1. Being a lifelong learner is something to be proud of. There is always something new to discover, and new skills to be gained that can help you take your career (and your life in general) to new and exciting places.
2. Go where the opportunities are. It can be scary to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, but sometimes the most fulfilling decisions are the ones that push us beyond our own expectations for ourselves. If you’re not happy with your job, find a new one. If you’re not happy in your field, find something you actually want to do – and do that instead.
3. Don’t hold yourself back. If you don’t meet 100% of the qualifications, it’s still worth applying for a job. If you’re missing a certain skill, show your willingness to learn and your enthusiasm. You may be surprised by the doors that open for you.
4. Always ask for feedback. The hard truth is we won’t get every job we apply for – but that doesn’t mean you should feel ashamed or defeated. Instead, see rejection as a learning opportunity. Ask interviewers for feedback and use that information to strengthen your job search in the future.
5. Seek out mentorship. Similarly, you don’t need to be actively job searching to learn from the people who already are where you hope to be. Spend some time networking and ask to buy someone you admire a coffee. They will almost certainly have relevant wisdom to share with you, and they could be a valuable champion for you when it comes to employment opportunities.
6. You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do forever, today. It’s enough to know what you want to do now. Be open to the fact your interests and priorities might change with time, and therefore your career path might too. It isn’t the same job market it was a few decades ago – moving between roles, companies, and even entire sectors is the new norm.
7. Your head is important, but so is your heart. When your gut tells you something – whether positive or negative – it’s worth paying attention. Researching and getting more information is always a good idea, but if you feel called to a certain profession there’s probably a good reason.
8. Trust people who believe in you. It can be easy to succumb to imposter syndrome and rob ourself of opportunities. If someone thinks you’re a good fit for a new role, there’s a reason. Don’t make an excuse to say no – rather, if you want something, believe you are capable of getting it.
9. Mistakes aren’t inherently bad. As one WACC panelist put it, “losing is learning.” None of us can be perfect all of the time, but how we handle the moments we fail is what determines our character. Own your missteps, seek to do better, and consider supposed “failure” a chance to grow.
10. Celebrate one another’s wins. As women, it sometimes feels like our successes are pitted against one another. It doesn’t have to be that way! When we empower one another, lift one another up, turn to one another for guidance… We build a future where every woman has the chance to thrive as her authentic self.
HIEC’s Women as Career Coaches (WACC) event is an interactive exploration of career pathways, bringing together both adult mentors and students. This year marked the 19th edition of this beloved evening, with 500+ attendees and six amazing speakers who shared their career journeys with the group. We hope to see you at WACC 2024!