Working through the stages of your career

According to an article on fortune.com, by Ritu Anand, deputy head of global human resources at Tata Consultancy Services, there is an infinite amount of studies that show young women who enter the working world are full of ambition and confidence.

However, as women progress in their careers, various situations and circumstances test their confidence, which must be addressed if their potential is to be realised. This usually happens during three distinct time frames of a women’s career.

Fresh of the boat

The first test, according to the article, is in your 20s, fresh out of university and new to the corporate world, most women are an impressive force of ambition, passion, and confidence. They are fuelled by their academic accomplishments, economic expectations, and competitive vigour. Companies that have well-rounded on boarding programs do their best job at keeping young employees optimistic about their future. The most effective programs go beyond on-the-job training to ingrain leadership and life skills.

“An on boarding program, includes pairing them with a dedicated manager, mentor, and life coach. Each of these individuals play an essential role in acclimating new employees, regardless of experience level. I also advise many of our female employees to absorb as much insight and guidance from the experienced women around them, which can range from clients, peers, managers, and even people outside the company. Young women are encouraged to take advantage of social platforms and seek out and connect with business and thought leaders. This virtual source of inspiration can be remarkably enriching to a young woman’s career,” says Anand.

Great expectations

The second decade of a woman’s career, typically in their 30s, is usually the most challenging for a number of reasons. Companies set high expectations on mid-level employees to work more independently, increase productivity, and contribute to growth. On top of these pressures, women are striving for more management responsibility while trying to balance the changing demands of their personal lives. Women have more on their plate during this time frame, often feeling pulled in multiple directions, creating a confidence crisis. Companies need to recognise this time as a crossroads for many women and step up to support them. By reinvigorating mentoring, coaching and development programs, companies can help women clarify their career goals and build a realistic path to achieve them. The resulting sense of support and achievability boosts their self-confidence and enables them to recommit to their careers.

Reaching the top

After twenty years of working, women now approach the late stage of their career as they enter their 40s.Companies must ensure that women at this stage can not only envision their place at the top, but also have the opportunity and support to get there. Senior executives need to recognise accomplishments and create learning opportunities. Board members must reach out to connect and inspire. And women themselves have to expand their leadership horizons, building networks beyond company walls.

Taking it into your own hands

There are many ways to do this: being active in industry associations and community groups; pursuing board positions; attending and speaking at industry events. But the easiest and most impactful way for a woman to raise her leadership profile is through the thoughtful and relevant use of social media. Working in concert with your company to share your insights on the important issues facing your constituents helps solidify your brand, your network, and your career.