Menu

5 game-changing moves you can make to advance your career now

#1—Identify your goal + dream big. It’s important to have a clear destination so you can plot out your journey.

5 game-changing moves you can make to advance your career now

Being a working mother is all about balancing priorities.


Sometimes home and work responsibilities have us running so hard that we forget to take a step back to think about the big picture, and specifically, to examine what we’re doing to move our career forward. Moreover, motherhood sometimes causes us to re-think our goals and desires.

So take a moment (or even a day off for yourself!) to take a pulse check.

If you realize you’re not learning anymore or engaged to your full potential, it’s usually a clear sign that you should push yourself to start seeking out the next level.

What is the next level? And how should you get to it?

No matter what the competing priorities, these are five steps you should make time to think about so your career continues to advance.


1. Identify your goal and dream big

Take the time to really hone in on your long-term career goal. Where would you like to be in 20 years? Don’t worry—you’re not etching it in stone. You may decide to change this goal the next time you do your career planning. But it’s important to have a clear idea of your destination so you can plot out your journey.

FEATURED VIDEO

Whatever your career goal, make sure you answer the call of your highest ambitions in selecting it. As Richard Branson says, “if you’re dreams don’t scare you, they are too small.” Often, women can talk themselves out of their highest goals—suffering from what has been called a “confidence gap.”

Don’t fall victim. Be your own supporter, not a critic.

Join Motherly

2. Create a roadmap for your career, and do your research

Once you have identified a clear and strong goal, map out a potential path that you could get you there. Again, this will most definitely change. But just like you would do for any business project, a plan-of-action is critical.

How can you get from Point A (where you stand today) to Point B i.e., your career goal? What skills or experiences will you need? What relationships will you need to build? To figure out the path that might get you where you want to go, take to the time to learn how others have succeeded. Use research tools—such as Levo or Fairygodboss—to be connected to successful women how have achieved in similar roles and fields so you can get a realistic picture of what traits are valued in your dream job.

And don’t be afraid to enlist a career coach. It’s absolutely a worthwhile investment. You can find one that’s right for you online, using a site like The Muse or Daily Worth.

3. Solicit honest feedback about your strengths and shortcomings

It can be difficult and humbling to ask for feedback and here about where you need to improve. However, everyone needs to improve at something. Collecting honest and direct feedback from your boss or someone else you respect will certainly help you strengthen your value proposition as a professional.

So don’t be shy. Think of it as working out at the gym. It can feel painful...but the only way to get stronger—or in this case better at your profession—is to figure out where the weakness lies and work to improve it.

4. Read a lot—get smart about your “specialty”

Find an emerging, topical area of your industry our business that interests you and get

super-smart about it. Become an expert. For example, if you work in marketing, carve out a specific vehicle or social platform and become fluent in it. That way, you can become known as the person who knows everything about x.These days, there are lots of great online resources that allow you to take digital courses in many areas. For example, check out General Assembly for courses on everything from web development to data science to digital marketing.

Be loud and proactive about what you’ve learned. Tweet about it. Blog about it. Schedule meetings with leaders you admire and present your findings to them about it. Figure out a way to use your speciality to help drive your company’s performance.

This will help heighten your reputation around the company and get you noticed when you otherwise might not have been.

5. Network a lot

Whoever said “getting ahead is all about who you know” was absolutely right. Build a network of advocates and supporters who have seen what you are capable of. Work hard to meet new people who can help advise you.

And when you’ve networked—don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Recently, the President of NYSE wrote a piece for Fortune Magazine called “I owe every job I’ve ever had to networking.” Men traditionally tend to be much more comfortable asking for help. You owe it to yourself to be aggressive and brazen in building out your network. Don’t get shy because someone has a big title.

It can be so difficult to try to manage a day job, family, and out-of-work responsibilities together with the third leg of the stool—which is continuous advancement of your career. However, if you keep a regular focus on these five things, you will surely move ahead quickly and achieve that big dream.


Join Motherly

In This Article

    You will always be their safe space, mama

    You are their haven. Their harbor. Their sanctuary, their peace. You are comfort. Deep breaths. Hugs and back rubs. You're a resting place, a nightmare chaser, a healer. You are the calm within their storm. You are their mother.

    To your child, you are safety. You are security. You are where (out of anyone or any place), they can come undone. Where they can let it all out, let it all go. Where they meltdown, break down, scream, cry, push.

    Where they can say—"I AM NOT OKAY!"

    Where they can totally lose it. Without judgment or fear or shame.

    Because they know you'll listen. They know you'll hear them. That you will help piece the mess back together.

    Keep reading Show less
    Life

    This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

    One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

    If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

    Stylish storage cabinet

    Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

    White board calendar + bulletin board

    With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

    Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

    From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

    Bamboo storage drawers

    The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

    Laminated world map

    I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

    Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

    When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.

    Letterboard

    From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

    Expandable tablet stand

    Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

    Neutral pocket chart

    Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

    Totable fabric bins

    My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

    Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

    Work + Money

    Dear 2020 baby: Thank you

    This year has been a mess. But you've been the light in the darkness.

    Sweet 2020 baby,

    I just want to say thank you.

    Because in many ways, this year has been a mess.

    A bit of a disaster, really.

    But you.

    You've been the light in the darkness.

    Keep reading Show less
    Life