Being a Black woman in corporate America often means being the only Black woman in the room. For Black women, this uncomfortable reality comes with its own rules to success that force an unfair standard of excellence.
Over time, progress has been made to support women of color within the workplace, but plenty of work still needs to be done. Nevertheless, Black women can feel empowered in their careers by owning who they are and making their voices heard. Here are four tips on how Black women can advance their careers:
In many instances at work, Black women bring unique skills and value because of their diverse personal experiences. By speaking up and letting yourself be heard, you can spark a meaningful conversation that affects great change. Black women’s personal experiences give way to ideas that are both innovative and transformative.
At work, Black women have been misjudged for their hair, the way they speak, and dress. Over time, it’s all built up fear around being their authentic selves, so they often come to work masking who they truly are. As a Black woman, being true to who you are is the surest way to advance your career. Embracing every part of you will not only earn you more respect, but it will give you the confidence you need to build a sustainable career.
As a Black woman, setting career goals early on will help you in the long run. By developing a goal-oriented mindset, you’ll be able to power through day-to-day hardships at work because you’ll gain the confidence needed to do your job and do it well. When you look around and see that you’re the only Black woman in the room, let it empower you to be the best version of yourself, and set a goal to create a space for more women of color to lead and be comfortable at work.
Having moral support in the workplace is critical to the career success of Black women. Mentors can be anyone who models the level of success you wish to achieve in your career. While they don’t have to be other Black women, it is important that they understand the struggles you face as a woman of color in the workplace.
Whether you’re beginning your career or are making a career change, these keys to success can help you advance your career as a Black woman while empowering you to be your authentic self. No matter what level of success you strive for as a Black woman, it’s important to remember that focus, determination, and authenticity are the things you need to build a sustainable career.