Strategies For Workplace Success: Confidence, Connecting, And Advocating

Millions of women across the country are building careers in today's workplace, but that does not mean that there are not still numerous challenges that many face as they look for success and opportunity. Sexism is still an issue in many work environments and female employees often need to do more than their male counterparts in order to achieve success. The glass ceiling is still an issue for many who are looking to rise up in the ranks, but there are some key strategies available from those who have already traveled this path that can lay the groundwork for success.

As Live Career notes, women are finding success in the corporate world, but issues of pay inequality and a lack of advancement opportunities continue to remain obstacles for many young women in the workplace. Despite these continuing challenges, experts do have a number of recommendations detailing how female employees can break through the barriers.

Embracing opportunities for education and connecting with others is key

Those who embrace the opportunity for as much training and education as they can get may well stand out and increase their odds for gaining significant career opportunities to advance at work. Many companies provide additional training or reimbursement for continuing one's education and the wise working woman will look for chances to focus on transferable skills that can help procure advancement possibilities not only at one's current company, but elsewhere in the future as well.

Developing strong interpersonal skills is critical for young women in today's workplace, as connecting with others and managing to stand out in positive ways are key for advancement. Networking is essential, and many experts point out that connecting with experienced female leaders who can act as mentors should be a top priority for young women beginning in their careers.

Exuding confidence makes a big impact

It is not uncommon for women to hold back in promoting themselves and their achievements in the workplace, sometimes being reserved in order to avoid labels like being perceived as being aggressive or bossy. However, experts do recommend some key strategies that can help young women stand out with confidence.

As Market Wired shares, communications expert Kimberly Gerber suggests some simple changes that can help to build up a positive image. For example, women may embrace posture shifts that exude confidence by facing audiences head-on and bending forward slightly from the waist. Looking others in the eye while communicating is critical and it can be helpful to set aside any anxiousness by focusing on the message that is being projected rather than the people who are listening.

Unfortunately, women frequently find themselves needing to strike a balance when it comes to assertiveness more often that what men typically face. Sexism is still all too common in varying aspects in the workplace and as the New Yorker details, this often comes to the forefront during negotiations. Women who are assertive in negotiating job offers, for example, seem to be dismissed or penalized more often than men, and this type of experience is frequently visible in other workplace aspects as well.

Be ready with solutions and be your own best advocate

While sexism is a very real problem in many work environments, and finding a balance when it comes to being assertive can be difficult, young women who want to advance and break the glass ceiling would do well to be aware of these issues and be strategic in how they are addressed. Women who are ultimately successful in their careers work at becoming comfortable with pointing out their assets and successes and do not shy away from advocating for themselves. It is wise to be prepared with solutions to problems and connect with others as much as possible.

Advancing in the workplace is not a guaranteed path for women, as breaking through the glass ceiling can still be difficult to make happen. However, young women entering the workforce these days can find opportunities and success with a strong focus and determination. Experts recommend looking for mentors, connecting with others, and building skill sets in order to stand out. Many women find themselves having to do things differently than what male counterparts may do, but success is achievable with some strategic moves and focus.

Author:  Gloria Martinez  I think it’s important to celebrate women-dominated industries. I created WomenLed.org to educate people about the many women-led achievements that have shaped our world.

5 Steps to a Better Career

Figure out what you're good at

Each one of us has a unique combination of strengths, skills, and talents. But because it's hard to view ourselves objectively, we often have many more marketable qualities than we give ourselves credit for. Studies show that we most enjoy doing things we're good at, so when we take the time to figure out our skill set, we're well on our way to finding a job that excites and stimulates us.

Here are five steps to uncover your hidden strengths:

Step 1: Review Your Education and Experience

Your resume will give you an excellent snapshot of your education and previous experience. Since it probably doesn't include every job you've ever had -- for the purposes of this exercise only -- add them. Under each position, write down what you did each day, even if they were simple duties. Do the same for any volunteer work and/or hobbies. You can often find transferable skills in the most menial of tasks.

Step 2: Note the Skills Required for Each

Skills typically fall into four categories:

1. Communication and people skills - expressing yourself well, teaching others, relaying ideas, actively listening, and persuading.

2. Research & planning skills - identifying issues, brainstorming potential solutions, and setting goals.

3. Leadership & management skills - delegating and supervising others, motivating people, making decisions under pressure.

4. Knowledge-based skills - speaking another language or having substantial technical knowledge.

Write down the top three skills you needed for each job, hobby, and volunteer activity. Did your previous work as an office manager require strong organizational and planning skills? When you worked in sales, did your powers of persuasion help you rise to the top? Did your time volunteering at a pet adoption centre demand a lot of energy and compassion? Don't worry if you find yourself writing down the same skills for different roles -- you'll most likely see some overlap.

Step 3: Add Things You're Good At

Think about the activities you show a natural aptitude for. Are you the person everyone just assumes will plan the next get-together? Do other people complain about balancing their checkbooks, while you handle yours with ease? Really think about what comes easily and naturally to you. People often take their innate gifts and talents for granted and assume everyone else possesses them too, when in reality that's not always the case.

Do certain people compliment you over and over? Do they admire your hard-working attitude, your dependability or punctuality, or even how well you dress? Did past managers consistently praise you for having innovative ideas or achieving goals?

Remind yourself about any major difficulties or hardships you've overcome in the past. Potential employers love to see transferable strengths, such as determination and perseverance, in candidates.

Step 4: Ask Other People
Your co-workers, friends, and family, and even your boss can recognize strengths and capabilities you don't see on your own. Ask them for the first three qualities that come to mind when they think of you.

Step 5: Look for Similarities
Now that you have a full list of strengths to work from, group your skills together under common headings. For example, coordinating meetings at work, putting together your family reunion, and planning a neighbourhood party all fall under the umbrella of strong event-planning and organizational skills.

After you complete these steps, you'll have a much better sense of your skill set, which you can then use to effectively market yourself to potential employers. A great way to showcase your talents is to highlight an issue or problem you faced in the past, show how you used your skills and strengths to solve it, and then explain the end result (i.e. an increase in numbers or any quantifiable, successful outcome).

Once you understand the full scope of your knowledge, talents, and expertise, finding a job that meshes your skill set with your interests becomes much easier. You'll not only be more fulfilled, you'll also be more productive and command a higher salary. So, take time to figure out all you have to offer.

Author: Brooke Betts