3 Things To Do To Advance Your Career

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Have you ever noticed that people often refer to the journey of career mobility in the linear sense?  Think career path and/or the illustrious career ladder. They both direct you to go forward which is interesting because sometimes the best moves for one’s career advancement is lateral and then upward?  Melissa Kirsch, author of the book The Girl’s Guide: Getting the Hang of Your Whole Complicated, Unpredictable, Impossibly Amazing Life (a must read for 20-something women) explains it in one of the most realist descriptions I’ve heard. According to Kirsch, “Your career path isn’t a one-way paved highway that you whiz down on cruise control; it’s more like a windy trail through a brambly thicket for which you might even have to buy new shoes”.  Regardless of what symbol you use to represent the odyssey of your career, there are some things and people who make trekking through the brambly thicket of vocational exploration a more intentional experience.

Find A Mentor

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A mentor is a trusted and experienced advisor that is personally invested in your success.  The operative words here are trusted and experienced.  Many people assign these roles to public figures and online influencers, but the best mentor-mentee relationships are often formed through an established relationship between two people. Forbes contributor and General Counsel for Paypal, Louise Pentland agrees, stating,  “the common thread through all of my most successful mentorships have been that my mentor and I had a friendship first. It’s difficult to ask someone to be your mentor if they don’t know who you are because a mentorship needs to be about connection, chemistry, and trust”.  When choosing a prospective mentor, be intentional, selective, and concise.

Related Post: THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN FINDING YOUR MENTOR

Very few successful people got to the top alone because they were smart enough to find someone to guide and advise them along the way.  But finding a mentor is only 1/3 of your to-do list here today. You also need someone to advocate on your behalf. This person, ladies and gentlemen, is known as a sponsor and his or her role and responsibility is very different from that of a mentor.

Identify Those Who Act As Your Sponsor & Nurture That Relationship

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I remember suggesting to a mentee of mine who was about to graduate college that she should identify someone who could be a sponsor for her, and she took that to mean that she needed to find a Sugar Daddy.  Ugh…no sis, that is NOT what I meant.   In fact, many women, in particular, do not know what a sponsor is and those that have some understanding often think that a mentor and a sponsor are one in the same.  {Sigh}  Let’s add this to another bullet point of things that widen the gender pay gap when compared to our male counterparts.  According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett in her book, Forget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor, she argues that “women on average have three times as many mentors as men — but men have twice as many sponsors”.  In fact, the Harvard Business Review went so far as to say “women are over-mentored and under-sponsored.”  So why is this a problem?  It is because third-party credibility is always more powerful than anything you can ever say on your own behalf.  That’s why people check Yelp and Google reviews before making a decision. Sponsorship often times leads to the influence of a decision that will affect you in a positive way.

To get ahead, you need to pay close attention to those around you who pour into your career both in your presence and when you are working away in your office.  Someone who speaks on your behalf during closed-door meetings. Someone who puts their own skin in the game and name on the line by using their connections to help advance you. Financially speaking, a sponsor can help influence decisions that help you get considered for raises, promotions, opportunities and garner career success because unlike mentors, they work at the same organization as you and understand the culture of your company and industry.

My very first sponsor was someone who was advocating for me for months before I even found out.  When I found out about how often she spoke to the higher-ups about my accomplishments and contributions, I knew it was time to nurture that relationship a bit more.  I started sharing my career goals because if she knows where I want to go, she can help me gain access to the right people. While we no longer work together, our interactions have progressed to a symbiotic relationship where I am now in a position to scratch her back like she scratched mine.

Take Control Of Your Online Presence

3af2c108-5edb-4cf2-a008-a56abba89f07-146632_1626.jpgWhat pops up when you Google yourself? (don’t worry, I’ll wait while you check that out). Did something pop up that you would be embarrassed if your boss saw it?  How about your bosses’ boss? Is there information on the web that no longer reflects your interests? Are there spring break photos from Cabo that you would DIE if your co-workers saw? Hello, itty bitty teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini. I think you get the point.  

Security Settings

Before we talk strategy, you must first accept that anything you put on the internet can be seen by anyone, despite your security settings.  It’s true. If someone really wants to find out what you are posting, they can.  But let’s not make it easy for them.  Unless you are trying to get Insta-famous, you are your own personal brand or the content that you post is industry-friendly, then you may want to consider making your page private.  

Delete, Delete, Delete

Most people will tell you it is time to clean up your online presence and I agree with “most people” in this instance.  It’s time to archive your old photos that are unflattering and frankly embarrassing, especially if you leave your social media public.  I personally do a clean sweep of my social media about 3 times a year.  

In addition to a little sprucing up of your social media, I will add that it is past time to take control of your online presence. This is important because people will naturally Google you when that want to know more about you.  It is exactly what your bosses’ boss will do when your sponsor talks about you and it is imperative that your online presence matches what your sponsor says about you.

Personal Branding

So how do you do this?  Well, the easiest way is to build a professional resume website or personal branding for yourself, assuming this does not violate any social media policies from your employer. Think of it as a mix of a professional brag book, resume, blog, and portfolio all in one that serves as a career introduction.  Here is a snippet of what is out on the web about me.

Danielle Boler Vason

How to Start a Blog for Personal Branding
  1. Pick A Domain. Start with this domain name checker to see if YOUR NAME is available to use on your new site.  If your name is taken, try adding in a location to your domain name. For example, Topher Mack is tophermackatl.com because he is located in Atlanta.  By doing this, it will be one of the first things that pops up when someone searches for you on the web.
  2. Pick a Web Host.  A web host is a type of internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations to make their website accessible on the web.   In my 9 to 5 life, I help creatives and busy business owners fuse style and strategy to develop a clear brand identity and visual presence.  That often means I create websites that reflect their personal brand and I use SMC affiliate, Bluehost for my web hosting.  I like it because it works so well with WordPress and it is easy to use.
  3. WordPress.  I am biased when it comes to publishing platforms because She Makes Cents is run on WordPress.  It is an easy to use platform that is SEO friendly, which means that you are likely to have the content you produce to rank higher in search engines.  When anyone searches for you, they are likely to see the good content that you put out on the first page instead of page 5 of Google.  Seriously, nobody has the time or the attention span to scroll through 5 pages to see who and what you are about.
  4. Content.  CONTENT! CONTENT! CONTENT!  If you have made it this far into this post, I know you are serious about ways to gain career success.  The content that you create for your professional brag site, should include recommendations from clients & colleagues, excerpts from your portfolio, accolades, ways people can get in touch with you, awards, your resume, and a small mix of your personal interests. You can even use this site to repost from influencers in your industry that you respect which shows that you go above the status quo to immerse yourself in your industry.  Want to take it a step up, link it to your LinkedIn page.

When you are feeling stuck in your career, you can use some of these tips to breathe life and inspiration back into what you do.  Get a mentor or two.  Identify your professional allies and advocates.  Take control of your presences and personal branding visuals.  If anything, revisit your personal branding website when you need a reminder all of the great things you are doing in your career, big or small.


Cliff Notes: A sponsor advocates on your behalf to help you get a seat at the table.  A mentor’s guidance and advisement teaches what to do to keep that seat. That’s why it is important to have BOTH.  Being the smart woman who you are, I know that you know that you can’t leave your career in everybody else’s hand.  That is why taking control and creating a personal brand through a professional website is the third component of attracting positive and professional success in your career.


Money + Career + Lifestyle for Millennial Women, She Makes Cents from Danielle YB Vason

{Money Goals} This Money Challenge Beats All Other Money Challenges

Hello Lovelies.  Welcome to the weekend!  It’s time for check-in for the shemakescents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge (if you are new to shemakescents.com, click here for a recap of the challenge).  Today I crossed off $37.00 on the BINGO Challenge putting me at a year to date total of $1498.00.  My year to date total is just one example of how this version of the 52 Week Challenge  can help you double your savings opportunity. The original version caps your savings potential at $1378.00, which I have already surpassed.  From January to July, I used this money to help me pay down my credit card payments faster.  From July to today, I have saved $800+ on this challenge  to make a principal payment  to my student loans once I get to the $1000.00 mark.  shemakescents money challenge

How can you save too?

The great thing about this challenge, is that you can start anytime and it works on everyone’s budget.  Just email us at info@shemakescents.com  for your FREE copy of the BINGO Money Challenge sheet. The best way to stay in the challenge is to join our Twitter/Facebook check-ins so that you have the support of the community of readers participating in the challenge.  To join the twitter check-in, simply tweet me!

Tweet: I joined the @shemakescents 52 Week BINGO Money Challenge to help me reach my #moneygoals.

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