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.
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.