topSkip to main content

Careers are built on raised hands and solid results

Women with successful careers build their reputations on delivering results, Jo Miller, CEO of Women's Leadership Coaching, told nearly 300 NEW members attending the first NEW Leadership Academy webinar of the year, Feb. 11, 2016.

Miller shared tips for “Creating an Opportunity-Driven Career" and urged attendees to create their own career breaks and uncover opportunities hiding in plain sight. "If you spot an opportunity,” she said, “raise your hand!"

Miller outlined three defining factors for career success:

  • Know your niche.
  • Identify the right opportunities.
  • Attract influential sponsors.

The first step to knowing your ideal career niche, she said, is questioning yourself. What are you passionate about? What does your company or industry need and value? What are your skills and talents?

Miller urged listeners to consider the question, "What could you become really strong in, if you focused that effort?"

Be real about who you are, she advised. “Don't twist yourself into a pretzel to be something you're not. Start from your authentic sweet spot. Make it your personal brand."

Seek out the opportunities you want. If you want to advance your career on an "expert" track that defines you as a go-to person in a specific area, look for opportunities that allow you to perform a specific role, Miller said. “If you want to advance your career on a leadership track, look for a series of career opportunities that will allow you to rotate through different functions."

Be aware of what's going on around you and how you're already involved. "Sometimes your greatest opportunities are already on your plate — you may just not know it."

Outperform if you want to attract an influential sponsor, Miller emphasized, and look for exposure opportunities to work with senior leaders who have a track record of developing talent.

Demystify your career path, she added. Seek out the people who seem to be getting amazing opportunities. Ask their advice.

Be sure to communicate your intentions on social media, on your resume and in performance reviews. “Be prepared to explain how you’d like to contribute more,” she advised.

NEW members may register online for the next NEW Leadership Academy webinar.