International Women’s Day: five top tips for women in the workplace

Female staff at the University of Sheffield

Close your eyes and imagine where you want to be in five years time. Can you see it? Do you know how you will get there?

These were the questions that women from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University were encouraged to consider at this year’s International Women’s Day event.

With a theme of career and personal development, workshops included: “How did I get here, and where am I going? The art of strategic career planning”, facilitated by trainer Rachel Tobbell. Rachel asked women to take time out of the treadmill of life and think about where they really want to be and how to get there.

Following the excellent event, we’ve pulled together some top tips for women to consider when thinking about their career and building confidence in the workplace:

Top tips

1) Look out for sponsors and mentors

One of the reasons why men may be able to progress more quickly than women in the workplace could be because they have networks of other men who encourage them to reach for the next step and introduce them to the right people.

Professor Shearer West, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield spoke about the importance of finding mentors and sponsors who can help you to move up the ladder. Be a mentor and sponsor to other women more junior in their career and pass on the benefits.

2) When you make a mistake, be kind to yourself and move on

We all make mistakes, whether in our personal life or in our careers. It’s important to learn from your errors but pick yourself up and move forward stronger. Don’t beat yourself up, acknowledge what happened and move on.

Closing eyes3) Take time for self reflection

On the treadmill of life, we often don’t take time to think self-reflect and consider the ideal future for ourselves. Close your eyes and visualise what you want your life to be like in 5 years time. Then think about some achievable goals to help you get there.

4) Boost your confidence

Sometimes it’s hard to bounce back from a difficult time. But focusing on something that you’re proud of that you have done just for you can be a great way to confidence. Have you learnt a language? Bought a house on your own? Think of a time when you have overcome a barrier and remember it when times are tough.

5) Some things you can’t control - accept that

We can get very stressed about situations or issues in the workplace. However, by accepting that you have no control can do wonders for your mental health and attitude. Put those aspects that are affecting you in a little box mentally and focus on what you can change.