Time to Take Charge: Tips for Women to Advance Their Careers

(StatePoint) As more women feel emboldened to raise their voices and fight for workplace issues that matter most to them -- from equal pay and development opportunities to sexual harassment on the job -- it’s important to both reflect on progress made and recognize there are many more milestones to be attained.

Only one-third of women feel they have as many or more opportunities than men at their current companies, according to a recent survey by Randstad US. And, 58 percent cited the lack of promotion to leadership roles as a top reason for gender inequality in the workplace.

If you are a working woman looking to advance, expand your responsibilities, or launch a new career, here are four tips that can help you achieve success.

• Pursue mentorship opportunities. Having a mentor can create lasting value when working to become a leader. Mentors can be your support system, whether it’s providing encouragement to pursue growth opportunities or identifying blind spots and areas of improvement. Coming from experience, mentors can bring a wealth of knowledge to move you in the right direction.

• Embrace failures. In your professional life, there will be successes and failures, good days and bad. Don’t allow one negative interaction or misstep to ruin your day, and don’t let fear prevent you from moving forward. However, you should briefly reflect to learn from failures: What made you miss that project deadline? Why did a presentation fall flat? Use these moments as opportunities to develop short- and long-term goals to overcome any potential barriers.

• Step outside your comfort zone. Taking risks can lead to great rewards. While certain scenarios, such as initiating a conversation with your boss, can be daunting, it can also lead to stronger trust and a better relationship. In uneasy moments, such as public speaking, you have the opportunity to build self-esteem and strengthen underused skills. Every uncomfortable situation elicits something gained.

• Own your professional growth. Ask your manager to assign you to projects in which you’ll have the opportunity to learn something new -- whether it’s on your own through research, or through interaction with other team members and departments. Go beyond what’s asked of you by taking online courses and reading books (hint: your mentor can likely give you some recommendations). Lastly, make it apparent to your manager and colleagues that you are willing to contribute or lend a hand when needed. The bottom line: own your development. Don’t leave it in the hands of your employer.

If you’re a working woman, more tips and advice can be found at randstadusa.com.

“Invest in a plan and know where you want to go. Take steps toward people who will help you on your journey,” says Kristin Kelley, chief marketing officer, Randstad North America. “Meet as many people of influence as you can and stay top of mind with them. Ask for help when you need it -- whether it be from managers, peers, sponsors or mentors -- and drive those personal connections.”

Photo Credit: (c) Valèry Kloubert