Career progression is a high priority for many professionals, regardless of their industry, professional discipline or gender. Finding strategies to realise your ambitions is key to achieving long term career satisfaction.
We spoke with Anna Barsby, former Chief Information Officer at Halfords about her top 3 tips for women professionals wanting to propel their careers.
Harness your strengths
Identify your strengths and weaknesses and take steps to work on areas where you feel your skills could be stronger. Knowing what strong qualities you can bring to a job and highlighting them can help you get recognised by employers.
This is not limited solely to technical skills. Even in industries where technical abilities have traditionally been prioritised, employer attitudes are changing. As the importance of collaboration between professionals is increasingly emphasised, interpersonal or ‘soft’ skills are highly sought after by employers.
"In my early career I was very driven. When I had children I relaxed more with my softer skills and I’ve been much more successful in my career ever since. Getting in touch with my natural skills, and harnessing those traits, helped me advance further," Anna said.
Also, by acknowledging the areas you may not be as good in, you can focus on developing them and changing those traits in a positive way.
Be bold and take risks
Anna commented, "Taking risks is crucial for women. When looking for a job, women will only apply if they meet all the job requirements of a role whereas male candidates will look at it and think 'oh I can do half of it, I’ll apply'."
By being open to taking risks you can propel your career to the next step and discover opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have been aware of.
"Early in my career I stayed in a role for about 3 years then moved on because of my desire to take the risk and gain new experiences and new skill sets. More people need to do that, its important that we are bold,” Anna continues.
Confidence is key
Developing confidence in yourself and the work you produce is an important step to achieving career progression. Even if you aren't looking currently looking to make a career move, developing confidence in your abilities will stand you in strong stead when you do.
This doesn’t mean avoiding asking for help and guidance from your manager and colleagues, but rather recognising that your employer recognises your abilities and trusts you to meet the challenges of your role. You were hired based on your skills and experience, and your manager’s belief that you are capable of excelling in your role.
Make choices and decisions with confidence to help drive your role forward. When it comes to your career you are in the driver's seat and its so important to put yourself out there and take risks. It is taking these risks that can propel your career to the next step
By being confident in your work, and not afraid to let your employer know when you've gone above and beyond you will start to get noticed more within the workplace.
As well, confidence will help you to take more risks. Its a positive cycle.