already outlined a list of tips to help you move up in your company. So today, let’s focus on valuable career growth advice for women.
Have a career development plan
As a woman, where do you see yourself in five years? It’s helpful to always have an answer to this question because it’s one of the most common questions future employers will ask you during a job interview.
Formulating a career development plan will help you figure out how to reach your goals. Think about what you want out of your career, and then set goals to get you there.
Set S.M.A.R.T. goals
Don’t just set any goals. Set smart ones! S.M.A.R.T. stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
- Specific: Make sure your goal isn’t too vague.
- Measurable: Your goals should be measurable so that you know when you’ve achieved them.
- Attainable: Set realistic goals.
- Relevant: Your goals should be relevant to your career and your overall career development plan.
- Timely: Create a timeframe for your goals.
Maintain work-life balance
Even the best of us struggle with maintaining a work life balance. It doesn’t matter if you’re a well-respected industry professional or just starting out – navigating the line between work and personal time can be challenging. It helps to set clear boundaries in your life. Don’t be afraid of prioritizing yourself. This might mean turning off your work emails while you’re at home or being more present in your day-to-day life.
Seek out opportunities to learn new things
The best way to work on your personal brand is by pursuing opportunities that can expand your repertoire of knowledge and your skillset. Always volunteer to learn something new at your current job. You never know when this knowledge will come in handy. There are also plenty of free resources for people looking to learn more skills that will promote their career growth.
Connect with other women in similar industries
It’s great to have work friends, colleagues, and mentors. But you should also consider connecting with fellow women in similar industries. It’s essential to connect with someone who shares your perspective because it gives you someone to relate to professionally.
You should befriend someone who also knows what it’s like to be a working woman in your industry. Having that support system will mean there’s always someone looking out for you with your best interest in mind.
Believe the positive feedback that you receive
When you get positive feedback, don’t be afraid to take it in! We often focus on negative feedback, which is valid. It makes sense to want to be the best version of ourselves, especially in our professional careers. But it’s also okay to acknowledge positive feedback, and over time, accepting compliments will help women truly believe they deserve to be treated as equals.
Define your own success
Performance metrics are not necessarily goals. Part of goal-setting is defining what success means to you so that you know how to measure it. Performance reviews are a great time to talk with your boss about the future of your career, but they should not be how you measure your success. Ultimate career growth and development comes from reaching specifically-defined goals over time.
Ask for more
Don’t ever be afraid to ask for what you need. Whether it’s support in the workplace, more time for projects, and additional resources that can help you improve your performance, don’t be nervous about standing up for yourself, especially when it comes to negotiating a higher salary.
Many women don’t get paid as much as their male counterparts, and women often don’t say anything about it because they don’t want to come across as pushy or overconfident. But knowing your worth doesn’t make you arrogant, and don’t let that thought make you refrain from asking for what you deserve.
Invest in yourself
It’s critical for women to make smart money moves and invest proactively. When you’re financially secure, you put your family and those around you in a better place. Don’t be afraid to be selfish when it comes to your career growth.
Take the time to think about your plans for the future, both professionally and personally. You should also make a note to develop an investing strategy that will make you feel more confident in your financial future.
You’re on your way to career growth and development. It’s as simple as setting the right goals and having a plan in place to reach them. You just have to find the time, energy, and patience to achieve your goals.