No one will advocate for you more than you can for yourself. If you missed the Soirée Women's Leadership Symposium or simply couldn't get into her standing-room-only sessions, that's the key point speaker Kara Albert drove home to listeners. 

Here, Kara breaks down some of the highlights. 

 

Asking for a Raise 

In Arkansas, women are paid 66.8 cents on the dollar in sales and office occupations. Get out there and ask for more! Remember you can ask for a raise at any point during the year, but it will have the biggest impact at the end of a big project. A few pointers to help you out:

- Don’t make it personal. It’s not about your needs or the fact that you just moved into a bigger place or your bills went up. Keep it professional and focused on what you’ve accomplished.

- Do your homework. Come prepared with a list of your accomplishments and successes over the past year as reasoning for why you’ve earned this. Make sure you’ve done your research on what the industry averages are for your role. Think through what other non-financial benefits you’d ask for if the answer is no on the raise (like professional development opportunities, more vacation, work from home days, etc.).

- Be comfortable with silence. Ask for the raise, then sit in the silence! Don’t backtrack or justify something lower than what you’ve just asked for. Let them process it and don’t back down.

 

Asking for Feedback

Women receive less feedback than men, and when we do get it, it's usually vague or contradictory. Here are a few tips on asking for feedback:

  • Set regular meetings with your manager and include feedback as an agenda item every time.
  • Do people get weird when you say you want feedback? Ask for advice instead. Different word, but better outcomes and more information for you.
  • Try phrases like: “How am I doing?” “What can I do better?” “How could that have been improved?” “What do you think worked well here?"

 

Building Your Brand

Brand building can be especially tough for women. Here are a few daily actions you can do to build your brand and get noticed at work.

- Speak up! Address difficult topics head-on and share your opinion in meetings. Remember, if you have a seat at the table, it’s your responsibility to speak up.

- Put yourself out there. Get involved in new activities, introduce yourself to the head honchos and the new employees, ask to work on a project and ask to take on a difficult topic that’s been an ongoing issue at the office. 

- Get yourself a girl gang. We all need to vent to others about work and we all need some honest advice every now and then. Make sure to lean on your trusted friends outside of work when things get difficult at work. They’ll give you honest and candid feedback if you ask for it.

- Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help, especially other women. It’s our job to lift each other up, so reach out to someone today to ask for career advice, to help you learn about a new field or an area at your current company. 

 

Defining Your Brand

Answer these questions if you want to start the journey towards identifying what makes you truly unique. (And yes, it's a journey.)

  1. What are you passionate about? What do you get excited about?
  2. What are your talents? When are you in "flow"?
  3. What do others say you are a rockstar at doing?
  4. What makes you different from everyone else out there?

 

Kara Albert is an independent talent consultant who is passionate about helping people succeed and who has spent more than 15 years helping people and organizations be their very best. She currently resides in Chicago and is an avid foodie and traveler.

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