Getting from Entry-Level to the C-Suite: 5 Things Every Woman Should Know

By Paulina Cachero

Jun 12, 2018

Getting from Entry-Level to the C-Suite: 5 Things Every Woman Should Know

Nervous about an interview? Looking for a promotion? Thinking about a new job? Everyone's been there— even MAKER Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley. Harris had to fight for the right opportunities as one of the few women on Wall Street at the beginning of her career.

"I was never preoccupied or being a woman or being a woman of color. I approached the street thinking that all I had to do was work hard," says Harris. That was until a senior manager approached her telling her that he didn't think she was "tough enough" for the business.

Unfazed by the discouragement, Harris took on a new strategy, going on to manage one of the largest initial public offerings in the '90s at UPS.

Like a true boss, Harris is now lifting up the next generation of C-suite leaders. (FYI: That's you!) Here she shares her top five no-nonsense tips on how to take your career to the next level:

1. Tell and Sell Your Story

The key to nailing your job interview is to understanding what your interviewer is looking for in a potential candidate. Your interviewer is buying your talent. Think about what skills and characteristics they are looking to buy and find ways that your experience and skills fits their criteria.

Then in your interview, tell and sell your story based on the buyer's needs.

2. View Job Mistakes as Opportunities

Don't run away from your mistakes, own them. Make sure you are vocal that you were the one that made a mistake. Control the narrative of your mistake and make sure you are depicting it as a lesson learned. No one else should be telling your story.

Then, find an opportunity to use the lesson that you learned from that mistake to show that you have grown and improved the mistake.

3. Leverage Your Voice

Your voice is your power. When you don't ask you don't get. There's only one person responsible for your career—and that's you. It's your responsibility to ask for new assignments, ask for a raise, and let them know when you should be promoted

4. Network Your Net Worth

Hard work will only get you so far. Most decisions about your career are made when you're not in the room, so make sure someone is there to speak for you.

There are two kinds of currency that will get you ahead in your career: performance currency, the value of your work, and relationship currency, the value of the work relationships you invest in. Performance currency will get you noticed, build a good reputation, attract a sponsor, and get you paid and promoted early on. However, performance currency can only get you so far once your good performance becomes an expectation.

According to Carla, your ability to ascend is dependent on somebody's judgement on if you're ready and whether you will be successful. That's why you should invest in your work relationships so you have people to speak on your behalf.

5. Know When to Move On

Setting an agenda will make it easy to know when it's time to move on to the next opportunity. When you start a new position, set an agenda for yourself. Ask and answer questions that inform why you want to be at this job at this company.

What kind of skills, people, and experiences would you like to gain from this job? Do you like the values, the career trajectory, the people, and the opportunities offered by the company? If the job is no longer fulfilling all your requirements and you've gotten the most out of your company and position, then it's time for a job change. If you don't like the values and your current career trajectory, it may be time to move companies.

For even more empowering advice on how to advance your career, watch The Daily Hustle with Carla Harris. Watch. Learn. Get ready to hustle.

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