Updated March 18, 2020.
It doesn’t matter what level of a job you are trying to move forward in. Maybe you’re working at Burger King and would like to get the supervisor position or perhaps you’re a Digital Marketing Associate and want the Manager position. Heck, you could just be trying to get a raise, but love the actual area that you are in right now. It truly doesn’t matter. The job tips I’m going to share with you are what I used to go from a Customer Service Representative to an Operational Risk Manager tripling my income in a few years. Yes, some of these take time to develop the outcome, but becoming successful does not happen overnight and whoever tells you that is lying. My goal is to help you work smarter, not harder, and that is my first tip regarding career advice for women.
Find The Problems
If I look back at my number one superpower or the thing that makes me stand out amongst the people I work with over the years is I can spot issues within a company. I can sit down with just about any department, and my brain automatically comes up with better processes or more efficient ways to do something. Spotting problems are one of the first fantastic career development tools that anyone who wants advancement needs to develop. Maybe the customer service team isn’t categorizing the customer’s issues based on their priority level, or the marketing team isn’t taking advantage of the search engine optimization. It could be something like reports aren’t being generated automatically. I mean the possibilities are endless, and each company has its areas of opportunities.
Finding companies problems or “areas of opportunities” is another excellent piece of career woman advice you should live by. Keep your ears and eyes open. I promise you there are things you can fix in the company you work for. There is not a single company where everything is 100% where it should be. It’s just not possible. Spend enough time learning how things should work and what makes sense to you. Learn about up and coming technology and how startups are breaking boundaries. Use books, YouTube, articles, and really anything you can to learn about the aspects of the business your in. Soon you will be able to spot the problems or areas that could use some more efficiency within the company.
Learn The Solutions
The first thing you should learn is your “Job Description” more times than not was just something HR or your manager threw together on a piece of paper. Don’t get stuck in a box. You can do more than what’s on that piece of paper, and that’s how you get raises and build your value within a company. You do more than what they pay you to do, and once you get the promotion or raise do even more! Don’t expect to get a raise doing the same amount of work and then think you’ll do more once you’ve got an increase. You’ll climb up the ladder so much slower with the second or traditional method.
Now that you’ve found the problems you have to fix them! You can’t just walk around work finding problems and not fixing anything. You will probably get terminated. No one likes a complainer. For example, I worked with a company who was allowing customers to bully them around with pricing, so the company was losing an exponentially large amount of revenue just paying customers because they went unchallenged. What did I do? I researched my problem, and I found a third party company or vendor, that would challenge them for us, and it saved the company thousands of dollars even with paying their fees! I added value to the company and was rewarded time and time again.
Shadow or Mirror Someone
If you don’t think you have the skill set yet to find problems and solutions within a company, you should start with finding someone at work that you believe is freaking amazing and ask your boss if you can shadow them a couple of times a week. Companies love people who want to develop themselves and become a better asset for them. My favorite quote for employee development is from Richard Branson, and he stated:” Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.” Now obviously the quote is geared towards the leadership team, but take that quote and think about it. They want you to be an asset, so if they won’t train to be that asset, be the go-getter you are and get it done yourself.
While shadowing the person, you should take notes about the habits of successful women. I’m sure a lot of the things they do that make them a rock star, they do automatically. Watch them and ask questions if you want to know the thought process that makes them choose to do a particular aspect of their job a certain way. Ask them how they got into the role they are in and what they excel at. See if they have any work advice for women that they can give you!
One of the best pieces of career advice for women that I ever received was to go out and network. When it comes to professional development ideas networking is the winner. If you want to be better at what you do or get ahead in your career surround your self with people who are where you want to be. I honestly struggled with this one because I am a reclusive spider that only comes down to socialize when I want to, but to be successful, I had to kick that behavior. I started small, by meeting other people in my company and taking them out to coffee or lunch.
After that my company had a leader from a prestigious company come by to talk to my department. I knew I needed him as a mentor, so I did what any sane person would do. I stalked him until; eventually, he said yes! I’m kidding, but I emailed him three times and left one voicemail. I do not recommend any more emails than that. If you reach out that many times with no response, move on to the next mentor on your list. Another thing you can do is find conferences or meetups from people in your industry and go to them! Networking is so powerful and can help you with career development as well as personal growth.
Talk To Your Boss
Sometimes the most straightforward way to get ahead in your career is by talking to the person in charge of your growth. We call this “managing your boss.” Also referred to as “managing your career.” This is also a great way to find a mentor or a professional confidant, which is invaluable because they’ll provide insights and truths provided they are someone you can trust.
Start opening communication with your boss. Let your boss know that you’re looking for growth or an opportunity to improve. See if they have any recommendations for you. They will have career advice for you especially because they have probably been where you are before. Speaking with your boss also gives you a lot of insight as to where the company is heading and how they feel about you as an employee.
Your boss may let you know there isn’t any room to move up within the company. If that is the case, then you know it’s time to move on. If there is room for advancement and improvement, your boss will let you know what she or he is looking for. Once that happens, it is your turn to take action. Go online and research the skills and learn how to acquire them. I would ask my boss at every meeting what skills would make me the most successful in my field.
During the meeting, I would jot down the skills and go on YouTube. I would spend massive amounts of my free time wholly submerged in learning. Learning pays off because I promise you, most of the time, the skills you learn are applicable in many different industries. Which makes you valued not only at the company your at, but where you could be going later in life.
Mental Health Days
You don’t have to use your sick days just because you’re physically ill. Your mental health is just as important, if not more. When you feel unmotivated or stressed day after day, it’s time to do a check-in with yourself. Take a day or two off and recharge. Sit at home and veg out or go to the beach and breathe. Whatever you do to decompress, make sure you take the time to do it. You’re not useful to anyone when you are overloaded and stressed.
It took me way too long to understand the importance of mental health days. I would feel like I was weak or not good enough to have a good job. If I couldn’t handle the pressure day in and day out I wasn’t worth it, but it’s just not true. Humans as a species need time to recuperate and recover from the high demands of society. It is okay to say enough and take a couple of days for you. You will come back to work ready to kill it! Please use this piece of career advice for women and seek a mental health day now and again!
Sometimes you have done everything you can to build the person your company needs for the next level. Whether that is a promotion or a raise and they won’t budge. When that happens, it’s time to resign. I saw a position becoming available within a few months at a company I was working for. To prepare, I got an internship with a fantastic company in the same industry to learn the skills I needed. I worked 12 hour days for six months and never took time off. All while developing the skill sets required to fill the role and the company still refused to promote me. They hired two people overtime to try and fill the position, and it just never worked out. While I was sitting there with the skills to do the job and excel at it.
It finally hit me that they didn’t value me as an employee, so I sent feelers out within my network. I was hired immediately to not only do the job I wanted but with even more responsibility. Sometimes a company is just so caught up in themselves they have no idea what you are truly capable of. When this happens, you have to branch out to get the money and respect you deserve. It’s never personal for the company or you.
At the end of the day, always do what is best for you and your career development. Because the company will always do what they think is best for them. If you haven’t entirely built the network yet to get a job by word of mouth, Monster is a fantastic free site to search for jobs all over the globe! Although job hunting sucks, once you have that offer letter in your email, nothing can bring you down, and Monster is just the site to get you there.
More To Come
When on the pathway to success and financial independence, your career is a huge factor in that. Continue to use this career advice for women guide to propel your path even faster. Finding problems and the solutions for them is hugely impactful. Make sure to keep open communication with your boss as much as possible and continue to learn. You have a lot of information in front of you with your phone and computer. Each week set a goal to learn something new. The more you know, the more valuable you are in the marketplace. I’m working on a full-blown course that goes over so many of these topics in great detail to help you succeed that much faster, but if you’d like more help, I offer career coaching, which you can learn more about here. When work women work together, we work better.
The Finance Fairy