Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds
Issue link: http://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/662902
We Mean Business > 26 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N S u m m e r 2 0 1 6 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m for an important job or committee," says Combopiano. "When your boss's boss says he's holding open ofce hours, show up and tell him about a project you're work- ing on or a problem you solved." 3 Build your network. "Finding the right job is all about who you know," says Daly. "So the single most im- portant piece of advice I give to women is to start building their social capital from the very beginning and never stop." Your primary source of con- tacts is the people you know. Tis includes colleagues from current and previous jobs, high school and college classmates, neighbors, family, and friends. "You have to feel comfortable that you have stayed in touch with these people so that they wouldn't hesitate to recommend you for a job or set you up on an informational meeting," says Daly. Online networking sites like LinkedIn are another great tool. To make the most of them, keep your profle up-to-date, build your contact list, join groups related to your industry or job function, and check in frequently to maintain your visibility and see what your contacts are posting. Professional organizations are a gold mine of networking opportunities. "Go to the monthly luncheons and meet the players," urges Daly. "Attend online activ- ities like workshops and seminars. Raise your profle by becoming an ofcer or committee chair." An added beneft of membership in pro- fessional organizations is the annual sal- ary surveys many conduct. Tis informa- tion is essential when you're negotiating for a new position or asking for a raise. 4 Cultivate sponsors. Women seek- ing to move up the career ladder were once advised to fnd mentors. But new fndings suggest that mentoring may not be as benefcial to women as it is to men. An ongoing project by Cata- lyst found that men's mentors are more highly placed than women's—and more infuential in helping them secure key jobs and promotions. Instead, career de- velopment experts encourage women to seek out sponsors. "Tese are people with clout who pas- sionately support you and are willing to put their name on the line for you," says Perez-Foley. "When they say, 'Tis person needs to be promoted,' other people in the organization listen. People with spon- sors have a higher level of job satisfaction, and their careers accelerate at a much more rapid pace." How do you cultivate spon- sors? "Find out who the power players are in your organization or industry—the people who are making things happen at higher levels," Perez-Foley sug- gests. "Ten fgure out how to strategically network with them in a way that helps them see your value." 5 Be strategic. Not all leadership op- portunities are created equal. "Te key to growth, whether in salary or in career progression, is getting on those highly visible assignments that are impor- tant to an organization," says Perez-Foley. "You could be doing great work, but if the right people don't see it, and it's not cur- rently important to the business or mar- ketplace, you won't get the same traction." Learn as much as you can about your company and industry. Read annual re- ports and industry publications, visit corporate websites, and stay current on marketplace trends. If, for example, you learn that your company is eager to ex- pand into emerging markets, highlight your fuency in another language or time spent living in a developing country. In Norman-Cooper's case, her new role involved creating a communica- tions strategy to help Kaiser Perman- ente's stakeholders understand why the organization had decided to voluntarily embrace Sarbanes-Oxley, a law designed to improve the accuracy of corporate dis- closures. "Te president and CFO viewed this work as critical," she says. Create your own opportunity. "It's called job crafting," says Combopiano. "You might say, 'Now that we're engaged in this new business, I think we need someone in this role to help drive that for- ward. I would be the perfect candidate.'" 6 Negotiate for what you are worth. Women are much less likely than men to negotiate their compensa- tion. One study of graduating MBA stu- dents found that half of the men had nego- tiated their salaries, while only one-eighth of the women had. "You'll never have a better opportunity to ask for what you want than when you're beginning a new job," says Perez-Foley. "Even if they counter your ofer, you'll end up with more than you started out with." Use resources such as salary surveys done by professional organizations and job sites like Indeed to learn the aver- age pay for your position, industry, and region. Leverage LinkedIn to fnd con- tacts who work at the organization you're targeting and may be willing to share in- formation. Armed with this data, you can walk in the door with a clear idea of the salary you deserve. 7 Keep asking. An annual perfor- mance review is another great op- portunity to revisit your salary. "Your boss is primed because he or she has been going through the budget, and knows what he or she can give this year," says Daly. She encourages women to avoid men- tioning their feelings and what they "de- serve" and instead to use objective data to make their case. "Point to measurable con- tributions wherever you can," she advises. "You might say, 'I drove a new process that enabled our plant to reduce errors by 7 percent.' Data is hard to quibble with." 8 Step outside your comfort zone. If you want to advance, be pre- pared to take risks. Try new things, and accept that you may fail now and then. "You have to be able to take some knocks, dust yourself of, and get up again," says Combopiano. "Being persis- tent pays of." DW Karen Eisenburg is a freelance writer based in Oakland, California.