Why people who are making a job change, career change or entering the job force or going to college and trying to decide what to pursue…I coach.

Many women wear several hats in their lives. They are mothers, caregivers to elderly parents, volunteers, and business professionals. Learning how to balance all of these roles can be tricky, especially when you want to take steps to improve your lot in one of them.

As women in business, knowing how to give your career a jumpstart can make a huge difference.

Many times, problems at the office can make women feel like they’re struggling alone. However, while one industry may vary from the next, many of the tips for success in your career can apply to women across the board.

It may seem like men outnumber women in the workforce. However, 42.7% of senior professional positions go to women.

For you and the rest of the 42.7%, I put together this guide to help you jumpstart your career:

  • Be a time-management pro
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate
  • Pass the reins
  • Make the most of your mentors
  • Get comfortable with “No”
  • Be the squeaky wheel
  • Stop apologizing for being you

Women face a unique set of challenges in the professional workplace. These tips are designed specifically with women like you in mind, to help you make the most out of your career opportunities.

If your work has felt dull to you lately, it might be time to jumpstart your career.

I will go a bit more in-depth with each of these tips in this guide. Because I value your time, let’s jump right in with time management.

Be a Time-Management Pro

Managing your time is key to jumpstarting your career. Proper time management can allow you to get the job done without added stress.

There are many tools out there that can help you manage your time, such as lists (to-do lists or kanban boards). You can also use a bullet journal.

You can time your tasks to see which things are taking too much of your time. The Action Priority Matrix can help you lay out which tasks need to be done right away, and which can be completed when you have more free time.

Another time management strategy that is a favorite of mine is the Pomodoro technique. This strategy involves integrating work and breaks. Usually, each work period is 25 minutes long. There are scheduled and timed breaks in between work periods.

The trick to going from time-management neophyte to pro is to understand how to prioritize.

Don’t Shy Away from Negotiations

Whether you want more money or more responsibility, you’ll have to get used to asking for it. Learning how to negotiate takes practice, but anyone can learn.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate often, and early. Your boss can’t read your mind, and the worst she or he can say is “No,” at which point you’ll be no worse off than you are.

Especially where the gender wage gap is concerned, you can’t shy away from asking for more. In 2015, women made only 80 cents on the dollar compared with men.

Women in Business Need to Delegate

The ability to delegate is one of the marks of a strong leader, and strong leaders are more likely to become successful in business.

In order to effectively delegate, you need to know your team members’ strengths and weaknesses. Using Clifton StrengthsFinder is a great assessment tool to use to not only identify individual team member’s talents and strengths, but this assessment also gives you the big picture of what strengths your team as a whole has to offer. This can make delegating a little easier. It will allow you to give them tasks that they can excel at. This will bolster their confidence while helping the team. It’s also important to give them work that will help them grow. Be available to them to guide them with these delegated tasks, but take care not to own the tasks.

By properly delegating work, you can focus on leading your team and maximizing everyone’s strengths. You’ll also get more work done as a team, with less stress for you.

Make the Most of Your Mentor

Mentors can help you maximize your own skills while helping you build your confidence.

What makes a good mentor?

  • Choose someone who works higher up on the corporate ladder. This is someone who has worked through the ranks and can help you navigate your own path.
  • Choose someone with diverse experience in and out of the office. This will help you broaden your horizons and benefit from viewpoints other than your own.
  • Choose someone who won’t pull their punches. Mentors who can’t provide honest feedback won’t be as useful as those who offer truly constructive criticism. There’s no need for anyone to be rude, but they shouldn’t be afraid to tell it to you like it is.
  • Choose someone who can be objective like a career or executive coach. Guidance from someone without an emotional, mental, or professional stake in the situation can be invaluable. It can reveal new opportunities and solutions.

Love the Word “No”

Who loves being told “no?” Most people don’t. If you don’t believe me, try raising or babysitting a toddler.

I’m not suggesting you behave like a two-year-old, but you can’t be afraid to use the word “no” from time to time. You can’t please everyone, and if you say “yes” to every request that crosses your desk, you might come across as a doormat. When you say “no” to a project it frees you up to say “yes” to projects you will excel at and perhaps even care more about. Remember “no” is a complete sentence!

Additionally, you should come to terms with hearing this word in response to your own requests from time to time. You can’t always get everything you want or even need in business, and learning how to not dwell on the rejection can leave room for you to find a solution.

Be Squeaky

I don’t mean squeaky clean, though you should be that too. What I’m talking about is the squeaky wheel.

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” then you know what I’m talking about.

Even though you have to be okay with hearing the word “No,” that doesn’t mean that you have to keep from asking.

Ask for what you need when you need it, especially as budgetary concerns can make timeliness important.

Stop Apologizing for Being You

Successful women in business know their strengths. They don’t apologize for their own unique personalities.

Denying who you are or apologizing for being yourself can lead to undue stress. It also communicates a lack of self-confidence, which can be detrimental to your goal of jumpstarting your career.

For women in business who feel like something is missing from their career, going to the office day in, day out can seem like a painful chore. When you’re able to jumpstart your career, your job can feel like an exciting challenge.

The day flies. You enjoy solving problems with your colleagues. Most important, you find value in your work.

Reaching that point in your career doesn’t have to be a mystery. To learn more about how to jumpstart your career, or how to put any of these tips into practice, please contact me.

Sometimes, even when you love your job, the time might come when it’s time for a change. There are lots of reasons to pursue a job change:

  • Maybe you feel under-appreciated by customers or upper management.
  • Maybe you need more flexibility to take care of children or elderly parents.
  • Maybe you’ve hit the glass ceiling as far as pay and opportunity are concerned.
  • Maybe your spouse or significant other got a new job that requires relocation.
  • Maybe you’ve been doing your job for awhile, feel stagnant in what you are doing and you just want to shake things up.

Regardless of your reason for seeking a new job, there are a number of things you can do in order to find the right job.

Past generations often sought to find a company where they could stay for thirty-plus years, get a gold watch, and retire.

Few industries follow that model these days. In fact, the new norm is for people to change jobs 4 times before they’re 32 years old. If you figure that you start working when you graduate college at 22 years old, that’s 4 jobs in 10 years, or a new job every 2.5 years.

When it comes time to decide to start looking for a new job, you want to do it the right way. Job hunting can be both exciting and stressful; minimizing the stress can make a positive difference on your experience.

That’s why I’ve put together this guide to help women who are looking for a job change. Keep reading to learn the 4 things you need to do to maximize your opportunity.

Tip #1: Figure out what you want from a job change.

If you’ve interviewed for a job, you’ve probably thought about your three to five-year plan. Many interviewers like to ask potential employees where they see themselves in five years.

The point of this question isn’t to make you squirm. It’s to find out if your goals align with your potential new employer’s goals.

If you don’t know what you want out of a new job, then chances are this question would make you sweat. However, preparing to answer this question isn’t just about pleasing HR interviewers.

It’s about pleasing yourself.

For people who have worked in the same job for a long time, goals might have just been to move up the corporate ladder. Regardless of whether or not your goals have changed, taking the time to reassess them at the start of your job hunt will only help you in the long run.

As you formulate your goals, make sure you do your research. Don’t make assumptions, particularly about salary. The benefit of technology is that there’s so much information available at your fingertips–use it to your advantage to set up informed goals.

Tip #2: Hone your elevator pitch.

What is an elevator pitch? It’s a statement of about twenty seconds that states your goal and how you will support that goal with experience or skills.

It’s called an elevator pitch because, when you meet someone—while they may ask you what you do in a polite manner, it gives you the perfect opportunity to give a snapshot of who you are. So an elevator pitch is suppose to allow  you to be able to convey all of this in the average time of an elevator ride–about twenty to thirty seconds. Here’s a test, can you make them care in that 20 seconds when their attention is generous? The point is if you do pique their interest, they’ll hold the elevator door and listen to you all day long. So don’t try to cram everything into 20 seconds. Instead, the best use of that first grace period is to make a bid for an attention extension.

You never know who you might meet, and who they might know, so having your elevator pitch honed before you launch yourself headfirst into your job search can prepare you to snatch up the right opportunity at the right time.

Tip #3: Build your support network before a job change.

As I said earlier, changing jobs is stressful, even if it’s exciting. Before you go down that road, getting some support in your corner can help.

Talk to your spouse or significant other. This support is especially important because you want to make sure that you’re both prepared for any tightening of the purse strings that may be necessary if your job hunt takes longer than you expect, especially if you’re hiring a headhunting service or planning to take time away from your current job to start a new business.

Make sure that your close friends are willing to help you unwind, or help you rehearse interviews–especially if you’re out of practice.

Building the right support network is crucial because as exciting as the prospect of a new job can be, there will come a time when the stress will mount and having a healthy outlet can be a boon. In fact, having a support network can re-energize your search if you reach a point where you’re tired of wearing your interview suit.

Tip #4: Network strategically.

Remember when I was talking about your elevator pitch and I mentioned meeting the right person at the right time who can give you the right opportunity?

That comes from networking. Sure, your elevator pitch will help you maximize on those chances to bend someone’s ear, but networking is what can increase your chance to get some face time.

How do you go about networking strategically? The best place to start is with your own contacts. You’ve probably heard the saying that getting a job is all about who you know, not what you know.

If that seems limiting, remember that it extends to who your contacts know. Let your contacts know that you’re in the job market. If you know they’re connected with someone who can help you in your quest, don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction.

Looking for new employment can be exciting, especially because changing jobs can provide a 10% to 20% salary increase. If you’ve been getting by on one, two, or three percent increases each year, it might be time to jump ship and negotiate a higher salary with a new company.

If the time has come for a job change, don’t go into it in the dark. Use these tips to illuminate your path and lead you to the greener grass on the other side of the road, fence, or whatever hurdle currently sits in your way.

Remember that you can overcome those hurdles. You deserve to find the job that not only provides an appropriate salary, but that fulfills you as a person. For more tips on how to make the most out of your job hunt, please contact me.