How to stand out and position yourself for a leadership job

It’s no secret that the corporate world is dominated by white, predominantly male, leaders.

And while new research suggests that the number of black professionals appointed to senior management and executive positions rose by about 10% last year, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s that much harder for black professionals to reach the top than it is for white professionals.

These strategies will help you begin positioning yourself for senior management opportunities at work.

Debbie Goodman-Bhyat, CEO of executive search firm Jack Hammer, says the key to getting yourself noticed at work is all about going back to basics – and that means starting with your qualifications.

“If your undergraduate degree is a general Social Sciences, Arts or general degree, it’s important – if you’re in a junior to mid-level [position] in your career – to start working on another postgraduate, master’s or MBA degree because it adds substance,” she advises.

“It’s important to start planning while you’re working and as you’re starting to rise because you’re going to get to a point when you’re competing with a market of black and white colleagues who have those degrees.”

If you’re a serial job-hopper, yet you want to plan for career progression to a senior management role, then this practice needs to stop – and fast.

According to Goodman-Bhyat, one of the primary reasons suitably qualified, skilled black professionals are often passed over for top jobs is due to excessive job-hopping and an unsustained track record.

There’s no quick fix to getting to the top, but career management is a critical component to achieving this. That’s why it’s important – where possible – to stick it out for at least more than two years.

Staying at a company for several years will allow you the opportunity to build up a tangible track record that your employers won’t be able to ignore.

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