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Being Strategic About Career Development

Another important way women can position themselves better for future growth is to be more strategic in their careers. It may sound obvious, but often the career path stories told in the industry are of serendipitous encounters leading to an opportunity. A more calculated approach goes further.

"You really don't want your career to be an accident," says Maureen Ehrenberg, executive managing director for integrated facilities management at JLL. While it is fantastic when a great opportunity lands in your lap, it is a rare occasion, she says. Instead, she recommends targeting the skills needed for an end-goal position and pursuing job placements that way. "For the most part you do have to be aware of how you're acquiring that skill set," she says. "You have to own it yourself. And while your company can help you and your network can help you, if you're passive about your career, things will just happen. And it won't be a strategy, it will be a series of events."

Included in this strategy is figuring out if you are in the right sector of facilities management. In-house or service provider? Core business or technical services? There are many possible avenues to pursue in facilities management, so it is important to assess your skill set and interest to help gauge if you are in the right sector, says Ehrenberg.

That career path, however, may not be linear, even when it is deliberate. When Sharon Jaye, director of sustainability with the New York City Department of Education, was considering her degree options to grow her career, she didn't want the degree to get in the way of her goals, she says. For example, she has a master's in project management, which she pursued because the skills taught in that degree can be widely applied. "That's why I was interested in that degree, not because I was going to stay in construction forever," Jaye says. "It was going to give me the skills I needed to do whatever I wanted to do." Her doctorate in education and educational leadership was as well a strategic decision to help her acquire the skills she'd need to lead sustainability initiatives in educational institutions, she says.

To read more about career development in facilities management, read this.


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