At this point, it’s likely that you’ve read enough productivity advice or followed enough influencers on Linkedin to know how important it is to invest time and resources in your own professional development.
The truth is, the skills you need to land a job are, in fact, totally different from the skills you need to have a successful career. Having a successful career takes tenacity, resilience, an investment in yourself and in your network, and an ability to pivot when appropriate. It matters that you have the hard skills to land the job, but it matters more for you to cultivate soft skills that will open up more opportunities in the future.
Women have a bad reputation for putting other people first: even when it comes to their own health, friends, family, and of course, career. Of the women who asked for raises last year, 75% received it - but only 37% even asked. How will you achieve your goals this way?
When we talk to women, they tend to downplay the importance of personal brand (or don’t mention it at all). But when nudged, most say things like, “Actually, I know I should be working on it but I don’t,” or “It’s something I should take time for, I guess,” or “I don’t know how to brag about myself.”
The truth is, investing in yourself is a habit, and you need to take time out for it.
How was Rome built (not in a day, right)? How did Tory Burch build her brand? How did Jillian Michaels get those abs? Answer: a little bit (or sometimes, a lot) of work. Every. Single. Day.
You don’t have to be a narcissist or bother other people to speak to how amazing you are. Here’s some ways you can invest in yourself while not blocking out massive amounts of time each day (or seeming like a jerk).
1. Update your social media presence.
If you just take one step each day to update your photo, create a list of things you like to talk about and are passionate about and use it, you will organically develop your brand. The things you like and know about (dare we say, you’re an expert on them) will shine through. And your following will grow.
2. Reach out to your network in a soft way.
Ellevate Network member and Career Coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine says that networking is a muscle, and that you must use it frequently to really build it up. Write down a list of 100 people that you know. Reach out to them via Linkedin, text, email: “I saw this article the other day and it reminded me of you. How’s everything?” “I saw you in the news! Congrats on the new job!”
Believe it or not, you haven’t been working for nothing all these years (we hope not, at least). You spend hours and hours each day at work - what do you focus on there? Great - now start writing about it.
Start by writing as if you were chatting with your mom or best friend about something you love. Take notes, and use this as a template to further refine your piece each day. Ask someone you trust to review it and submit it to Ellevate (or Huffington Post or Forbes, and it might be picked up by Business Insider, Chicago Tribune, Daily Muse, to name a few). Voila. You’re published.
4. Join networking groups (like Ellevate).
It helps you build the habit of investing in yourself every day through The Morning Boost. It includes curated content specifically for you (Working on a new presentation? Looking for a promotion by the end of the year?), and sends you invites to nearby events (connecting you with awesome local women you want to know).
Just like reading TheSkimm every morning or browsing Instagram to get caught up, The Morning Boost gives you your little dose of “investinyourself” each morning so you can carry on with your day knowing you took another small step to achieving your professional goals. And it will add up.
Now, how will you invest in yourself every day?
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