Becoming established in the business world can still be a challenge for women. While women face an uphill battle in the business industry, all hope isn’t lost. High level company appointments and partnerships with major firms are possible if you have a can-do attitude and operate strategically. It is also imperative for businesswomen to identify what their unique challenges are. Here are the five things that every woman in the business world should consider if their plan is to conquer the industry.
1. Look for Companies that Take a Strong Stance on Equality
Want to move up in the ranks of your company? First, you have to be sure that you are working in an environment that supports women, minorities, the disabled, and other marginalized groups, both in the workspace and in their private lives. Look at who is being promoted around you. Keep track of all company job postings and make sure that you put your hat in the ring regularly, when appropriate. In order to do well in the business world, you have to be willing to put yourself out there. And if you are employed by a company that is dedicated to promoting equality and fair representation of all people, you will get the opportunity to move upward in your career.
2. Know What Your Skills are and Believe in Yourself
Do you know what primary trait interviewers look for in job candidates? The answer is simple – it’s confidence. Having the unique ability to show, tell, and demonstrate your positive points and sell yourself to prospective employers is invaluable. Female socialization and societal norms generally denote that women remain demure and humble, but in the business world, you simply have to break free of those self-imposed restrictions. Talk about your accolades, your awards, education, and accomplishments. Speak candidly about how you aided employers in succeeding and meeting goals in their industries. It might feel like bragging at first, but the more you practice, the more natural it will come to you. Being able to speak the truth is crucial, so go through your career history with a fine-toothed comb and don’t ever hold back when it comes to describing what you are capable of.
3. Beef Up Your Education Credentials
Things in the business world are constantly evolving, from business law to computer systems and programs, advertising methods to healthcare standards. As such, you need to be knowledgeable and stay aware of what the most up to date systems, methods, and general business practices are.
As a professional working woman in the business world, you can simply take some online classes to beef up your knowledge or you can enroll in a degree program. Online classes are the best bet for busy professionals, as they can be scheduled conveniently and don’t require students to make a trip to a physical campus. For example, let’s say that you’re working in healthcare administration but you want to move to a higher up position. According to this article, the sector is expected to grow by 14% over the next eight years, so there should definitely be more management positions available. To be in with a better chance of securing a job, now is the time to take further education to boost your resume. This applies to all industries, but especially those where high growth is expected.
4. Have a Firm Handle on Your Family Life
Family should always come first, even for those looking to have long and fruitful careers in the business industry. Know what your company’s policy is on parental leave, have a back-up babysitter in place, and know when contact HR if a complication arises. Women are usually tapped to be the primary caregivers in their family, whether it comes to raising children or caring for elderly parents. Unfortunately, companies can have unrealistic expectations of their staff when it comes to maintaining a health home-work life balance. Don’t be afraid to go up the chain of command and make a formal grievance if your personal situation is not handled with decorum and tact. There are too many companies that offer flexibility in the form of work from home positions and extended leave of absence to feel like you have to choose between your career and taking care of your family life.
5. Network Continuously
Consider how many industry related conferences you have attended as of late. Have you stayed in contact with fellow alumni, or joined any local professional women’s groups? To stay in the know and remain aware of new opportunities, you have to continuously network with your peers. Realize that going out and simply attending these events will give you access to a wealth of information. When you network, you get to learn about news opportunities before they become widely known. You get the inside track to jobs before they are officially posted. By networking, you get to interact with people who are just as hungry in their careers, all while getting to socialize and carry-on casual, every day conversations.
5. Keep Your Resume Polished
If you are consistently on the lookout for bigger and better opportunities in the business world, then you have to be ready to strike when the iron is hot. Look over your resume, update it whenever you land a promotion or gain new job-related responsibilities. Add any additional degrees or certifications you have earned, and last but not least, ensure that your contact information is up to date. Resumes don’t have to come in fancy fonts or be printed on expensive paper. In fact, it is best to keep a copy saved on your computer so that you can email it or print it out as soon as you learn of a new opportunity. To be prepared to act fast, you have to possess a clean, updated, easily accessible resume at all times.
Women in the business world succeed when they don’t take no for an answer. Yes, they will always have a unique set of challenges that await them, but being able to overcome adversities can make all of your career-related accomplishments all the more rewarding. Talk to other women in your industry, take notes on who is going places, and be ready, willing, and able to do an elevator pitch and sell yourself on the spot. You never know where the next opportunity to become a star in the business industry is going to come from.