This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission. This is no extra cost to you, but it does enable my addiction to Target. Please see my full disclosure policy for details.
There has never been a better time for women to take advantage of all the career growth strategies and tools that are available. The opportunities for women in the workplace are endless and Ladies, we are killing it. Almost 47% of the U.S. Workforce are women and 2016 showed women seeing the highest amount of representation in senior roles since 2007.
We have lots of room to grow, and as a huge fan of women in the workplace, I put together a few of my favorite career growth strategies and development tools to help you sharpen your skills and increase your earning potential!
As a person who works in Human Resources, I have a passion for career development and creating career growth plans for everyone in my office and even anyone who will sit with me for coffee. I have learned quite a bit through my career, and while some strategies take time to see return, you can start putting these tools into action and see return in just days!
One of the best things that you can do for your career is to follow the news closely. A mixture of general and industry-specific news is best. Keeping tabs on what is going in the world will be huge in growing your career. If you meet with clients, talking about current events is a great way to start a conversation and find some common ground. If you are following industry-specific news, this will put you ahead of some of your coworkers by keeping you on top of the latest trends and technologies available.
You might be thinking, “But I am so busy, I don’t have time to read news articles all day!”.
There are tons of ways to squeeze in a daily dose of news!
I love The Skimm, which is a daily newsletter sent to you from people who have read all the news (yes, all of it) and are happy to share the highlights with you. It is easy to digest, takes about 5 minutes and you will not be caught off guard when your you boss says “Pretty crazy what is happening on Wall Street, right?”.
The Skimm is also great because it is basically a bunch of sassy, sarcastic 30-somethings dictating the news to you. And as someone who is both sassy and sarcastic, I eat it up. The Skimm is free, so don’t hesitate to sign up and change the way you do news.
Be sure to like the Facebook and Instagram pages for some of your industry-specific news outlets so you are shown relevant articles even when you are mindlessly scrolling social media. This is a quick way to get caught up on industry trends, without even changing your normal routine.
If you have been employed for 4 hours or more, you are probably aware that you will be doing a large amount of written communication. This could be via email, texting or even through social media. Whatever avenue you use for written communication, things need to be spelled correctly. You would not believe (or maybe you would), the number of typos I see in resumes. And even more in email communication from candidates. That doesn’t go unnoticed, especially in positions where we need employees to be able to communicate professionally with clients.
I use Grammarly, a free spell and grammar check tool that catches way more errors than my Outlook spellcheck. There have been quite a few times where Grammarly has saved me from looking silly in front of clients, candidates, and even my boss. Grammarly also has a great feature where you can add a button to your web browser so it proofs everything that you write to be sure you are sharing only things that are professional and error free. You can even add Grammarly to your phone keyboard so all of your texts and mobile emails can be proofed! I love this tool and I would be a bad friend if I didn’t recommend adding it to your career toolkit.
You know how you always get asked the question “Where do you want to be in 5 years?”? Yes, it actually does matter! Employers want to know that you are interested in progressing and even better, that you have a plan to move forward!
Take some time to write down 3 career goals for the next 12 months and post them on your desk so you can see them daily. If you don’t have an intentional plan to move forward, you are going to wander around with no direction, or worse, stay put.
Get some tips on goal setting here!
The quote “Leaders are Readers” (Harry S. Truman) is no joke. Reading books can benefit your career in multiple ways. It can open you up to experiences and outlooks you might not have happened upon on your own. You can also gain knowledge and strategies from experts that you might not normally have a chance to meet with Michael Hyatt, Dave Ramsey, and Jim Collins. Reading will also build up your expertise in areas where you might not be getting a chance to learn hands-on in your job right now but would be useful for your next step up.
Check out some books on Amazon and put them in your cart (or on your Kindle) and set a goal of reading at least 1 book each month that will help boost your professional life.
Personally, I hate networking, which is odd because I like to think of myself as a people person, but upon deeper reflection, I really only enjoy people that I already know. Stranger Danger is still deep-rooted in my mind even at 28. But fears aside, networking is such a fantastic way to grow your career.
You can network by joining industry-specific clubs or by getting on the boards of a few charities that you feel passionately about. However you get out there, be sure you are consistently broadening your network of contacts. You never know who might be looking for someone with your exact skill set!
If you can be more productive during the workday, your ability to get more done than your coworkers (and in the same amount of time) is a huge plus to your employer and won’t go unnoticed.
I use the Pomodoro method during my workday to help focus on a single task till it gets done. Read more about how to have your most productive week ever and be sure to try out some of those strategies this week to get a big career boost.
One of the best things that you can do for your career is to get a mentor, someone who is more experienced and wiser than you are and is willing to give you advice on your industry. Your mentor will be someone that you can go to and be honest with about your struggles in the workplace or bounce innovative ideas off of. They will be an amazing resource for you and can help guide you to make great career decisions based on things/mistakes they have learned in their past.
You can find a mentor at your company or through one of your many networking endeavors. Be sure that your mentor is several levels ahead of you. Think of someone with the job that you want 10 years from now and reach out to them and ask if they would mind having breakfast with you once a month. You would be surprised how many people are willing to invest in you and your career!
Ladies, we have so many opportunities just waiting for us to size them. I hope you use these career growth strategies to really develop your career in the next 12 the months and increase your income in the process!
If you have any career development strategies that you don’t see on this list, let me know in the comments below!