Getting ahead in your career, be it at your current employer or at a new job, can be a challenge regardless of who you are and where you may be.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day today, we would like to share our top 5 career tips for the women at work:

1. build a reputation as a self-starter

Taking initiative is often touted as an important career tip. However, few people are able to build a reputation around it. In today’s competitive work environment, the ability to take initiative and put forth new ideas and proposals is critical in setting you apart from the rest of your peers. Make sure you always take some time alone during projects to look at all aspects of your company’s operations to identify areas that have been forgotten or can be improved with new or different processes. Bringing these ideas up with your boss and your team will showcase your strengths in critical thinking and business partnering, helping you build a reputation that will put you ahead of the pack.

2. never stop learning

When you’re giving 110% at work every day, it’s tempting to want to zone out at home and binge watch episodes of your favourite TV show. If you are seriously seeking to progress in your career, you might need to put in a bit more effort. Take the time to continue your own education; whether it is structured research into a topic you are interested in, online courses to add to your skills, or honing your business knowledge with part-time courses or executive education. Continuing your education and maintaining a keen learning attitude throughout your career will help you keep your mind sharp and stay up to date with current trends. In addition, you also never know when you can drop some of that newly acquired knowledge in a meeting and surprise everyone!

3. build your network

Always have a pack of business cards ready to go! Ensure that you continue to build a strong network of contacts within your own industry as well as outside of it. Your business and social connections will help you hear about opportunities and provide you with the ability to reach out to the right people quickly for business, market insights and information.

4. find a mentor

Go out of your way to find a mentor who you admire and look up to. Being able to tap on their expertise and experience in the industry you are trying to navigate will not only help give you useful insights and unbiased advice, but also warn you of potential issues you may face. If that wasn’t enough, they may also help you find new job opportunities through their own network.

5. make a plan

When you’re at an interview you’ll often hear the question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Having a general idea of what you may be doing in the long term may not be the best way to help you advance your career. Take the time to think about what you really want to achieve in your life and career and implement a plan to achieve this over several years. Make sure you set milestone marker goals to gauge your progress. This will ensure that you’re always improving and heading towards your goals, and should you decide to change your mind, remain flexible enough so that you can continue to tweak your game plan to fit your aspirations.

bonus tip – work-life balance

Following these five tips will help you get your career progression going, but it will also make you one busy bee! Make sure you don’t forget to allocate time for family and friends as well as time off to recuperate over a relaxing and enjoyable holiday. While advancing your career may be a top priority, it should never be at the detriment of your own personal well-being!

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