9 New York Women Share the Game-Changing Advice That Shaped Their Careers

If we had to picture our own personal hell, it would probably involve writing cover letters over and over for eternity. That said, furthering your work life—whether you’re looking for a new job, asking for a raise or building a network—doesn’t have to be as agonizing as you'd think. Here, nine New York women on the career advice they swear by.

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“The one piece of advice I always give: You usually only need to work 5 percent harder to be 100 percent ahead of the people you're competing with. Proofread your résumé, send a thoughtful e-mail (instead of a generic copied-and-pasted note), show up at an interview with proof that you've done even ten minutes of research on the company. Most people do not do these things (really!), and they will set you apart and make the hiring manager or your boss think more highly of you.” - Lauren, editor

“Always be networking, even if you’re not actively looking for a job. Your company could decide to restructure out of nowhere, and on the flip side, the best jobs aren’t going to miraculously show up when you’re desperate—you want to be on people’s minds right when those positions open up.”- Elise, marketing strategist


“Go out for coffee or drinks with as many people in your field as possible. That way, as you start building a reputation, everyone already knows you.” - Mia, urban planner 

“Ask for more money than you think you should, because it’s probably still less than what the junior guy next to you is making.” - Mari, financial analyst 

“When you're negotiating your contract for a new position, remember it goes beyond the salary. You can request more vacation days, the freedom to work from home or the ability to freelance elsewhere. Consider all the things that you find valuable and include them in the negotiating process.” - Darla, reporter

20th Century Fox

“If it’s time to ask for a raise, go in asking for three things. Your boss will probably think about it and give you one of them and think they did a good job negotiating. If you just ask for one thing, it’s a lot easier for them to turn you down.” - Jessica, photographer

"A friend of mine who worked in HR told me once that HR departments exist to protect the company, not the employee. That made me realize that I should always have a contingency plan, no matter what."  - Kim, copywriter


“Everyone fails along the way. The best thing I did was find mentors to normalize my struggles and inspire me to overcome them. My favorite conversations are the ones in which we share our weaknesses. We commiserate, we analyze, we learn. Then we make plans to move on and conquer.” - Lindsay, attorney

“My best advice (that I still tell myself on the reg): Showing up is 90 percent of it. And another woman’s success does not detract from my own. There’s room for all of us at the top.” - Chantal, executive director of an arts foundation

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From 2016-2019 Carolyn Kuang-chen Stanley held the role of Editor covering food, travel and all things nyc.