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Take your career to the next level: Seven tips to boost professional growth

Written by
Rose Smith
Published on
January 4, 2024

In order to stay on top of the competition in today’s job market, it is crucial to continue your pursuit to grow both personally and professionally. In June, we hosted a career conference in Berlin covering various topics on growing one’s career. One of our panels was on ‘How to boost your career and mistakes to avoid,’ with Krista Casey (Creative Director at Wayfair EU), Ashley Sigmon (Sr. Career Specialist at CareerFoundry), and Maria Margarita Gutierrez Reyes (Engineering Manager at Blinkist). We heard directly from women who has committed themselves to both personal and professional development. We put together some key-takeaways from the panel to make their insights accessible to those who were not able to join us. 

1. Find out what your ‘special ingredient’ is. 

To be competitive in the market, Marga suggests to have clarity on what ‘special ingredient’ you bring to a workplace. Find out what makes you stand out and use your own language to show it. This could be either on social media or during interviews or talks.

2. Build on what you already bring to the table.

Ashley shared that she used to define a successful person as someone who had all the qualities she didn't have. By equating success as "everything I'm not," she shared that she was setting unachievably high standards for herself and not investing in ways in which she could be successful as herself. This not only limited her ambitions but also her salary expectations. Now, she has invested time in understanding the value she brings to the companies and have a more balanced view of what she can achieve. She also feels more confident seeking out promotions and leadership opportunities.

3. Seek out support when facing new challenges.

Marga shared that jumping into the unknown without mentorship, coaching, or the support of an experienced person can be detrimental to your confidence. When she made the jump into management, she didn’t have the support she needed and had to learn many significant lessons on her own because she didn't fully understand what was expected of her. However, when I moved to a more challenging setup in the same role, she sought out a mentor and things were better. She currently has a professional coach who helps her with the challenging parts of her career that she couldn’t figure out on her own.

Krista shared that she had great experiences as both a mentee and a mentor. She gained confidence and stronger communication skills in her role as a mentee. For her, she found mentors with complimentary skills. For example, as she has a creative background, she is always hungry to learn more about business so her mentors were usually marketing leaders. Mentorship gave her a safe space to share her ideas and get honest constructive feedback.

4. Learn how to cope with your imposter syndrome.

When asked about overcoming imposter syndrome, the panelists shared that they probably will always have imposter syndrome. Marga and Krista shares that it isn’t a matter of suppressing it but rather coping with it and getting better at identifying when it comes, what the triggers are, and what mechanisms can we put in place to ground ourselves.

For Krista, it is more about re-scripting her internal talk. By using an app, she sends herself gentle reminders she has written herself throughout the day. She shares that there is something very powerful about getting a message from yourself. She tailors these reminders to address her insecurities. She claims that these messages have gently changed her way of thinking and moved it towards a more positive direction. 

Additionally, Ashley shared that self-doubt is not always a bad thing as long as you recognise the difference between imposter syndrome and “healthy questioning.” She even shares an anecdote about when she whas asked to speak at the career conference. Her first thought was: “Am I really qualified to talk about this?” She pointed out that this was clearly the imposter syndrome talking.

5. Have conversations with yourself about what you want and what you don’t.

Marga shares that we may not like all aspects of our job and still wonder whether we chose the right path. She suggest to have conversations with yourself about what you want and what you don’t. If you feel strongly about something at work (both good and bad), don’t look away but talk to yourself about it because you will find the little gold nuggets of love on the other side of that conversation, the core pieces of knowledge that will help you make better and better decisions towards a career that feels truly fulfilling.

6. Follow your inner compass.

Listen to yourself and follow your inner compass. Krista told the audience that if things feel stagnant or unfulfilling, explore how you could change things up. The first step doesn’t always have to be finding a new job. You could upskill with a course, learn a new language, move to a new place, whatever feels true for you 

7. Disruptions in your career isn’t always a bad thing and may even spark positive waves in your career.

Krista shared that the biggest boosts in her career came from period of disruption. Whether it was quitting a role that didn’t serve her, taking on a stretch opportunity, or moving to a new country to pursue a role, these situations came with personal growth, new skills, and more opportunities. 

If you’re looking into growing your career, Femme Palette has mentors in various fields all over the world. They can help you explore your options, set development goals, build your network and identify resources you need to level up your skills. Our mentors not only help their mentees be more competitive in their field but also figure out the direction of their career. Apply to our mentorship program today!

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