Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, working women juggled a full day’s work and physically-draining household chores. Irrespective of the advice for career strategies for women are on the internet, growing in career for women was always an uphill battle. Only 85 women are promoted to a manager for every 100 men promoted to the same position. On the other hand, women hold only 38% of managerial positions, a stark contrast to the men’s 62%.
The latest results from a McKinsey study that surveyed 600 companies find that 1 in 4 women consider “downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce”. It attributes the reason to be the uncertainties brought on by the pandemic.
Whether you are already working or are contemplating taking on a new job, these career strategies for women are here to give you certainty about yourself and your skills in this uncertain world. Using these tips, you can reach your full potential in your respective career, whether it is in tech, art, literature, or something else entirely.
Tip #1: Keep your resume updated
Flaunt your skills with confidence. Your potential employer won’t know what you are good at if your resume doesn’t reflect it. You can use a resume builder to prepare a sophisticated, well-designed resume.
Remember, it’s the content that matters more than a colorful piece of paper. Ponder on what your most relevant experiences are and put them up top for the world to see. A worthy employer will always make time to have a conversation with you about your experiences and expectations.
Tip #2: Network, Network, Network
Cliched but true. The importance of networking has been emphasized so much that it comes across as a cliche, but we don’t often put in the time to do it. You don’t have to know a person to speak with them, although it will help if you do. Since the world has shifted to online and remote working, and will continue to do so for the near future, why not find people online as well?
You can use networking websites such as LinkedIn to find and connect with people who do what you would like to do. Passionate about music? Go ahead and search “artist” or “singer” or “guitarist” and connect with the tens if not hundreds of profiles that pop up (you can add a personal note introducing yourself too!).
LinkedIn also has a unique feature that categorizes search results according to your location, which means the first results you see will be people in your local area. Chat with them about what skills you’ll need to get that job or grow in your career. People are generally willing and open to helping those around them, and they may be the ones offering you a job down the line and become part of your reliable support system.
When feeling perplexed, remember Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s powerful quote when she said that she feels grateful to those who helped her grow in her career since we all need some help in succeeding. What’s the worst that could happen? The person you reached out to will say no. No love lost.
Tip #3: What value do you offer?
We are sure you have your reasons for applying for that job or aiming for career growth: the attractive salary, health benefits, working culture, etc.
From the employer’s perspective, they are looking for specific things: commitment to work, fitting in their working community, good work values, knowledge about the work, etc. People often get excited, understandably so, by the benefits that the job has to offer. But that’s only a part of the deal.
Step back and think about what all you can offer to the company that will make them interested in your application.
Tip #4: Be open to challenges
Why? Your working days would be a very routine journey otherwise. Relish in the opportunity to take on challenging tasks, and let your boss know that you are open to challenges and are committed to career growth. Sure, things could fall flat.
But as Sheryl Sandberg says, “Knowing that things could be worse should not stop us from trying to make them better.”
Tip #5: Craft a career strategy
Review your career once every year. It will help you build a career strategy in two ways: you’ll be grateful to have come as far as you did since you began your journey, which leads to a sense of contentment and accomplishment. Next, it will also boost your confidence in planning the next step of your career.
Tip #6: Find a mentor
Once you’ve crafted your career strategy, you know where to go. You’ll need an experienced person to look up to, who will give you the motivation to keep going. Plus, they will help you avoid potential pitfalls because they’ve been there and done that.
Sandberg advises to follow up on an interesting person you might have met with an email reintroducing yourself and establishing a connection. You can also ask them about what the vital career strategies for women could be from their perspective.
Related: How to explain career gap in resume?
Tip #7: Carve out time to develop your skill
Perform a quick SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis right this minute to know what you are good at and the skills you need to work on. Always think of how to use what you are good at to add value, and how you can turn those weaknesses into strengths and opportunities.
No matter how well thought out your career strategy is, if you don’t take the time to develop your skill, you will eventually find yourself in a plateau of sorts, where the growth becomes stagnant. Don’t be afraid to gain news skills and add them to your resume. Here, we go back to that point that adding value to your employer is crucial.
The more value you can add, the better your chances of getting hired or promoted. To quote Sheryl Sandberg and her career strategies for women once again, she says we should often take up challenging tasks, even when we aren’t sure if we are ready or not.
Tip #8: Work and life – achieving a healthy balance
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, told in her interview with FastCompany that “the job is work and life. Home is also work and life, so there is no balance. It’s a 24×7 job.”
Defining working hours and “family time” will help you separate those two worlds so that you can give your best to each when you are in it.
Tip #9: Celebrate small achievements
This one’s so tiny among the career strategies for women that it slips our minds. Having a big goal – like the next raise, a bigger house, or better health insurance – will only increase stress and frustration. Instead, have those longer goals in mind but never obsess about/for them. Take it one day at a time, celebrate when you finish tiny but essential tasks, and know that you will get to your goals one day.
Related: How to craft your career goals?
Tip #10: Discover your passion, and follow it
The key to achieving career growth or being the best in what you do is loving your work. Only then, you will have the zeal to learn all about your work, to do your best, and to work better.
Tip #11: Learn various technologies
Learn that app that’s bringing in your company significant revenue. Or that trending website. Stay in the trend. You don’t have to know every app or technology, but do take the time to learn those that affect your company. The apps in the same domain as your company, since working at implementing those might help your company, your boss, and you in effect, to generate more income.
Tip #12: Help other women
Thanks to the powerful voices advocating for gender equality in workplaces, there is a slow but steady increase in the number of women working today across industries. But there is only so much that a few voices can do in the end.
To have a real change — lasting one, the women working in the workplaces should support and lend each other a hand when needed to keep the momentum going. The responsibility lies within each working woman to encourage and uplift those around her.
Try to mentor a new woman in your company, showing her the ropes so that she too can grow in her career. Help in setting up career strategies for women. Ultimately, it is up to each woman to help others achieve similar career growth.
Your journey counts: Take rest, but never stop
These career strategies for women will build your confidence in doing what you are doing. It may be improving your skills, increasing your chances of getting promoted, or the specific goal in your mind.
Being good at what you do, being kind and helpful to your coworkers, and the willingness to take on new challenges will serve you well in your career. When in doubt, ask. Always ask questions if you are not sure about how something works.
Finally, in the next 5-10 years, no matter how high you go in your career, never stop learning.
Happy working towards success, and remember to take care of yourself! Happy International Women’s Day to You!!