4 Important Growth Tips for Women In Business
Building Your Career as a Female in a Male-dominated Business World
Are you a woman in business?
I hear you. It’s not easy working in a male-dominated business world. From the very start of our careers, the road to success can seem like a steep, uphill battle.
According to the Women in the Workplace 2016 study, businesswomen are less likely to receive the first critical promotion, meaning it takes them longer to reach leadership positions.
Women in business get less access to people and opportunities that can push their careers forward, and although they negotiate just as much as men, their ideas are challenged more often.
And with the way things are going now? Well, the gender gap won’t close for another 170 years.
Ultimately, this issue should be resolved by governments and employers—they need to make policies that will support women rising to the top. Still, this doesn’t mean that women in business should just sit back and accept their place on the sidelines. We need to work extra hard to stick our heads above the crowd and show our true value.
Here are some ways that we can do so.
Continue to Build Your Professional Skills
Although there are more women graduates than there are men in the business world, it doesn’t mean that their on-going journey of learning should end. Today, it is easier than ever to reach information from all over the world. Knowledge-sharing platforms, such as Zeqr, are a great way to develop new skills and also to keep old skills sharpened.
Live, interactive classes are a fantastic way to not only learn something new but to also network with experts from around the world. Online classes are the perfect way to stay ahead of the game and still having time for other life commitments.
Demonstrate Your Professional Background via LinkedIn
Haven’t updated your LinkedIn profile in ages? It’s time to get back on the bandwagon.
The professional network LinkedIn is where future employers and business partners go to review your experience—and you need to show them you know your stuff.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, meaning that it has a professional photo, current position, skills, and a description of your responsibilities at each job. According to LinkedIn, you’ll have far more success on the platform if you do. Users with profile pictures get nine times more requests to connect, and those with more than five skills listed are 27 times more likely to be found.
It’s also important to ensure your profile features recommendations from previous employers or co-workers. To someone looking at your page, this is a proof that you’re a great person to work with. Recommendations from personal contacts are the most credible form of advertising, so it’s not a bad idea to ask colleagues you have a good relationship with to drop a testimonial on your profile. You can write recommendations for them in hopes they’ll return the favor. You probably shouldn’t ask your mom though, that might look a bit strange!
But most importantly, you need to engage with other users on the platform. This shows people you’re passionate about your field, which is something that’s taken highly into consideration for hiring, promotions, etc. So, by liking and commenting on content that others publish—or posting articles or content which you feel is valuable, too—offers a means of breaking the ice, and building relationships with those who may help your career down the road.
Show Your Face
With communication technologies such as texting and emailing, and project management tools such as Slack, it’s become pretty easy to get all your work done from behind a screen.
However, you can never really build particularly strong business relationships with those you’ve never seen in person, do you?
Well, that’s because to build trust, face-to-face communication is essential. Studies show that a lack of in-person communication makes people less empathetic and, therefore, less trusting of those they engage with. However, when you’re a woman in the business world, it’s imperative your managers and co-workers trust your expertise, your ideas, and your overall capabilities.
Even if it’s not possible to meet your business partners in person, there’s no reason why your online communication can’t be done using real-time video platforms, such as Facetime, WhatsApp video calls, or our own platform, Zeqr. Over time, meeting ‘face-to-face’ can build stronger relationships with those your work with, more than communicating via email ever could.
If you can, it’s a great idea to conduct live webinars, create video presentations online, and speak at live events, too. Seeing you in person will not only help build trust with current and future business partners but will also show them you’re confident and know exactly what you’re talking about.
Build Social Proof
Here’s a fact: women in business are less comfortable flaunting their professional achievements than men. In a study conducted by LinkedIn, 42 percent of the UK’s businesswomen say they find it difficult, compared to 28 percent of men. And while 64 percent of women know it is important to talk about their professional development to advance their careers, they feel like they’re bragging when they do.
It’s time to flip that rhetoric on its head. To build a career in a male-dominated environment, it’s important to exhibit your social proof without reservation. After all, they are your achievements and you have worked damn hard to earn them.
Aside from career milestones, promotions, and awards, social proof can be developed by online coaching, publishing written content, creating industry-related podcasts or videos, and speaking at events. Your social proof becomes more relevant if your content is attached to a leading publication or popular network. Basically, to be relevant these days, your name needs to come up on Google searches as much as possible.
So, apart from creating your own content, try reaching out to an event you believe your presentation would add value to, or a publication with a contributor network you’d like to write for. If you don’t know where to start, create an account on knowledge sharing platform Zeqr and create classes where you can share your expertise and establish yourself as an expert. E-learning platforms will allow you to connect with students/clients from around the world.
Once your content is online, go ahead and show it off. Post it on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and even your company’s Slack, in order to not only show everyone what you’re up to but to ask for their support in spreading the word.
Women in business and women entrepreneurs face many barriers to business success. And while we’re a long way away from breaking down those barriers completely, there are small things we can do every day to demonstrate how much we have to offer.