For those of you who are not aware, I don’t blog full time. In fact, I’m not sure if the opportunity were to present itself, that I would. I’ve had a career in higher education for nearly nine years. Working in academia comes with it’s challenges but the most rewarding part for me, is seeing my students develop into professionals which leads me to the inspiration behind today’s post. In collaboration with Toyota, automotive company, I’m sharing my experience of being a woman in higher education and career tips.
Present day, female students have higher enrollments at institutions and hold more advanced degrees than their male peers. While this is an amazing feat, when translated to the work force, women hold less leadership roles in institutions all together. Outside higher education, the same holds true. Few weeks ago, I visited Baltimore for the weekend to attend a summit where I was a panelist on this very topic. The goal of the weekend was to enlighten, encourage and leave the women attendees with inspiration through our own personal stories of achievement. I only hoped that they left with a sense of empowerement to take on this status quo.
The audience consisted of female undergraduates, many in their early twenties, with little to no real world experience and the idea of being a leader let alone leading, was seen as an insurmountable feat. The discussion hit many areas including how it’s okay to have more than one passion in life to the importance of failing so you can excel. I won’t go into all the details here, but please do let me know if this is something you guys would like for me to elaborate on. If so, I can create a series on the blog.
As someone who loves career advice, here are some of my career tips:
- Reach out to people in your industry. I know it can be intimidating but I am a big believer in mentors. They’re a great source for helping you navigate your arena. I have a mentor in my industry and she has helped me streamline my career and pushed me to think outside the box. You can also network. Attend networking events in your field. Put yourself out there in meeting people and building that circle. Trust me when when I say, it’s a close-knit world and we can all learn from one another!
- Invest in yourself. This doesn’t only pertain to entrepreneurs but to all people trying to get ahead. You can invest in your yourself by going back to school. Earn that degree or second degree. Take that workshop and earn that certificate that will separate you from the rest. Master your craft.
- Quit! Go where you are celebrated not tolerated. Now, of course you’ll want to do this after you’ve formulated a plan b or c for yourself. However my point is, if you are at a comfortable job where there is no room for growth or income, you’re being tolerated. If you’re at a job where you’re miserable and you’re just there for the paycheck because of your responsibilities, you’re tolerating. You owe it to yourself and your family to maximize your potential. It may never feel like the right time, but the point is, you need to make the decision to make it the right time.
- Brand yourself! You can do this easily with LinkedIn, but you can also purchase a domain or blog, preferably with your name. Purchase a design template from Etsy or opt for a free one off the web. Add all your experience and market yourself as somewhat of an expert in your field. Utilize this web address on your resume as well as on marketing materials for your field.
- Persevere. Like life, things that are worth it often take time. The key is not to give up especially after being rejected. Persevere despite encountering rejection is one of my mottos. Keep your eye on the end goal and work towards meeting it. You may fall while on the path, but if it’s worth reaching, get up and walk to the end.
Career wise, don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out! Times have changed. Unlike our parents, we don’t have to have the same career for 40 years. When you’re passionate about what you do, good things will happen. There will be long days and sleepless nights. You must be willing to work smart and grind. Before you know it, one thing will lead to the next, and success will be knocking. Having a successful career will offer you many benefits but the point is the improvement of your quality of life. Just remember to look back and lend a helping hand to the next generation behind you.