How often do you take time to focus on your career strategy and plan your next promotion? Or do you prefer to snuggle under the duvet and hope that it all works out?
If you’re anything like many of the women I work with, you’re so busy balancing life, work, and family, that the thought of taking time out to focus on your career strategy is just pie in the sky.
Get a clear strategy to boost your career prospects
However if you want that next promotion, that sideways move, the bigger team, increased budget, if you want those meaty projects, if you want to be taken seriously as an ambitious woman confidently balancing work and life, you need a clear strategy to boost your career prospects.
How you approach your career strategy is as important as how you tackle any project plan. Team Gantt tells us that every project tells a story about its goals, team, timing, and deliverables.
What’s your story about your goals, your team, your timing and your deliverables?
Get very clear on what your career strategy goal is. You may have a very clear goal to make partner in the next two years; or to achieve Director by 2018. Perhaps you’re not sure what your goal is or whether you are even in the right career. Maybe that’s what’s holding you back.
However once you are clear on your long-term goal, you can start to identify the smaller steps to get you from your current situation to that future promotion. What can you achieve in the next 3 months, the next 6 months, the next year.
When you consider your goals, don’t forget to take into account your values i.e. what is most important to you as well as what matters to you about being a working mum. (And by the way, it is OK to love your career and love your family, there are lots of ambitious women like you and me).
Sometimes a little outside help is needed; in which case, I think you’ll love my free download that will help you get clear on your core values in just 5 easy steps.
Take time to consider who is in your career team. Your team includes the people you work with, the clients you work for, your manager, your partner, your children, your childminder or nanny, your friends, as well as your broader network such as former work colleagues.
Who in your team is on your side? Who wants you to succeed? Who benefits from your success and how? What skills and resources are at your disposal? How can the individual team members help you? What and where can you get their help?
The most successful career women have people in their team who are positive, encouraging, supportive yet willing to challenge you and hold you accountable. Your team might include people who you don’t yet know – for example people you meet at a networking group or via LinkedIn. Don’t belong to a networking group? Check out my directory to find one that suits you.
Never underestimate the power of belonging to a group.
Simples. What do you want and when do you want it? Take into account what’s realistic and what’s achievable.
Remember that if the timing of the goal is too easy, you won’t be motivated to achieve it. And if the timing is too big a stretch, it may seem so unachievable that you don’t even try.
When you focus on your career strategy and promotion prospects, there are some core deliverables i.e. essential skills that you need to deliver on.
Let’s explore just 5 of the most powerful deliverables that will boost your career prospects:
1 – Networking skills
None of us achieves success on our own. Your network is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. Build your network, nurture your relationships and this will repay you handsomely when it comes to your career prospects. What’s that? You’re an introvert and therefore you’re no good at networking? Rubbish. Everybody can network – introverts too. Check out my favourite tips from years of networking experience.
Networking is not just the live face-to-face events, you can network online too.
2 – Productivity and time management
Productivity and time management are essential skills to enable you to get more done. There are only 24 hours in a day and when you are busy balancing life and work, it can sometimes feel overwhelming.
One simple idea is to focus on just ONE thing at a time will have a powerful impact on your productivity so that others will stand back and think “Wow, how does she get so much done”. Read this article here for more ideas on how to get more done in 24 hours.
3 – Mentoring for accountability
Find a mentor who is more experienced or more knowledgeable in your field or sector. A good mentor is positive and supportive. A mentor is there to offer information and guidance. Somebody who will encourage you yet also challenge you and hold you accountable. A mentor could be a more senior manager and they could be at a different organisation.
An alternative option could be to work with a coach or join a group coaching programme. (I’m releasing my Career Confidence group programme later this year – get in touch if you want to find out more).
4 – Dealing with overwhelm
Self-care is essential to avoid struggling with overwhelm or burnout. When we are really busy, it’s tempting to work through lunch break, come in early and go home later, however that is the fast track to burnout. Believe me, I know, I’ve been there. Taking care of you is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
5 – Practice self-promotion
Many women struggle with the concept of self-promotion however it is a necessary career strategy skill. It doesn’t have to be bragging or boasting. It’s perfectly feasible to do this in a professional manner.
Remember your manager may not be aware of everything you do and achieve.
Are you making the most of LinkedIn for recommendations?
Quantify your value e.g. be specific with cost savings you have implemented or if you have reduced absenteeism.
Keep an achievements journal to remind yourself of your worth.
Boost your career prospects
Without a clear strategy in place, your career prospects won’t amount to very much. Taking time out to focus on your career strategy needn’t be pie in the sky. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. It makes good sense to plan your career strategy and get clear on: your goals, your team, your timing and your deliverables. Today I have shared just 5 of the most powerful deliverables.
I’d love to hear from you – which of these deliverables is the one that you need to focus on first?
p.s. if all this seems overwhelming, get back under the duvet!
Or if you are a smart woman and know you could do with a little help, let’s talk. Sometimes a simple conversation is all you need. Book your career strategy call here. And if you want to take it further we can talk about that too.