Career Advancement Tips

These are key strategies for career success contributed by OWIMS speakers and board members.

While not every tip may apply to you, women faculty have found the following tactics helpful as they seek career advancement.

  • Keep a file folder just for your CV - when you don't have time to update, place papers, etc. in folder - when you do have the time to update, everything will be there.
  • Update your CV regularly with materials from file.
  • Advocate for yourself.
  • Keep department chair informed of your accomplishments – begin early on.
  • Schedule an appointment with your chair once a year/bring your self-assessment.
  • Identify a niche that you are passionate about and focus your attention on this area; build recognition & make your mark.
  • Accept invitations to give a talk – important for junior faculty, helps build a national reputation.
  • Find good mentors and sponsors who champion your work.
  • Never give an answer right away.
  • Ok to say no.
  • You can’t do everything – aim to achieve a balance in work/life.
  • Hire people to help you at home if possible.
  • Exercise – have fun.
  • Pick your partner well.
  • Have a timetable for promotion – work with your chair and/or division chief on this.
  • Ask someone if you can be on a committee -- volunteer.
  • Consult the departmental promotions committee (e.g. member or chair).
  • You need to network. Go about asking people who you know how you can advance. Being strategic is the key -- people have to know you; be active; participate and follow through.
  • Say "yes" to the right things.
  • Consider working part-time. It is a viable option which allows for flexibility. It can be done.
  • There are different approaches on how to move forward on one's career path.
  • Consider alternative ways to build a national reputation, i.e., getting on an editorial board of a journal.
  • "Sisterhood" is powerful.
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Mentorship
    - think outside your department
    - re-connect with former colleagues
  • Create a helpful business card - list all titles not just academic - brag a little.
  • Have a "CV expert" in your department review your CV.
  • Anything worth doing is worth publishing.
  • If you go to a meeting - make yourself known.
  • Write for 30 minutes a day.
  • Self-confidence to say "NO" but not too much.
  • Set aside time and reserve energy for outside activities.
  • Arrange regular meetings with mentors.
  • Discuss specific goals with your mentor - What do you want to accomplish this year?
  • Market yourself and find someone to mentor you for promotion.
  • Review your calendar periodically - does it reflect your priorities?
  • It is important to "take up space".
  • Review others CVs or grants.
  • Have a letter ready when asking someone to nominate you for an award.
  • Take advantage of professional development seminars (e.g. AAMC Early and Mid-Career Faculty Professional Development Seminars).
  • Look at the BioMed faculty web pages - and research pages. This is a great resource to see the attributes of others.
  • Encourage women faculty in each department to form informal support/mentoring networks and include women residents/trainees too.
  • Read "Composing a Life" by Mary Catherine Bateson.
  • Appreciate the positive.
  • You need to put yourself forward. Don't wait to be asked. Also if a response is not what you had planned for, don't take it personally. Ask again.

Helpful books:
Women Don’t Ask:  The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation.
Linda Babcock, Sara Laschever. (2007) Bantam Books.

Ask For It: How Women Can Use the Power of Negotiation to Get What They Really Want.  Linda Babcock, Sara Laschever.  (2008) Bantam Books.

The Physicians Comprehensive Guide to Negotiating.  SEAK Publishers (2007)

The $16,819 Pay Gap For Newly Trained Physicians: The Unexplained Trend Of Men Earning More Than Women. Anthony T. Lo Sasso, Michael R. Richards, Chiu-Fang Chou and Susan E. Gerber.  Health Affairs, 30, no.2 (2011):193-201

OWIMS Library
OWIMS has its own library and members of the BioMed community are welcome to borrow our books. We own titles relevant to women in science and medicine and we are glad to share! Visit us at 233 Richmond Street, Room 240.

Web resources

Office of BioMed Faculty Administration

Office of Women in Medicine and Science

Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs