Ask an Expert: How Do I Advocate for Myself at Work?

by Rachel Montañez

Summary. How do you advocate for yourself at work — especially as a young employee?

  • Start by gaining career clarity. If you’re not clear on what you want, it’s harder to advocate for yourself and ask others to speak up in your absence. So look inward, and think about what you’re good at, what you like, and what type of environment enables you to do your best work.
  • Choose a specific end goal and build a roadmap. Ask yourself: “What am I trying to achieve by speaking up for myself?” You may have several objectives in mind but try to focus on one at a time. Once you’ve identified a goal, start thinking about the steps you need to take to reach it.
  • Develop your confidence. Remember that your energy and presentation can be seen and heard by others. If you believe in yourself, they will be more likely to believe in you too.
  • Find your allies. Who will back you up when you raise your concerns to leadership?
  • Understand your manager’s expectations. It’s important to have an open conversation with your manager to gain clarity around the situation. Start by sharing that you value your leadership’s feedback, and you’re committed to achieving your goals. From there, it’s time to make your ask.
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