Be Your Own Self-Advocate!

Mizzou has embraced the NACE Career Competencies, eight skills that are critical for students to be “career ready”, that is successful once they graduate and enter the workforce. One of those competencies is Career Management, which means students take a proactive role in defining, shaping and pursuing their career goals.

One key aspect of managing your career goals is the idea of self-advocacy.  It’s important that you understand how to self-advocate for opportunities in the workplace.  So what does self-advocacy look like on the job?  

  • Mentorship: Finding a mentor as an intern or new, full-time professional is a wonderful way to help you be successful. Whether or not the employer has an official mentorship program, seek out people who are willing to help and lend advice. And wile you ask questions and get their counsel, be sure to show your appreciation.
  • Training & Professional Development: A great way to advocate for yourself is to get further training or education related to your career/profession. Ask supervisors about classes or training sessions and look for options offered by Mizzou, your employer and community groups (e.g., Chamber of Commerce).
  • Professional Associations: Most career paths have associations that advance their profession and its interests.  These organizations often provide training and certifications, news, research and resources. Many offer free or reduced-cost student memberships as well. Joining is great idea and an employer may even pay for your membership fees or provide access to some of its resources. You can search for a directory professional associations here.
  • Communicate:  Sometimes advocacy is simply about communicating what you need! Is something unclear about a work project? Do you want more challenging work? Is there a new computer software you want to learn or skills you’d like to develop?  It cannot hurt to ask! Supervisors always appreciate people who are wanting to do their best and learn new skill so likely they will try and accommodate those requests.

These are just a few ways you can advocate for yourself. And whether or not you have part-time job or internship, consider how you can seek out mentors, training and professional associations and better communicate with those around you, to gain more wisdom and skills as your pursue your career goals.