I have worked for AT&T for 29 years. I was one of the youngest women promoted to the executive level position as a director at the age of 30 which was 20 years ago. I look back at the things that brought me to that advancement fairly quickly and I would attribute it to building relationships with the right people, asking for mentoring from leaders, raising my hand for special projects and task forces which leads to some great networking, and seeking out the high value/high profile projects where I can showcase my talents. Dont be afraid to ask for what you want whether or not you think you are qualified. Typically a person who gets a new role is never perfectly suited for it so even if you would consider yourself like 30% qualified, go after it anyway. That is how you learn and open up opportunities. If you dont get the job, thank the interviewer and ask what you can do to prepare yourself better for the next time. Keep taking classes and learning opportunities to flush out areas you are interested in getting to that you may not have actual work experience in, but often it would help to have education or training. Most jobs offer training you can take on your own, do this. It will build your resume with continued learning to supplement job experience. When you attend meetings, speak up, shake hands firmly, and look people in the eye. Always be kind but firm and never take for granted any relationship you make. Often the administrative staff will have the best access to executives so never under estimate the power of making friends at all levels. Always treat people with respect and trust.
Kimberly recommends the following next steps:
- Network! Join volunteer committees, tasks, and offer to help outside of your normal role.
- Get a mentor at higher levels - set reasonable expectations like lunch once a month so as not to abuse the time but maintain the relationship and come prepared with questions for your coaching needs. Its ok to take on more than one mentor if that makes sense for you.