Men will actively plan out their careers while only 1 in 20 women will do the same. According to Dianne Jeans from DSITIA, women are opportunists and tend to flow through a much less structured path. For me this comment can be equated to getting a bear hug from my mum, and judging from the simultaneous assertive head nodding in the room there was no doubt that this was the case for other women too.

Her statement really resonated with me for many reasons, all of which point back to wondering why I have enjoyed taking a bohemian approach to my career. Her statement didn’t give me an explanation as to why this was the case. However working in a competitive industry like Recruitment means you don’t talk about questions and ponderings. You talk about assertions and confirmations. Seeing that so many women felt the same way at least gave me a sense of commonality and reassurance. In borrowed words from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg – the climb to success is more like a jungle gym than a corporate ladder, with multiple paths to the top.

In finding our own path, Dianne shared lessons and learnings from her career that ultimately come back to driving your own opportunity, and it all begins with attitude. So here are her top 5 tips for creating opportunity:

  • Be that person that others want to work with. The responsibility for your life attitude doesn’t end at workplace culture; you too are responsible and accountable for how you influence dynamics in the workplace. So be that person who supports and encourages others, the one who avoids office gossip, and who knows, maybe even brings in a cake for morning tea day? Opportunity comes to those who add value and are team players.
  • You are responsible for your own learning and development, because only you know what you really need. Waiting for workplace training and development is like waiting for world peace. Maybe it will happen and maybe it won’t – the only person who can guarantee peace or professional development is us as individuals.
  • Not having money for training is no excuse either, as sites such as https://www.edx.org offer courses from elite universities such as Harvard, MIT and Berkley. These are easily accessible, highly respected and completely free courses.
  • Worry about who knows you, not who you know. To create opportunities, create professional visibility in your industry by networking, attending events, building an influential presence online and demonstrating passion for what you do.
  • Lastly, practice gratitude. Things won’t always work out perfectly, and apparently aren’t meant to. If you appreciate the little things and have an optimistic outlook on life then you are more likely to hear when opportunity knocks.

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