Five Critical Tips to Advance Your Career
1) Aim high: You aimed high when you decided to become a lawyer [or other professional]. Don't stop now. Lift your eyes from the demands of your desk to observe the power structure of your firm. Decide where you want to go and recruit a mentor to help you make a plan to get there.
2) Ask for what you want and need: Don't be shy about asking for what you want and need to succeed, including but not limited to mentoring, training and coaching. Ask for networking and business development opportunities, for client introductions, and increasingly challenging work. Women's initiatives are too often underfunded - get out of your comfort zone and ask for the budget you need to succeed.
3) Speak up: Follow the advice of Women in Consulting: 8 ideas to Advance Your Career, and be fearless. Find your voice and say what's on your mind with confidence. Managing Yourself: Women, Find Your Voice, by Kathryn Heath, Jill Flynn, and Mary Davis Holt and published in Harvard Business Review, found that in critical meetings, women's voices are often ignored or drowned out. They advise women to prepare "spontaneous" talking points in advance, build alliances before the meetings, overcome their discomfort, and speak up.
4) Promote yourself: If it's true, it isn't bragging. Keep that in mind when you complete your self-evaluations and meet with your compensation committee. You must learn to advocate for yourself to be fairly compensated and to advance in your firm, to achieve the personal and professional success you desire.
5) Help other women: Women Can Succeed in Corporate America, as Long as They Don't Promote Other Women, by Amanda Hess, suggests that helping other women might not advance your own career. Nonetheless, helping other women succeed can be highly fulfilling and, in the long term, will assure equity for our daughters and granddaughters.