International Women’s Day carries a lot of different meanings.
TD Bank teamed up with Toronto’s Rotman School of Management to get women’s perspective on what it takes to advance their careers, life, and legacy aspirations through a series of roundtable group discussions, personal essays, and more.
From coast-to-coast, over 400 women shared the challenges and opportunities they face in advancing professionally, the results showing that advancement means something different to everyone.
For some, success means seeing more women achieve traditional career benchmarks like CEO or board of directors appointments. For others, it means having more career flexibility to spend time with family, or opportunities to start a business, and for many others, it means having greater opportunity to effect social or political change.
In the spirit of International Women’s Day we’ve compiled a list of 10 key career tips that the women of TD Bank’s study agreed upon. Enjoy!
Communicate your aspirations
Across the board, women agreed it’s important to define family and career aspirations as well as the need to reflect and revisit them often. Communicating your career aspirations to those within your organization or network who can influence your career progression is key to succeeding. Equally as important is having an open and honest dialogue with your partner about your family and career aspirations, always ensuring that you’re on the same page.
Get an education
Book smarts matter. Focus on obtaining an education early in life as it is a critical success factor to achieving career advancement, financial security, and independence. Be mindful that mothers, grandmothers and other key women play a key role in passing along the importance of education across generations.
Be financially prepared for the unexpected
Be financially prepared for the unexpected to navigate life’s changes more smoothly. Financial preparedness includes having a solid understanding of your financial affairs, having a long-term financial plan, and having an emergency fund. Make sure you plan for an emergency before an emergency happens.
Develop business acumen
Own your personal development by actively seeking out opportunities to hone your ability and make sound business judgments. Ensure your business acumen skills are well developed and use these skills in making decisions in both your professional and personal life.
Understand the trade-offs of a career break
Make sure you consider long-term financial and skills implications when making the decision to opt out of the labour market. If you take a career break, consider an ongoing reentry plan in the event you wish to return to the work force.
Rethink guilt – focus on the positive
Focus on the positive, long term benefits, and outcome of a career.
Be confident – take career and life risks
Be aware of the self-imposed obstacles that could be holding you back. Take risks, both in career and life, to achieve the life you want.
Find and learn from trusted mentors and mentees
Build your network of mentors to help guide and support you. Build a network of mentees to help you develop leadership skills and leave a legacy.
Network, network, network!
Think carefully, creatively and strategically about how you develop and maintain your networks. Make sure you build networking into your career plan.
Think about your legacy
Be deliberate – identify your legacy early and revisit it often. Use your desired legacy as a foundation for your life goals and as a guide to achieving your goals.