Strategy is key for women's careers

The PR industry is fickle. People go from one account to another, which means networking is an essential part not only of the business but of propelling women's careers forward - but that's not all it does.

Heather Jackson: Strategy is key
Heather Jackson: Strategy is key

Women in PR need to remember networking isn't just about getting the next job; it is about building respectability in your own marketplace. Networking is vital to whichever sector you work in, but it is especially vital to those in PR.

The holy trinity of women's confidence and self-belief; the recognition of their capabilities and valuing themselves; and the right contacts and networks, creates the perfect environment for success.

Without those three components working hand in hand women do not have the ability to recognise the choice and control that they have in taking their career forward.

Strategy is everything.

Why is it that we as women spend our time working out what options we are going to do at the age of 12, which GCSEs to study, and worrying about whether we are taking the right A levels or if we've picked the right university, and then stop planning? We suddenly stop thinking about where our careers are going and what skills we require.

We need to keep route planning and understand that life doesn't stop after university.Your career is your career and it takes strategy and hard work to define it and understand what you need from it, as well as working out where you want to get to.

Yes, networking is crucial but it has to be understood that it is visibility both inside and outside of your organisation that gets recognition, and that means you get so much more out of it on a personal level; career development, contacts and joining new networks.

But this won't work without having a brilliant understanding of your support group around you, which will allow you to build your reputation within your industry, and if you keep on top of it, you can't underestimate the power it will bring you.

Heather Jackson is chief executive and founder of An Inspirational Journey, which aims to tackle the under-representation of women at the top of corporations through collaborative programmes. Jackson spoke at this month's CIPR Equal Access Network discussing women in the boardroom.

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