It is beyond doubt that managing a career for most women is often more challenging than for men, particularly if you are a mother or a caregiver.
Sometimes, priorities clash and women have to struggle in striking a balance. That is why it is all the more important to make use of the best resources and tools available to make things a little easier.
There are some things that every career-oriented woman must have in her kitty if she wants to climb that ladder of success with ease. Here we share some of the best career tools every woman can benefit from.
A strong updated resume
This is essential to anyone looking for growth in their career, irrespective of whether it’s a man or woman. New job opportunities may arise when you least expect them, and you may not always have the time to prepare. Hence, staying prepared beforehand is a wise step.
A good resume updated with your current job details, current salary, expected salary, experience, and everything that a recruiter may want to know is imperative. Make sure that you update your resume every few months. If you have any recent achievements at work, add them to it. If you prepare in a hurry, you might leave out something that is very important to the job you are applying to.
An impressive LinkedIn profile
Today, the first chance at creating an impression on your professional circle comes through LinkedIn. A recruiter can see your LinkedIn profile even before they check out your resume. It is important that you are aware of the best ways to use this platform.
For instance, the first thing anyone visiting your LinkedIn profile would notice is your profile picture. You must ensure that you upload a high-quality, professional picture.
A well-maintained LinkedIn profile must also be updated with all the relevant information as well. Include all your experience, education, skills and achievements.
The skills section is an important part of your profile if you want to be found in searches by relevant recruiters. Update your skills with care and keep them relevant to the kind of job you hope to land. Also, use relevant keywords in all sections of your profile to help recruiters from your industry find you.
If you wish to grow in your career, you will need help from people. Yes, you are an independent and very capable woman. But to grab new opportunities, you have to interact with more people and build relations. Networking is very crucial for career growth.
Networking may be both online and offline. Join as many groups in your niche as you can and interact with other members. Share relevant posts, comment on others’ posts and strike conversations with people. Interacting actively on these forums gives you a chance to make an impression and tell people what knowledge you hold.
Networking both within your organisation and outside are important. You would want to be remembered if a new opportunity arises, be it in your organisation or elsewhere.
Referrals and testimonials
A tool that we often tend to overlook is the word of people we have worked with. Although it may seem like you’re asking for a favour, which most independent women prefer not to do, it is not so. If you worked well, had a good relationship with your colleagues, they will be more than happy to write a recommendation or a testimonial for you.
Make sure you approach someone who you know truly appreciates your work. Since these are real people you have worked with, a good referral from them can make a big difference to your career.
Being approachable is something that is often underrated. It is evident that most workplaces have a higher percentage of men than women, even today. In such a case, a male colleague may sometimes hesitate to approach you if you stay too aloof. They might perceive that you don’t encourage conversation.
In fact, not just men but even your female colleagues should not feel hesitant in approaching you with work. You must be someone who people want to work with. Being exuberant and lively at work can make you a favourite among your colleagues. Be kind to your subordinates and lend an ear when they have a professional problem to discuss.
If you want to be a leader in your industry someday, you have to learn from one. You may read all about it in magazines or attend seminars and workshops, but nothing counts more than working under a mentor who has had the first-hand experience.
If possible, choose a woman leader as your mentor. Not that men can’t help you in this regard. But we have to accept the challenges faced by men and women in the workplace are quite different. More so as you go up the ladder. There’s a reason why, even in this day and age, only 18% of firms are led by women. So, if you know a woman who has been at the top, ask for her guidance.
A well-maintained calendar
One of the main reasons why it becomes difficult to perform well at work is because we lose track of things. Balancing both personal life and work, you may sometimes miss a deadline, and that puts a red mark on your book.
But things can be made easier and more streamlined if you just try to organise your life a little. An organised schedule helps you keep track of your project timelines as well as your social engagements. If you religiously update your calendar every day, there is very little chance that you will ever miss a deadline again
A strong personal brand
A very important tool for any career woman is a strong brand image of her own. There have to be certain character traits that people relate you with. Try to build an image of yourself that comes across as strong, reliable and skilled. This reputation you build over time will take you a long way. Recruiters will be able to see your unique skills and accomplishments that make you a perfect fit for exciting new opportunities.
Many women feel that talking about their professional accomplishments will make them appear self-obsessed or arrogant. But the world is changing. In this cut-throat competition that you are a part of, you have to be more vocal about your achievements if you want to be noticed.
There is nothing wrong with self-promotion. You have worked hard, and you deserve all the recognition that comes along. In fact, when you do practice self-promotion, you will come across as someone confident who knows what she is doing.
Lastly, planning ahead can give you a clear vision of what you need. Having a career plan for at least the next ten years is essential. Once you’ve entered a job, you may get caught up in day-to-day work and forget about what your long-term goals are. A career plan will help maintain focus and work towards your goals.
Take everything into account when you plan your career. You may have to take time off when you decide to raise a family, or you may want to go for higher education. Plan your career around these situations. Plan on how and when you can get back to work after a sabbatical or a study leave.
A plan will help you navigate through the ups and downs in your professional life with ease.
About the author
I’m Elizabeth Houghton, and I help high achievers from traditional backgrounds like you find what you love doing and build a career out of it – without guilt.I believe that you can have the power to carve out your own version of success and live your best life, unapologetically, and unrestrained by social norms.
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