Women in professional services: 10 Key strategies for career progress

Women in professional services: 10 key strategies for career progress

Women in professional services: 10 key strategies for career progress. When you want to progress at work, it’s not simply a case of just being good at your job. Let’s assume you’ve got that covered.

Advancing your career requires a shift in the way you get seen by the people who matter to you and your career.

You could call that developing your ‘personal brand’. But don’t stop there. Get the cut through you need, to be highly thought of for opportunities by adding the word ‘profile’.

Ask yourself, what am I doing to progress my personal brand profile? Where am I being seen? And am I just hoping for the best? And if that made you a little uncomfortable then you probably need to take action or remain a best-kept secret.

The following list gives you 10 tried and tested, highly effective ways to showcase your expertise and the value you bring.

And remember, it’s not what you know, or who you know. It’s who knows you…

Penny Haslam

Bit Famous works with businesses and organisations
to help them communicate with confidence.

By Penny Haslam

MD and Founder - Bit Famous

1. Consciously build relationships, in the moment

Spend 2-3 minutes having a ‘human being’ chat with a client, colleague or other connection, before or after you’ve wrapped up the business side of a meeting.

Purposefully get to know them, allow them to get to know you and the ways you help others. 

You undoubtedly do this naturally, but by consciously building your relationships this way, future interactions are more efficient, more effective and possibly more fun!

2. Create a 12-month ‘coffee strategy’

Set a goal to get to know people by having a coffee with them – virtually or in person. Find common ground, exchange ideas and challenges. And then KIT – keep in touch.

Write a list of 10 people who would be interesting/useful for you to have a conversation with. Target one a month. By the end of the year, there will be 10 more people who know you and your area of expertise.

3. Speak up more

In ‘high-level environments’ speak up more. Use FACE to be concise and impactful when making your point. Observe others’ styles of communication and think about what works, what do you like that they do well? 

Also, what don’t you like?! Who communicates ineffectively? Or not at all?

Support yourself by reflecting on these different styles and consider how to strengthen your own. You could do this in a journal or send yourself an email at the end of each week.

4. It’s not BD it’s BR (Building Relationships)

Find a networking meeting where you actually like the other kinds of people who attend. Be a regular, get to know people and get known for what you and your organisation do. Have fun, without the pressure of ‘closing a sale’!

Try it out for six months, keep track of who you’ve met. Think of it as BR and build those relationships!

Joining a professional body or special interest group may also be a place where you can find other like-minded people to grow your sphere of influence.

5. Offer to be a speaker

Presenting at work-related meetings will boost your visibility. Offer to do it regularly and over time you'll get used to the discomfort of speaking in public.

You could also give back to others, by putting yourself forward to speak at networking events, both internally and externally, online or in-person. 

Share your experiences and offer your own perspectives, experience and insights to a wider audience. 

Watch Penny’s helpful short tutorial videos on how to quickly create a great presentation, how to handle nerves and ways to build your personal brand profile at work.

6. Take part in panel discussions

Whatever your ‘grade’ or level, taking part in a panel discussion, or moderating one, is a time-efficient way to shake hands with the whole room in one go and get known for what you do.

Conferences and events nearly always put together a line-up of people with expertise, so be bold and approach event organisers to offer your services. Watch this short video that explains how you can get invited onto a panel discussion.

7. Put yourself forward for podcasts

The world of podcasting is vast and easily accessible. By putting yourself forward as an interviewee (with valuable and useful ideas to share) you can be seen as an expert voice. 

Once it’s recorded and published, share the link with the people who matter to you. Share it on social media... talking of which...

8. LinkedIn

This platform isn’t just for job hunters, it’s become a pleasant and useful area in which you can connect with other professionals and for them to get to know you. 

By positioning yourself as a subject area specialist you more easily attract and retain clients (they do Google you, you know, so how do you show up when they do?)

Develop your LI confidence with these easy steps:

  • Be a lurker: connect with the people you know already, like their posts.
  • Be active: connect with the types of people you can see yourself working with. Comment on their posts. And ‘serve’ your audience by creating your own content that would be useful for them to know.
  • Be brave and bold: record a short friendly video on your phone – be helpful, along the lines of your Running for Mayor campaign issues. 
  • Be amazed: step back and admire your work and reward yourself for how you’ve come. Then rinse and repeat, it gets easier!

9. Do you have an intranet or social workplace channel?

Internally used social platforms or intranet sites offer opportunities for you to get known by a wide range of people. 

Evaluate how others have positioned themselves and how they come across - then share your own content on your social workplace channel (WhatsApp, Slack, Workplace etc.).

Or offer yourself as a contributor to the team that manages your intranet platform. Offer an example of recent work, how you did something, relating to your specific practice areas and organisation’s values. 

10. Be strategic

Don’t leave your profile building to chance! Set a SMART* goal you can work towards, over the next 12 months. For example: over the next 12 months, I will schedule X number of coffees; attend Y number of network events; talk at Z number of public appearances (talks, podcasts, panel discussions).

And good luck, you'll make partner before you know it!


 *SMART = Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound.

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