Successful women share their career secrets

Ten highly successful women report that to reach the top of the career ladder, female executives and academics need to plan ahead and be confident enough to ask for what they’re worth.

Those questioned - including computer scientist, Dr Sue Black, entrepreneur Lara Morgan plus famous doctor, author, television presenter and advice columnist, Dr. Miriam Stoppard - have shared their career advice for women in a report called ‘The Secrets of My Success’. The report, published by senior executive search firm Norrie Johnston Recruitment, suggests that the gender divide starts early on and to avoid this young women need to plan their career with a clear end goal in mind. Roberta Jacobs, who has 20 years director-level executive experience working at or advising companies such as Viacom, Sega and Hewlett Packard, says: “women need to plan backwards: this means, taking time, frequently, ideally daily, to imagine your life and career from ‘the end’ working backwards to where you are. Then move forward.”

Debbie Edgar,CEO of Dragon Infrastructure Solutions, one of the few companies allowed to connect construction projects to the national grid, agrees: “You must know what your ultimate goal is - it’s the only way to ensure that all your decisions, actions and resolutions are undertaken with that outcome in mind.” Another advocate of career planning is Dr Miriam Stoppard: “Focus on what you want, not what you don't want. What is your desired outcome? That to which you give your attention creates your experience”

Confidence is another issue identified in the report. Dr Sue Black, award-winning computer scientist named one of the top 50 women in European tech believes that women need to be more forthcoming about their talents. “Women tend not to put themselves forwards.  Don’t be shy about saying what you’re good at on your CV. It’s not showing off.”  Dr Sue Black also thinks women need to find people who will boost their confidence and esteem: “Before a job interview find someone to give you a pep talk and tell you how great you are. It really does make a difference.  Find those people who will make you feel good about yourself.” According toDr Miriam Stoppard, female workers also need to be confident about the qualities they bring as women to organisations, and avoid trying to mimic men.  “Don’t try to emulate their way of working or managing. Women, if anything, are better managers than men and certainly better at managing people. The female way of working is equally successful to the way a man works, so do things in your own way, in your own style.”

The need for confidence extends to money. Dr Sue Blackbelieves that women who are less self-assured could, in salary negotiations, create a problem which will exacerbate over time. She explains: “Aim high. For some jobs – typically experienced-hire positions – you’ll be asked about your salary expectations. Find out what a typical salary would be for the job in question, then ask for 10% more. This is particularly important when you’re starting your career – the difference of a few thousand when you’re 21 can turn into 20, 30 or 40 thousand difference later in your career.” In order to build a sustainable career at the top, many of the successful women also point out the importance of life outside of work. Jo Moffatt, Managing Director of Woodreed, the specialist ad agency she founded 20 years ago, is a mother of three sons. “Don’t buy the myth that you can ‘have it all’. Instead buy help. It doesn’t make you a more successful business woman, a better, more loving wife or mother or a more considerate, caring daughter to try and do it all yourself. So buy in what you need to make your life work - call Ocado, book the cleaner, organise an ironing service and schedule stimulating child-care – everyone will be better as a result.”

Created on: 15-Jan-16 11:05


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