Women – whether at the onset of their career search or striving toward the next level of career seniority – must exhibit confidence in their ideas and convictions in order to achieve professional success. Leveraging experience and insight in a competitive marketplace affords women of all levels the opportunity to further enhance their careers.

These topics have generated great discussion in recent months and challenge women in today’s workforce to exhibit the will to lean forward and engage in a career in which we find ourselves fully vested.

As an executive recruiter in the manufacturing industry, born on the cusp of Generations X and Y, I have experienced first-hand the different phases of career progression that women encounter. Having worked with numerous female candidates, I have identified some common communication themes ― whether with a 25-year-old professional with four years experience or a seasoned candidate at the director-level looking to take the next step. Albeit each with different experiences, similarities run throughout.

In consideration of these repeated themes, here are three ways women – regardless of their level – can advocate, communicate and negotiate their way to continued career success:

Set the tone during an interview or review – When a question is posed, answer with conviction. Avoid presenting a waffling answer that offers an option, indicating you could sway in your belief. Take a risk in answering the question – whether right or wrong. By doing so, you give the hiring manager the impression that you are prepared to make decisions. In turn, the interview team will feel more secure about their decision to hire you. When the company needs you to take initiative, you’ll be able to do so.

Similarly, as you pursue a promotion within your organization, express your ambition to further leverage your commitment and position within the company. It is of utmost importance that you voice your goals to senior executives and establish an upward path to continued success. No one else will do it for you.

Communicate your accomplishments – Don’t downplay your achievements or your involvement on a project for fear you come across as blowing your own trumpet. Acknowledge and communicate your strengths, responsibilities and successes with clarity and dignified pride. Self-promotion is a critical component to the progression of your career. Talk about what you do well and the goals you have reached – this is how HR or upper management will know you deserve the job or promotion you seek.

Negotiate your worth – Women are less likely to negotiate salary, promotions and advancement opportunities than their male counterparts. Break that mold. Through careful preparation, the negotiation process can be a successful, advantageous and rewarding element to your career. Hiring managers are often prepared to negotiate from the starting figure and will leave themselves room to do so. Remain firm in your convictions that you are the best qualified candidate for the position and that you deserve to be in that particular role. Advocate for yourself and keep your accomplishments and skillset front and center.

Likewise, as you present a request for promotion, include not only your past successes, but your future potential also, including specifically how you can further advance the company. Research the salary range for similar positions within the industry and demonstrate the value you offer in a competitive market. Don’t wait to be recognized; ask for that promotion.

Whether you are interviewing for your first job or moving toward the director level, recognize your abilities to set yourself apart from the competition. I welcome your feedback and ideas as to how you have found success in advocating for yourself, communicating your accomplishments and negotiating a salary offer or promotion.

Let’s talk about this, let’s embrace the dialogue.