Mary Foley | Increasing Career Confidence in Busy YOU!

What Is The Lack Of Career-Savvy Costing You?

Biz woman holding head - 431000By Mary Foley

Have you ever considered what the lack of career-savvy is costing you and your family?

Economically, the cost can be huge! Though your particular situation may vary consider these alarming stats:

  •        The typical woman loses $431,000 in pay over a 40 year career compared to men. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  •        When women leave the workforce because of family their average annual earnings decline 30% after 2-3 years. (Institute for Women’s Policy Research)

$431,000! Did you catch that?

Plus, there’s the emotional cost which comes in the form of increased frustration, guilt, disrespect, stress, fear, and dissatisfaction.

In that personal state, it’s easy to become less productive, less valuable to your organization, and worse case, a “cancer” of negativity to the people you work with, and even your family! The more you feel stuck and unfulfilled in your career, the greater the emotional cost.

Chances are you and your family depend a ton on your well-being and income. According to Pew Research, women are now the leading or solo breadwinners in 40% of US households (in 1960 it was only 11%!).

You can’t afford to NOT increase your career-savvy and just hope for the best! There’s too much to lose for you and your family.

It’s not up to your employer, your client, or anyone else to sharpen your career-savvy. Though they may help, it’s up to you. Sounds harsh, but that’s the reality.  

 Good news is that there are a ton of ways and resources for youto increase your career-savvy, like these:

Read online articles
Read career advice books
Listen to audio books or interviews of savvy career women
Watch online videos
Participate in a webinar or teleseminar
Join a LinkedIn group with like-minded career women, association or profession
Create a women’s career group of your own in person or online
Ask advice over coffee to women you admire
Get a mentor
Attend a professional development conference or event

This list could go on and on, but already I feel your overwhelm. You've got a ton on your plate. But, you don’t have to do ALL of these things. You just have to do ONE thing. Then, perhaps, another. And maybe another.

The best way to get started is to choose something that’s not a ton of time, but is packed with essentials and doesn’t cost much. That’s exactly what I had in mind when I decided to create the Keys to Being a Confident, Courageous, Career-Savvy Woman video program.

In just 15 – 20 minutes per module you will significantly up your career-savvy ASAP in 7 key areas, including how to create key career relationships, how to navigate career change, how to talk about the value you’re already bringing each day, how to think and be strategic, how to deal with power plays, and more.

Can you find 15 minutes twice a week that will have this much impact on your career?

You decide, but one thing’s for sure. If you don’t do anything to increase your career-savvy, it’s costing you and your family. Way. Too. Much.

How Can I Be Seen as Someone Who Has Greater Capabilities?

Have you ever struggled with getting key decision makers – be it at work or prospective clients - to recognize that you have lots to offer? So has Jackie who wrote me and said:

“My current position is okay, but I want to move into a role of greater responsibility that’s more satisfying. How can I be seen by my manager and others as someone who has greater capabilities?”

Research shows that many women focus big time on building expertise and believe that by doing a good job they will be recognized. They are missing a b-i-i-i-g piece.

Yes, you still need to get training and perform, but even more importantly, you must proactively talk about what you’ve done and why it matters in a way that makes others think “Wow, you really are good! I want you helping me!”

You need to get comfortable with talking about yourself. In my quick video below I share 3 suggestions to start making that happen.

Greater capabilities with button and border

Have a quick question of your own? Share it with me here and be on the lookout for my response in the next episode of Gotta Quick Question!

Women and the Art of Self-Marketing

Sally HelgesenBy Sally Helgesen

For many women, self-marketing can be a challenge. This is because women often underplay the value of what they bring to the table—their skills, their insights, their achievements, their capacity to lead. This kind of modesty has often held women back in organizations, but the need to use social media professionally makes overcoming a reluctance to self-market more important.

I first got a picture of how this reluctance created problems when I worked on a study of women partners in professional service firms, such as law, accounting, investment banking and consulting. When I asked the women partners about the strengths of younger women in their firms, most of them said that the younger women did outstanding work: meticulous, dependable, A-plus” were typical descriptions.

When I asked the women partners what the younger women were worst at, their responses were also consistent: “They are worst at letting people know about the quality of the work they do.’  I tested this out on the younger women to see if it resonated for them. Most agreed that it did. “I’m just not comfortable blowing my own horn” was a typical response. Though I see evidence that this is improving in my work with women in organizations, I still routinely hear women describe themselves as poor self promoters.

I’ve been pretty good at helping clients address this roadblock because I too have a voice in my head which suggests that promoting myself is somehow unbecoming. A part of me is always hoping that other people will recognize my contributions without my having to do the work of drawing their notice.

It would be nice if the world worked this way, but it rarely does. If we want to be recognized in an increasingly crowded and hectic environment, we have to take responsibility for making it happenThis has always been true in organizations, but now it’s also true in a much bigger arena—the expanded professional space that social media provides. Social media offers every one of us a forum for letting the world know what we have to offer, a means for building a public professional profile based on our actual achievements and blasting it out to the world.

Empty bragging of course gets notoriously punished in the social media space, sometimes in withering comments and sometimes by generating a lot of “hide this post” clicks. But digital hot-dogging is not the same as reality-based representation of real achievements, skills and legitimate honors.

They key is finding the midpoint between overly modest self-effacement and tiresome and relentless self-congratulation. It’s a tough sweet spot to find but we can do so if we make a clear distinction between self-marketing and self-promotion.

My friend Marshall Goldsmith, the famous coach, talks a lot about self-marketing. He points out that if you had a product you thought was terrific, you’d want people to know about it because you’d figure that knowing about it would be of benefit to them. If Frontline Plus got rid of your dog’s ticks you wouldn’t be shy about sharing the news—you’d want people to have the information so they could do what’s right for their dogs.

And if you were the manufacturer of Frontline Plus, you wouldn’t just hope people found out about it on their own, you’d want to help them do so. You’d need to be accurate and avoid ridiculous claims—and you’d need to avoid bombarding people with unwanted solicitations and information. But you’d want to make sure people got the message.

The same principal applies to what we are genuinely good at in our professional lives. Giving people accurate information is a kind of service. Sharing what we have to offer with the world in an honest and straightforward way that keeps it real is both a responsibility and a good thing. It’s not just blowing our own horn, it’s adding to the sum of the world’s information. As Ina Garten would say, what’s not to like?

About Sally Helgesen

Sally Helgesen, an internationally acclaimed author, speaker, and consultant, is ranked by Leadership Gurus as #15 in its survey of the world’s most influential leadership experts. Her most recent book, The Female Vision: Women’s Real Power at Work , breaks new ground by exploring how women’s strategic insights can strengthen their careers and benefit their organizations. Her best-selling The Female Advantage: Women's Ways of Leadership has been hailed as “the classic work” on women's leadership styles, has been continuously in print for 22 years and was translated into 12 languages. Sally develops and delivers leadership programs for corporations, partnership firms, universities and associations around the world. Articles about Sally’s work have been featured in Fortune, The New York Times, Fast Company, and Business Week. For more, go to