Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza decided to do the opposite of everything he would normally do in a last-ditch attempt to get his life right? Well, George may not know much about attracting women, but he may have had the right idea about going against your instincts to achieve your goals. Women who want to get ahead at work might want to take a page from George’s notepad.
According to a report (via jezebel.com) on the Harvard Business Review blog, there’s one thing that women can do to get ahead in their careers—unfortunately it’s the one thing most women are reluctant to do.
That secret technique: active self-promotion.
The suggestion for working women comes out of a fairly discouraging report on gender-employment equity by Catalyst, a non-profit that focuses on issues related to women in business.
After looking at the careers of more than 3,000 male and female professionals, researchers Nancy Carter and Christine Silva concluded that while women work as hard and make themselves as available to their bosses as their similarly ambitious male counterparts they still weren’t as successful as men. In fact, they still lagged significantly behind in terms of compensation and recognition.
Carter and Silva discovered that while both men and women used “proactive strategies” equally, ie, “seeking high-profile assignments, networking with influential leaders, and making their “accomplishments more visible,” men were twice as likely to see that pay off in advancing to the “senior executive/CEO ranks” than women.
But don’t lose hope. The report did identify one technique that did help women advance and make more money. That strategy: tooting your own horn.
Said the study: “Of all the strategies used by women, making their achievements known—by ensuring their manager was aware of their accomplishments, seeking feedback and credit as appropriate, and asking for a promotion when they felt it was deserved—was the only one associated with compensation growth.”
Making sure no one forgets you’re a squeaky wheel with a pretty impressive C.V. isn’t the only thing that helps. The research also identified schmoozing or “proactively networking” with influential higher ups as a winning proposition.
Why do you think women find it more difficult than men to self-promote? Please share your thoughts here.