You need a mentor.
I’m lucky that I have had a couple of mentors over the years. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you respect to be your mentor. What does a mentor usually do? They provide trusted advice, guidance, and can be a sounding board. In my case, I’ve had mentors make introductions to potential employers. Your mentor doesn’t even have to work at the same company. I’ve had several mentors outside of my workplace over the years. In fact, I still have a mentor. He was instrumental in helping me with MOMentum in the beginning and is still there if I need advice.
You need to network.
You have to network and be networked. We don’t live in a world anymore where you can exist on just what you know. It’s about having connections. And I’m not talking about just social media skills. I’m talking offline skills as well. You need to attend events and conferences, and be involved in your industry.
You will need social skills.
Having social media skills makes you much more valuable to an employer. You don’t have to be a raging guru, but hone your skills so you have a working knowledge and foundation of the basic principles. Just having a Facebook page won’t cut it these days. You need to build relationships through LinkedIn and Twitter. And social skills means having a personality. Whether that is a straight shooter, no BS personality, or a ball of fire mover and shaker, having a distinct personality is key. You need to be memorable.
You need to use your voice.
Employers like employees with a point of view. At least the ones you want to work for. Show you are thoughtful. Ask questions. And choose your timing for everything.
You need to know everything is about having a strategy.
Everything today requires some strategic thinking. I’m not talking about a go-to-market strategy. I’m talking strategy for where you want to be a year from now, a strategy for how to approach everything from how you write an e-mail to when you bring something up in conversation.
You need a can-do attitude and great work ethic.
The world is highly competitive. And it takes work to get ahead. Coming in at 5 p.m. and rolling out at 6 p.m. won’t help you break any glass ceilings. The women we admire all have a consistent traits: They are driven. For these women work is an adrenaline rush. If you have a positive, can-do attitude and are willing to learn, a lack of skills will often be overlooked in the beginning. Poor attitude while you are just learning will have you looking for a new job.
You need to be on top of news and trends.
Just don’t show up for the daily orders. If you want to be successful, you need to be forward thinking and sometimes that comes out of listening to what is current and trending. We live in a world that focuses on ideas and creativity.
I asked Mary Susan Murphy, a marketing consultant who is also a former co-worker of mine, what advice she would give to women in business and she said, “Working almost 20 years in marketing, what has given me the most opportunity and options is learning from diverse people in diverse roles in my field. If I could talk to the girl I was when I was starting out, I would tell her to worry less about what others thought and about things outside of my control. I would tell her to keep earning opportunity every day and focus solely on the journey of learning. Talent and knowledge are a professional’s most valuable assets. They can’t be taken away.”
What other advice would you give to women in business today?