Ask @CSuiteCoach:

I'm getting my first professional headshots. Are there any tips I should follow regarding attire and hairstyle? I'm a female. Thanks

Shimere ballou
Do you have a personal mission statement or brand guide? Your headshot should reflect how you want to be perceived. For example, if part of your personal mission involves contributing by being a creative, a traditional suit is likely not the right attire. If you are focused on more conservative environments (e.g. finance, government, consulting), you may want to avoid bright colors and also may want to show less skin (e.g. arms covered, no low-cut tops).
Furthermore, your headshot should be consistent with how you usually plan to show up. People who see your headshot should not be confused when they meet you in real life. Be consistent in your hairstyle and your overall personal style!
How will you be using these headshots? For LinkedIn? For booking speaking engagements? For a personal website? Plan to look like yourself. Makeup and a manicure, hair professionally done, etc. are all fine, but really stay true to what you will look like most consistently.

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How do you confidently take a seat at the table when you're the most junior person on your team?

Contribute and add value. The great part of recognizing that you are more junior is that you are likely very humble and are willing to put in the hard work to learn as much as you can and figure out how you can best be an asset to your team. On the otherhand, there are ample examples of "junior" people having significant impact. Elaine Welteroth of Teen Vogue was 29 before she became editor. Mo from Mo's Bows (shark tank) is 15 and has sold over $200k in product. Who is making your "junior-ness" an issue? You or your team? A good remedy and either case is to contribute effectively and make sure that you are doing what it takes to add value to your team! This can definitely help build your confidence too!

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I don't like my boss but I like my job and company what should I do?

What don't you like about your boss? Is it simply a personality clash or are there deeper issues? What, if anything, have you done to try to make the relationship work? If you feel like you really exhausted all options, start to network throughout your company. Join an employee resource group if any exist. Volunteer for community day. Anything that will get you more facetime with others in your company.
Take stick of your transferable skills. Start thinking about how you can apply those skills in other groups that have leadership that really excites you!

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I am currently applying for a promotion at my current job and have been here for 26 years. I haven't updated my resume of written a cover letter in over 20 years. Can you give advice on this?

Well first, congratulations! Asking for more responsibility and growth is always a big step! Applying is to be celebrated. Second, if you are internal, are you sure these tools are required? They may not be, so ask if there is a different process for internal hires.
If you need this materials, start by looking at the job description.
What are some key words and themes that are highlighted? How can you align your experience to date with what's required? Start by listing EVERYTHING you've done for company and everything relevant outside of it. Then scale it down to the core details needed.
If you are really struggling with format and technique, consider a resume/cover letter service to help give you a second eye and critical feedback. If you went to college, your career center might offer this type of service for free. Do some digging!

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#BlackWomenAtWork is currently trending on twitter, and looking at some of the scenarios makes me wonder how I would respond and what would be the right way to react in that situation. What are your suggestions?

Dealing with some of these situations is incredibly difficult and can be mentally draining. What are you doing to take care of yourself. You need to be emotionally healthy to stay calm if your situations are like any of the ones I read on the #. Decide what needs to be addressed and what doesn't. What can you let roll off your back?
Make an effort to stay focused on you, your goals, your performance and your path. Consider joining a community, for when you need to vent or need more resources.
We interviewed some experts and wrote about this very topic...Check it out. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/58dbbe0fe4b0f087a3041e81

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I'm thinking about switching careers but I don't know where to start or who to talk to. Should I reach out to my mentor or a career coach?

Yay!! I'm glad you have a mentor. That's a good start. So is a career coach! Before you even go there though, do you have clarity on what you want to switch to (and why)? The grass isn't always greener and there are real hardships even when you are in your dream job. make sure you are clear on what is motivating the switch.
Then, DO YOUR RESEARCH. That includes googling that potential career path, looking on LinkedIn to see who you are connected to that has your dream new role and reading their profiles to get an idea of their experiences, as well as asking them for informational interviews.
Is the switch you are looking to make common? Will you need new need credentials or training? What transferable skills have you gathered in your current field that you can take to your next role?
Collect all the info that you can and then work with both your mentor and coach to strategize for how you will make this switch as seamlessly as possible.

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I want to be included in more projects and meetings at work, how do you recommend I go about asking to be included?

Hi there! First, what is holding you back? (e.g. a trust issue with a manager; your newness in the role; a lack of understanding around the company culture/expectations; personal fears and insecurities) The answer will vary in each of those scenarios, but the one thing that fits all I'd want to know is have you ASKED? If so, what was the reaction? If you haven't, well now is the time.
If it's about speaking up in meetings, you may not even have to ask, you may be expected to just contribute if you have something to say. So give that a try.
If it's about being simply invited, try a convo with your manager about bringing you to meetings where your work is involved. This might be more beneficial for everyone. Remember how Katherine in "Hidden Figures" was able to solve problems more effectively when she had context from attending meetings? Maybe you can make that case!
As it relates to more leadership on projects, chat with your boss and team about your skills and expertise and how you can best contribute when you are included more!
I encourage you to boil down to what is preventing you from participating fully, because your voice needs to be heard at work. Your coworkers need to see you as a potential leader and know the value you bring. They can't do that if you aren't stepping up and speaking up!!! (Coach A)

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