Wednesday, September 24, 2008

5 things to do to get your career started.

This afternoon, I pick up a copy of Fast Company, Oct. 2008. Look under National Boss Day, and find that women don't really get to the top of the food chain:
"More than 11 million people are employed in management occupations. 40% are women, but of the Fortune 500, only 12 companies (2.4%) have female CEOs. "
Surprising? No. I'd picked up an issue of the Advertising Age and counted: of the top 50 CMOs, 6 were women. Yet flipping through the magazine makes it clear that the target audience is women - i.e most employees in advertising are women.
Girls, let's not get beaten down so fast. We still have options:

  • Blog
    It's free. It's clear. It gets the word that you're out there, and think.

  • Be social (online) and promote yourself
    . That can be free too. Twitter. Follow women entrepreneurs. Respond to their questions, give your feedback. Add people with shared interests to your "Following" list. You can achieve that by doing keyword searches, like "sailing", "photography", "Mac", whatever you're interested in. Keep up the posts and reply, reply, reply.

  • Be social - professionally.
    Sign up for LinkedIn and invite anyone you meet professionally or socially. Be part of groups that correspond to you, and contribute to the questions and answers. Expand your network through the groups you're in, and the people that answer your questions/whose questions you answered. You'll see a world of people there to help when you have a question, be it professional or personal. These people will also help you get you jobs.

  • Be social - in person.
    We need to do this more. Seriously. You can go to your local Chamber of Commerce, attend Flickr Meetings, join the women's business association, Women 2.0, any women's group in your area, go to sailing races, local events, volunteer. Go prepared: have a business card ready, and test your 20 second elevator pitch on anyone who'll hear it. "Hi, my name is Caroline. I'm in Marketing. I have a blog, Zero Zero 2. It gives my 2 cents to anyone who'll hear it. Send me an email to suggest improvements, give me some products to test out. Let's follow up and talk about how to promote young people". Say whatever you want... but say something.

  • Find a mentor.
    You're not alone out there - and think about it. Steve Jobs has a full company of creative people giving feedback. He's connected to people who have over-arching views of the industry (CEOs that can see trends). Learn from someone else. You can't just sit there in your corner and hope someone will find you. The Prince Charming idea, that was nice. But seriously. You have to go banging on other doors. Give your Zero Zero 2 dollars, and you'll find many people will give back.

For all:
Follow up. I can't say this enough. Your career is not a sprint, it's a marathon. You'll have 1 st winds, you'll have 2 winds, you'll be tired, but you'll have to go on. Willingness to keep going can, in fact, get you far. So add people to your LinkedIn, recommend coworkers, email back when you say you will. If you can't make it to an event, reschedule, and show up the next time.

Have a question? I'll try to answer. Email me at carolineblogs at gmail dot com

Acknowledgment: Thank you Phil Wolff for getting me to start blogging. You're an inspiration, and I am grateful for your insights.


Ronna Porter said...

Good first post Caroline, well done!

Kat's Pyjamas said...

Great post note of improvement though...spelling in the headline (career is I think what you want?)

Keep up the good work, starting and maintaining blogs can be rewarding!

Caroline a.k.a Ou Mulan said...

Thanks Ronna!

Kat... that was soo late at night... I edited it. Thanks for the feedback!


Bob Rodkin said...

I agree with all that you say in your post, and I quite enjoyed reading it. I even forwarded it to a few people I work with (thanks for fixing the title). However doesn't this blog, in some ways, fly in the face of your message?

I ended up here from a Twitter post from someone I follow. So your blog works. Problem is, you blog anonymously. So your blog doesn't work. Unless your intent is to reach only those you know. And then what's the point.

Caroline a.k.a Ou Mulan said...

Dear Bob,
That is an excellent remark. In my case, and that is only temporary, I have to be anonymous for professional reasons. I hope to lift the veil pretty soon, but sometimes, it's better to not reveal who you are.
More on that in an upcoming post!