Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, Chief Strategy Officer at investment platform Blend Network is used to finding solutions when the going gets tough. Here, she shares her five ‘golden rules’ for turning challenges into opportunities for female graduates.
Let’s tackle the elephant in the room: following the COVID-19 pandemic, the world faces the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. UK economic output fell by 20% in Q2, the worst quarterly slump on record, pushing the country into the deepest recession of any major global economy.
So, it is fair to say that as a young female graduate entering the job market right now, you will face many challenges. But what I’d like to convince you of over the next paragraphs is that you can and must turn these challenges into opportunities. To do so, I am digging deep into my own experiences to give you five ‘golden rules’ for turning challenges into opportunities as a woman and seeing challenges as a blessing in disguise.
Ask yourself what you want
This starts with being really honest with yourself and reflecting on some simple questions: what is it that you want to achieve in your career? Money? Career progression? A combination? Whatever your career priorities, have a clear vision backed by defined plans. Draw up a plan of what you want to achieve and by when. Visualise your career.
Smash the box
Some say think outside the box; I’ll go one step further and recommend to smash that box. Times of crisis such as the present time oblige having plans A through to Z. Plan A fails? Go for plan B. Plan B flops? Go for plan C. I once read a quote that really resonated with me: don’t go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Have many plans and be prepared to switch to a new plan if your initial plan collapses.
Don’t go it alone
I learned very early on in my career that ‘your network is your net worth’ and I always like to remind people of how important networking is, now more than ever before. Allow me to illustrate this point in a very visual manner. When you apply for a role and send your CV to the company’s HR team, your CV is just one in a pile of tens, possibly hundreds CV. When someone in the company refers you, your CV will go recommended and given more notice, therefore increasing your chances of landing an interview to demonstrate your skills.
I like a twist on the old quote ‘the day we stop learning is the day we die.’ To me, the day we stop facing challenges is the day we die. Therefore, I would encourage everyone to remember that every challenge and every adversity contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth. To me, some of the best personal and professional opportunities emerged after a setback following challenging times when I was almost up against a wall. The reason is simple: when the going gets tough we tend to find solutions because we have to.
I am a great believer in taking a step back to be able to see the bigger picture, make a strategic plan and coolly advance towards your target. I like the old saying ‘plan your work and work your plan.’ It is very easy to fall into a circle of stress, negativity and hopelessness, yet approaching every situation from a rational and strategic perspective has always worked best for me. Always remember: a goal without a plan is just a wish.