March is Women’s History Month, and in many parts of the world, women have made significant progress in their fight for equality. But there is still a lot of work to do.

In over 15 UL locations across the globe, women and men gathered on March 8, 2018, to celebrate International Women’s Day and discuss how we, as individuals, can continue to #PressForProgress.

Inside UL spoke with leaders who attended the events hosted by the UL Women in Leadership Business Group to learn how women can position themselves to move up into higher levels of management.

Five things you can do to advance your career and move up the ladder

  1. Say “yes” to the opportunity. Many women hold themselves back when an opportunity presents itself to them. This could be turning down a promotion or keeping quiet when a supervisor asks for a volunteer to lead a project. Saying yes to opportunities, big and small, not only teaches valuable skills such as cross-functional collaboration and obtaining consensus but also signals to management that you are eager to take on new responsibilities.
  2. Be a lifelong learner. Many organizations offer some form of tuition reimbursement or access to internal and/or external workshops. Explore the options for your organization and create a plan to build up your skills. For example, take an advanced analytics class or apply to graduate school. Look for specialized certifications as many hiring managers ask for knowledge in specific computer platforms or software. Even if your company doesn’t offer paid learning opportunities, you can still acquire new skills on your own-look to your local library, continuing education co-op or the internet for free or reduced-fee classes.
  3. Decide where you want to land. Whether chief marketing officer or chief financial officer, study the career paths of people who have made it to your designated target. Use this information to help you map out your next step on the ladder. Additionally, studying another’s career path will help you identify any gaps in your resume, giving you a clear idea of what to focus on for career progression.
  4. Network, network, network. Networking is key for career growth. Whether it’s face-to-face networking or online through LinkedIn and other professional sites, the benefit is that it creates long-term relationships. Don’t wait until you’re looking for a new opportunity before you start networking, but instead use it as a way to continually invest in your career.
  5. Set high expectations for yourself. Reaching your full potential often requires years of fine-tuning your skills and capabilities. Don’t get so caught up in thinking about what’s next that you neglect your current responsibilities. Set high expectations for yourself in your current role, be innovative and look for ways to grow in your current position.

We recognize that there are many areas of opportunity as it relates to gender parity, and the best way forward is one step at a time. We must acknowledge that everyone has a role to play in closing the gap. As Ben Miller, president of UL’s Commercial and Industrial business unit regularly says, “Look in the mirror first, and see what you can do to make a difference.”

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