07/03/2017 08:26 GMT | Updated 07/03/2018 05:12 GMT

International Women's Day 2017 - Six Ways To #BeBoldForChange In Your Career

The theme for International Women's Day 2017 is #BeBoldForChange - a clarion call to everyone to help forge a more inclusive, gender equal working world.

We all need to be involved in bringing change to the perception of women's equality in society and workplace across all cultures and identities. It's estimated the gender pay gap will exist until 2186 and that's just too far away - after all, gender equality in the workplace improves the lives of everyone, everywhere.

We all need to take action to reach parity long before then.

It was revealed in January that the gender pay gap has now fallen to 5% for women aged 20-29 in the UK. However, they will still earn significantly less as the gap widens after they turn 30, and the gap will be nearly 30% by the time they hit their mid-40s. Basically, we still have a big problem right now.

So what can you do to be the catalyst for change? To do your own bit to close the gender pay gap?

Here are my six tips...

Image: Pixabay

Ask for a pay rise

This might seem obvious, but if you don't ask, you don't get. Do your homework beforehand, but remember it's just a conversation with another person.

Make sure you get the timing right - don't ask too soon after your last increase.

This is a sales pitch, so justify why you deserve one. Outline your strengths, contributions, what their return on investment (ROI) will be and whether you will you take on extra work, more projects and extra hours. Get all your points about your performance and how you've met or surpassed your targets in writing clearly so it can be passed up the chain if necessary.

Research what's appropriate. Don't ask for something unprecedented for your role - be realistic.

As women, we're very good at knowing what we can't do. Men are brilliant blaggers at work, and we've got to start matching them. Think positively, be proud of your achievements and be confident in selling yourself.

Most successful women I speak to also suffer from impostor syndrome - a nagging self-doubt that they don't deserve to be where they are. This is part of the reason why we don't ask for pay rises often enough. Shake away that self-doubt. You are great and can deliver - believe it!

Image: Pixabay

Rewrite your CV

Allow yourself a good eight to 10 hours to get this right. Instead of just editing your old CV, start with a blank canvas.

Rather than a list of jobs and job descriptions, your CV should be a marketing document with you as the product.

Your CV needs to demonstrate why you should be bought AND what sets you apart from all the other products on the market. What's your angle? How will you surpass all the other candidates?

Think about challenges faced by yourself, your team or your business and how you overcame them. Think about initiatives and ideas you've had and their outcome, projects you've led, clients won and impacts you've had on the bottom line. These are all things that make you valuable - your key selling points.

Then use your new CV to apply for a better role internally or get a new job completely - often the best way to get a rise is to change employers.

Image: Pixabay

Get better at promoting yourself

Women need to be better at using assertive communication and articulating their values and strengths to others.

Share your ideas, make it clear they are yours and take credit for your achievements in a way that illustrates tangible business outcomes. Always contribute in meetings with relevant, constructive, on-point comments.

Collaborate with like-minded people who are working towards similar goals and help your work colleagues - if you have a lull, don't just sit there scrolling through your Facebook feed. Ask colleagues if they need help with anything. Being a team player is a great asset and it's always nice to have a few folk onside who owe you favours. Plus, more people will get to know how brilliant you are.

Image: Pixabay

Be organised

Plan well. Make timetables, schedules or lists of tasks you need to complete. Not only will this mean you'll be less stressed, it will help you pace your workload so you don't end up rushing projects and submitting sub-standard work.

Use positive body language

Standing up straight and making eye contact with people suggests a positive, confident attitude and can help land you that raise.

Dress to impress for success

You need to look the part. It makes a huge difference to how people perceive you at work - not just your boss, but everyone you come into contact with, from colleagues through to clients and senior management.

This isn't about wearing the latest expensive high fashion or demanding you wear heels and a skirt, but simply making sure you have clean, smart clothes and shoes.

In fact, it's a good idea to wear clothes that give you the air you've already got that raise. Sort your wardrobe and that raise could be in the bag...