With the year almost halfway over and summer kicking in, it’s the perfect time to reassess your annual career ambitions. Whether you’ve been thinking of making changes but don’t know how, or are perfectly satisfied in your position but want more, there are perfectly reachable, fulfilling steps you can take to progress professionally before the year’s end, from building your career network to developing your on-the-job expertise. Read below for some of Gazette Gal’s best ideas. 

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Optimize your LinkedIn

Sure, you might never be an always-poster describing how your weekly grocery trip to Trader Joes furthered your business understanding (or maybe you will!) but LinkedIn is one of the best websites that allows women to gain visibility for leadership roles — yet, women typically advertise themselves on the site less compared to men. Take the time to boost your profile’s status in the algorithm by maximizing SEO keywords according to your career field. Write a profile summary that markets your personal brand. Always expand your digital network. Ask for colleague recommendations to add to your profile. Regularly update your skills list. All these factors can make your profile more appealing to potential searching recruiters and boost your career growth.

Build Networking Relationships

Networking is a key aspect of career advancement, trajectory, and progression – but beyond just making contacts is forging an actual sense of solidarity and community with your peers. Try looking for gals online or on social media that match your ambitions, goals, and interests. Don’t know where to start? The Gazette Gal Club is a brand-new virtual community that blends professional advancement with personal connections. Get key resources like job listings, virtual networking events, and a biweekly newsletter delivered straight to your inbox – not to mention the support of a fabulous online community of women that uplift you, no matter what your professional goals may be. You can apply to join here.

Learn Skills or Earn Certificates

Enhancing your abilities and boosting your expert knowledge of career-related topics is always a plus, and in the digital age, it’s easier than ever. Does your job involve formatting images and embedding ads? Try taking a class on HTML/CSS coding or experimenting with Photoshop. Knee-deep in a social media internship? Try earning a HubSpot certification in SEO or digital marketing. Online, you can absolutely learn everything from IT support, software usage, project management, cybersecurity, copywriting, and more. These skills not only make you more competitive in the job market, but increase your current job performance and increase your eligibility for praise and promotions. 

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Create a Retirement Plan

40% of millennials and 60% of Gen Z-ers have lackluster funds and savings to prepare them for eventual retirement. Make this the year your repair and refine yours. Build a nest egg in case of unemployment and make sure you’re making regular debt payments to boost your credit. Talk to your bank or credit union about periodic savings, and to your boss about potential pay scale promotions in the years to come. Utilize female-friendly platforms like Ellevest to explore diverse, reliable investment options that will help secure your financial future. Check in with yourself, your network, and your mentors to ensure that your career is on the right financial track, and outline new ambitions if you feel like you need a change. Your work today will make all the difference in your life decades from now.

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Build Networking Relationships

Whether online or in the workplace, building a workplace rapport is the key to career growth, advice, and advancement. Even if you feel like you’ve started the year off on a more shy foot, it’s never too late to put yourself out there and connect with your coworkers. Message university alumni and former company employees to find out more about their professional progress and career track. Attend conferences and networking events. Support your connections when they’re in difficult or transitory positions. Ask your colleagues to get coffee and discuss your workplace aspirations and accomplishments together. Nobody can climb the ladder on their own. Making sure you have a base of support to turn to in making career decisions and changes is a key part in preventing job instability or stagnation. 

Consider Pursuing Another Degree

While certainly not all leadership positions require advanced degrees, it might be worth considering if your time is better spent gaining in-career experience or educating yourself in a professional field full time — both can better prepare you for high-income roles, but it depends on both your personality and the field you work in. However, some universities offer online or part-time master's programs that allow you to keep working while you study — like USC’s M.S. in Digital Media, or NYU’s M.S. in Human Resource Management. Sometimes, your workplace might cover graduate degrees that will help advance your skills and grow the company — it’s definitely worth checking with your management to see if this is the case.


Ask for a Raise

The gender pay gap is one of the most frustrating issues we deal with  – but asking for a raise can be even more daunting. Earning a raise is worth it -- it bolsters your career advancement, your leadership responsibilities, and your lifestyle like no other professional goal can.The name of the game? Preparation. Do your research, talk to your colleagues about pay scales and bolster your negotiation skills. Study your contract and note certain aspects -- like your benefits package – that you feel can grow. Have confidence in your ability, expertise, and benefit to the company. Keep track of your accomplishments and project results you can use to support your argument, and leverage for a salary that matches them. You deserve to be compensated for the work you do, the responsibilities you manage, and the time you’ve put in. And if the answer is no? Don’t be afraid to explore other workplace options.

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