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Why Young Women Should Consider Sponsors for Career Advancement [Guest Post]

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Why Young Women Should Consider Sponsors for Career Advancement

When it comes to advancing in your career, doing it alone may seem a little daunting or even scary. This could be especially true if you are new to the job market, returning to civilian life, or embarking upon a brand new career. It is always a good idea to have someone in your corner to help you along the path to success, and a sponsor could be just the push and motivation you need. According to Forbes, a sponsor is “a more aggressive cousin of mentorship, involving advocating for the advancement of high-potential individuals in their careers.” In other words, a sponsor is someone who will put their reputation on the line to advocate for you.

Consider the Stats

When deciding whether or not finding a sponsor is the right career move, take a look at the stats. According to research conducted by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI), 68 percent of sponsored women feel that they are advancing in their career at a steady and satisfactory pace compared with 57 percent of their unsponsored peers.

The research also showed that sponsors have a positive effect on pay raises and leadership

 roles. When asking for a raise, 70 percent of women didn’t feel comfortable approaching their bosses. In comparison, with a sponsor, 38 percent of women felt comfortable making the request. As for getting placed in a high-visibility team or a position of leadership, only 36 percent of women said they felt comfortable approaching their boss about the opportunity. With the backing of a sponsor, 44 percent of women took the plunge and asked for the promotion.

How Are Sponsors Beneficial?

A sponsor is your advocate for success as you move up the corporate ladder, but what exactly can they do for you? According to The Balance, sponsors can actively put your name in the ring when an opening is available that matches your skills, experience, and abilities, and personally contact the decision-maker who has the authority to say “yes” to the opportunity or promotion for which you are being considered. Consider your sponsor to be your reference.

Sponsors also have the connections to match you up with others who can help you make progress. In addition, a sponsor has likely been in your shoes at point or another in their career, so they can serve as a toolbox of advice, tips, and personal experience. Take advantage of this and learn from their experience to create your own.

Think of the relationship with your sponsor as a strategic partnership. In an interview for a Monster article, Steve Lanegerud says that the “role of sponsor is to ask what you can do for an employer, not what can be done to develop you as a person and/or professional.” He also notes, “The focus is on creating, demonstrating and leveraging work product that can be used to position you for advancement either internally or externally.” In this strategic partnership, your sponsor takes an active role in your career advancement, and helps you to become more visible.

Qualities to Look for in a Sponsor

It is important to know what qualities to be on the lookout for when trying to find a sponsor. Your fellow colleagues are great, but your sponsor needs to be someone with influence and power. CoreAxis describes the qualities of a good sponsor as being trustworthy and having a “thorough understanding of an organization’s culture and tacit rules.”

When looking for a sponsor, The Balance suggests seeking out opportunities to interact with people in senior positions, so consider joining networking or professional groups in your organization or field. Individuals in your family and friendship circles who have influence in the field you are in or desire to be in will be helpful too. Don’t be afraid to approach them and simply ask to have coffee and pick their brain. Who knows what might become of it – maybe a sponsorship.

Author: Gloria Martinez

Womenled.org

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