Updated: Feb 26, 2020
I got into the pharma industry without a science degree, got transferred from the UK to Australia without an expat deal and got a global role working from home out of Jervis Bay. If I can, you can... Here are my top tips for building a career on your terms.
1. It always seems impossible until it’s done. Because no one else has done it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Be careful about your own limiting beliefs and all the reasons why you can’t be considered for a job.
2. Walk the talk. If you want something, be prepared to get it. When I worked for AstraZeneca in the UK, I made it clear I wanted a role in Australia and would be prepared to resign to move there. Sounds arrogant maybe but in fact it showcased how vulnerable I was in case the role wasn’t there. And a job was available and I got it.
3. Don’t be blocked by your manager. I’ve had managers who didn’t believe in me, I’ve had managers who believed in me but didn’t tell me (so I assumed they didn’t) and I’ve also mentored colleagues whose managers didn’t believe in them and blocked their progress. In real life, you wouldn’t let that stop you so if it is the case, build relationships with other peers of your boss by asking them to be your mentor for example. Or look at Point 5. below.
4. Never underestimate the fact that you are unique and have individual attributes that no one else has. Working in a big corporate can really get that out of you but keep it front of mind and think hard about what benefits come from your unique attributes and experiences.
5. Network…. I know I hated that word so I reframed it to ‘catching up’ and socialising, both of which I love. Get that in your head and have that coffee catch up to find out more about someone’s job and opportunities to collaborate for example. Be curious about others and it’ll pay you back. Other ‘networking’ opportunities include volunteering for those company projects. For example, I got onto Pfizer’s Women’s Leadership Forum committee and that’s how I met one of the senior leaders who later approached me for a role he was hiring. All helps to get out, do something different and connect with other leaders especially if you need help with Point 3!
I have lots more tips to help you and have successfully mentored a number of colleagues. Get in touch with me at Haven 35 if you need that outsider on your side who’s been inside and gets it!