Advancing to a different level in your career. Learn about skills you need to move up to a specific level (usually referring to the C-Suite) or how to plan and prepare for moving up to a higher position.

In their new book, You Need a Leader - Now What?, James M. Citrin and Julie Hembrock Daum present key skills that hiring organizations need in order to fill leadership positions. Based on decades of experience at AESC member search firm Spencer Stuart, Citrin and Daum offer valuable advice to help organizations assess the benefits of experience versus potential, and also talent from within versus talent from outside, in choosing leaders, all within the context of critical pressures such as technology, diversity, and economic forces.

With growth in the financial services sector expected to lag behind other industries, 2012 may be the ideal year to make an industry transition. There are a number of ways to clarify your career focus and create an effective strategy to achieve your goal:

We recently spoke about the value of trust in business and leadership. Purpose is another essential element that must be present for organizations and leaders to achieve success. Its importance may seem obvious at first, but purpose provides both qualitative and quantitiative value that is often not fully considered.

Circumstances have surely changed for women in the 37 years since I started out in business. With few women blazing trails and no obvious female mentors to rely on, it took a lot of hard work and some luck along the way to establish and grow our firm, Diversified Search.

Now the pendulum has swung, and there are more women leading - and many others in the pipeline for future opportunities. In my role as an entrepreneur building a search business and placing women (and men) in top executive positions, I have had a unique vantage point in some respects. Here are some thoughts that occur to me on key attributes that women should possess in order to succeed in the business world.

After 12 years of executive search experience in Southern & Central Europe, as well as in the Middle East and having interviewed various C-level female executives, I came up with the following suggestions that would enable women to be more successful in business.

Career transition, whether it is a positive or negative change, can present a series of potential obstacles that must be navigated in order to be successful in your new role. Michael Watkins, co-founder of Genesis Advisers, looks at ways in which you can keep this transition as smooth as possible in his book ‘Your Next Move’, exerts of which he discusses in a video discussion with Harvard Business Review.

In honor of the official American Business Women's Day on September 22nd, and the invaluable contributions female executives have made to global business, BlueSteps have launched an 'Executive Women in Business' Initiative for the month of September. We will be featuring content focused on the personal experiences of top female executives and the lessons learned along the way.

Take a look below at the fourth of five BlueSteps members who won a competition to submit their stories of progression as women in business:

Creating a healthy Work/life balance has become an increasingly difficult challenge for executives, and a key issue for HR policy. Now, more than ever, the line between work and personal life has become blurred beyond recognition, to the point that receiving emails from mobile phones and personal computers late at night, at weekends and during vacation time is not only common, but often encouraged.

Even without encouragement from the top, there is a unspoken pressure to remain connected well beyond office hours. The Times of india also shared an interest in this topic, resulting in the below interview with Peter Felix, AESC and BlueSteps President:

Does A Female Who Desires To Move Up Into The Executive Ranks Of A Male-Dominated Organization Have To “Play The [Man’s] Game” In Order To Advance Her Career?

This question was posed to a group of women partners at a PricewaterhouseCoopers Women’s Conference in the early 1990’s. I was one of those women partners and this question forced me to reflect upon my own career track to partner. At that time, women comprised less than 10% of the pwc partners – the senior executive rank of this organization was clearly male-dominated.

A recent LinkedIn update detailed a title change of a contact from Consultant Financial Advisor to Senior Vice President Finance, reminding me of an often forgotten benefit to being a successful consultant – the chance of landing highly coveted executive positions.

Engaging in consulting assignments often features in the careers of senior executives, and as demonstrated above, can result in working relationships that develop into fulltime positions. But is consulting right for you?