In a country where the female workforce is steadily outpacing the number of men in the business world, Pinays have a unique opportunity to excel and be recognized, no matter what industry they are in. Holding strong in more traditional careers such as those involved in education and retail, women are also rising to executive positions that were once deemed out of reach beyond the glass ceiling.

Career-driven Pinays are now faced with more prospects than ever before, and many balance productive work lives with meaningful personal pursuits. Mind these tips while you climb the corporate ladder and you may just find that it is possible to have it all.

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Plan your career. Ladies who know where they want to go fresh out of school have a distinct advantage over those who start later, simply because they have more time to put in climbing the corporate ladder. Graduates who stick with a specific industry may start at entry-level positions and work their way up to executive levels, gaining expertise and knowledge in their respective industries as they go along. However, that doesn’t mean those who start late can’t get far. Today’s workplace is more flexible, focusing on skills that are applicable across industries, and allowing quick advances as long as the necessary skills are present. In either case, a long-term plan mapping out the positions one plans to progress through and their corresponding skills is important. This allows you to assess the whether there are promising growth opportunities within the companies you join, and lets you go for roles that will provide the skills and exposure necessary for the next step in your climb.

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Remember your network. Networking is more than just handing out cards at cocktail parties. It’s knowing which people to bring together to achieve specific results. All of us have networks that we can put to work for us, but remember to tap your network regularly, not just when you need something for yourself. You may have a classmate from high school who works in a company that needs a supplier that you can recommend. In bringing these people together, you establish yourself as a resourceful person who works well with others. That supplier may just introduce you to your next big account or a future boss.

Rise to the challenge. To paraphrase the Bible, to those who have, much is given. Keep the same mindset when you work! Don’t be content with your usual tasks or stick within your assigned role. A good way to expand your horizons is to volunteer for projects and challenges that will help you learn more in your field and gain more skills. Make sure that you don’t overburden yourself, however. A few extra projects connected to your current responsibilities will expand your knowledge, but avoid volunteering for full-blown undertakings that will leave no time to deal with your own responsibilities.

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Watch your financial health. Investing in the stock market or in your own business can be challenging and financially rewarding. It can also relieve you of the pressure to work to survive, which means you can treat your career as a means to improve yourself and find ways to help your company grow instead of as part of the daily grind to earn a living. Too many professionals who have huge paychecks are actually living a hand-to-mouth existence because they are living outside their means or have never established their savings and an alternative source of income. It doesn’t matter how well you performed in your company if that company has to close. If you unexpectedly lose your job—for whatever reason—a financial security net eases the pressure while you look for other opportunities. The job market may be flexible, but it can also be unstable, and a smart career woman recognizes this and prepares for it.

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Maintain a balance. We all know what too much work and no play does to Jack, and it will do the same to Jill as well. Focusing too much on your career at the expense of your personal interests and social relationships rapidly leads to burnout. Have a lot of interests and hobbies to stay balanced, and make sure you have time for social visits as well as spiritual pursuits. Taking a break every so often means you can come back to your career focused, energized, ready and raring to go!

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