Strategies For Workplace Success: Confidence, Connecting, And Advocating

Millions of women across the country are building careers in today's workplace, but that does not mean that there are not still numerous challenges that many face as they look for success and opportunity. Sexism is still an issue in many work environments and female employees often need to do more than their male counterparts in order to achieve success. The glass ceiling is still an issue for many who are looking to rise up in the ranks, but there are some key strategies available from those who have already traveled this path that can lay the groundwork for success.

As Live Career notes, women are finding success in the corporate world, but issues of pay inequality and a lack of advancement opportunities continue to remain obstacles for many young women in the workplace. Despite these continuing challenges, experts do have a number of recommendations detailing how female employees can break through the barriers.

Embracing opportunities for education and connecting with others is key

Those who embrace the opportunity for as much training and education as they can get may well stand out and increase their odds for gaining significant career opportunities to advance at work. Many companies provide additional training or reimbursement for continuing one's education and the wise working woman will look for chances to focus on transferable skills that can help procure advancement possibilities not only at one's current company, but elsewhere in the future as well.

Developing strong interpersonal skills is critical for young women in today's workplace, as connecting with others and managing to stand out in positive ways are key for advancement. Networking is essential, and many experts point out that connecting with experienced female leaders who can act as mentors should be a top priority for young women beginning in their careers.

Exuding confidence makes a big impact

It is not uncommon for women to hold back in promoting themselves and their achievements in the workplace, sometimes being reserved in order to avoid labels like being perceived as being aggressive or bossy. However, experts do recommend some key strategies that can help young women stand out with confidence.

As Market Wired shares, communications expert Kimberly Gerber suggests some simple changes that can help to build up a positive image. For example, women may embrace posture shifts that exude confidence by facing audiences head-on and bending forward slightly from the waist. Looking others in the eye while communicating is critical and it can be helpful to set aside any anxiousness by focusing on the message that is being projected rather than the people who are listening.

Unfortunately, women frequently find themselves needing to strike a balance when it comes to assertiveness more often that what men typically face. Sexism is still all too common in varying aspects in the workplace and as the New Yorker details, this often comes to the forefront during negotiations. Women who are assertive in negotiating job offers, for example, seem to be dismissed or penalized more often than men, and this type of experience is frequently visible in other workplace aspects as well.

Be ready with solutions and be your own best advocate

While sexism is a very real problem in many work environments, and finding a balance when it comes to being assertive can be difficult, young women who want to advance and break the glass ceiling would do well to be aware of these issues and be strategic in how they are addressed. Women who are ultimately successful in their careers work at becoming comfortable with pointing out their assets and successes and do not shy away from advocating for themselves. It is wise to be prepared with solutions to problems and connect with others as much as possible.

Advancing in the workplace is not a guaranteed path for women, as breaking through the glass ceiling can still be difficult to make happen. However, young women entering the workforce these days can find opportunities and success with a strong focus and determination. Experts recommend looking for mentors, connecting with others, and building skill sets in order to stand out. Many women find themselves having to do things differently than what male counterparts may do, but success is achievable with some strategic moves and focus.

Author:  Gloria Martinez  I think it’s important to celebrate women-dominated industries. I created WomenLed.org to educate people about the many women-led achievements that have shaped our world.


5 Steps to a Better Career

Figure out what you're good at

Each one of us has a unique combination of strengths, skills, and talents. But because it's hard to view ourselves objectively, we often have many more marketable qualities than we give ourselves credit for. Studies show that we most enjoy doing things we're good at, so when we take the time to figure out our skill set, we're well on our way to finding a job that excites and stimulates us.

Here are five steps to uncover your hidden strengths:

Step 1: Review Your Education and Experience

Your resume will give you an excellent snapshot of your education and previous experience. Since it probably doesn't include every job you've ever had -- for the purposes of this exercise only -- add them. Under each position, write down what you did each day, even if they were simple duties. Do the same for any volunteer work and/or hobbies. You can often find transferable skills in the most menial of tasks.

Step 2: Note the Skills Required for Each

Skills typically fall into four categories:

1. Communication and people skills - expressing yourself well, teaching others, relaying ideas, actively listening, and persuading.

2. Research & planning skills - identifying issues, brainstorming potential solutions, and setting goals.

3. Leadership & management skills - delegating and supervising others, motivating people, making decisions under pressure.

4. Knowledge-based skills - speaking another language or having substantial technical knowledge.

Write down the top three skills you needed for each job, hobby, and volunteer activity. Did your previous work as an office manager require strong organizational and planning skills? When you worked in sales, did your powers of persuasion help you rise to the top? Did your time volunteering at a pet adoption centre demand a lot of energy and compassion? Don't worry if you find yourself writing down the same skills for different roles -- you'll most likely see some overlap.

Step 3: Add Things You're Good At

Think about the activities you show a natural aptitude for. Are you the person everyone just assumes will plan the next get-together? Do other people complain about balancing their checkbooks, while you handle yours with ease? Really think about what comes easily and naturally to you. People often take their innate gifts and talents for granted and assume everyone else possesses them too, when in reality that's not always the case.

Do certain people compliment you over and over? Do they admire your hard-working attitude, your dependability or punctuality, or even how well you dress? Did past managers consistently praise you for having innovative ideas or achieving goals?

Remind yourself about any major difficulties or hardships you've overcome in the past. Potential employers love to see transferable strengths, such as determination and perseverance, in candidates.

Step 4: Ask Other People
Your co-workers, friends, and family, and even your boss can recognize strengths and capabilities you don't see on your own. Ask them for the first three qualities that come to mind when they think of you.

Step 5: Look for Similarities
Now that you have a full list of strengths to work from, group your skills together under common headings. For example, coordinating meetings at work, putting together your family reunion, and planning a neighbourhood party all fall under the umbrella of strong event-planning and organizational skills.

After you complete these steps, you'll have a much better sense of your skill set, which you can then use to effectively market yourself to potential employers. A great way to showcase your talents is to highlight an issue or problem you faced in the past, show how you used your skills and strengths to solve it, and then explain the end result (i.e. an increase in numbers or any quantifiable, successful outcome).

Once you understand the full scope of your knowledge, talents, and expertise, finding a job that meshes your skill set with your interests becomes much easier. You'll not only be more fulfilled, you'll also be more productive and command a higher salary. So, take time to figure out all you have to offer.

Author: Brooke Betts

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Getting Started

Chris's parents were proud of him when he graduated from college. But it's been six months and he hasn't gotten a job yet. In fact, he hasn't looked seriously. He has no idea what he wants to do and he's thinking of grad school.

He's living at home with his parents and things are getting tense, especially with his father, who accuses Chris of being lazy and afraid to enter the real world.

Chris thinks his dad is being totally unreasonable. After all, he's only young once and he needs some "space." During a recent argument, Chris said, "I'm not you, Dad. I have my own way of doing things. I want a job I enjoy."

His dad replied, "That's a nice idea, but in the end they call it 'work' because it's about making a productive living - not having fun."

There are many youngsters like Chris who are having trouble getting started with a serious job and becoming self-reliant. 

Some, like Peter Pan, just don't want to grow up. Some are afraid of making a wrong decision or of being rejected. Others are victims of what psychologists call "magical thinking." They believe that when the time is right, everything will fall into place. So they wait for opportunity to come knocking or until they feel inspired or excited about their next step.

Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. What's crucial is to begin. Things happen and opportunities appear most often when we're moving, not standing still.

Momentum is vital. Basic physics says it's easier to alter the course of a moving object than to start movement initially. In the end, it's not really about finding yourself. It's about making yourself.

The first steps are the hardest, but the key to success in anything is getting started.

Author:  Michael Josephson
Read more of his stories at www.charactercounts.org

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You Are A Super Hero: What's Your Super Power?

I have a confession to make. I am an adult woman and I love superheroes. I think there is a lot to be said about people who put their personal safety aside for the sake of another or others. The nobility of standing up for truth and justice has suffered severe degradation over the years. Every now and then, Hollywood reminds us of the characters we once loved, and for a short time we become kids again. We remember running around with friends pretending to be our favorite characters. Then we snap out the memory to the thought that superheroes are mere childhood fantasies. These characters represent an unrealistic dream of living a dual life - one of a regular person with a normal job and the other a daring superhero who saves the world. The real world popped the fantasy of us flying around in capes and tights long ago.
Having said all of that, I still love superheroes. I remember wanting a pair of Wonder Woman "Underoos," and my mom not being able to buy me any. That's OK, because I just found some online, and yes - I will be making that purchase tomorrow. I'm not kidding!

The reason for this article is to share what I believe we all want to hear. It's a thought that I've had since I first started watching Wonder Woman. I was born to be super! I can think about my life up to now and can tell you different super powers that I displayed throughout. A great example is when I was in college and took a course called Entrepreneurship for Engineers. Who knew that I was made to be an entrepreneur? It's one of my super powers! The bottom line is this: I believe that each of us has at least one inner super power. There is something we were MADE to do that makes us super in our own ways.

Here are some tips to help you discover your inner super power.

Think about the thing(s) you are naturally great at doing. (People actually go to college for four-year degrees to learn what you've been doing naturally for your entire life.)

Think about the kid you buried under all of the adult-sized responsibilities: what was your first answer when an adult would ask you, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" (Most children have natural knowledge about what they want to do in the future, but parents and adults typically talk them out of it.)

Think about the hobby that you can do for hours on end, without taking a break. (Most hobbies can be converted into successful businesses. Many people have done it, and I believe that if one person can do it, so can you!)

Take some time and think about these things and stop depriving the world of the super hero inside of you!


By Madeline Berry
Do you know someone who is an everyday hero? You can read about some amazing everyday heroes at I'm Possible's Everyday Hero Blog.
Learn more about Madeline, the Super hero on her website IamPMadBerry.com.


Why Most People Fail to Make a Living Doing What They Love

More people are waking up to the reality that they don’t follow the typical work template: college > corporate job: ladder climbing > retirement.

But waking up to the possibility isn’t enough, and unfortunately, a lot of people fail at making it happen. They know what they don’t want — a 9 to 5 soul-sucking job — but they don’t know how to escape. Some people come up with a plan, a business idea and attempt to follow an obscure path. And they often fail as well.

So why is that?

I’ve found that the answer usually has to do with one of these three things:


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Is your Genius at work?

Is your Genius at Work? 4 Key Questions to Ask Before Your Next Career Move
by Dick Richards

From the reviews

You have some special capacity to make a positive impact on the world in your own unique way. You may have an inkling of that. Or no clue at all.
No matter. Either way, this refreshingly different book from Dick Richards will help you put your finger on your special “energy” and help you direct it in meaningful ways.
Dick Richards (part shaman, part businessman) presents engaging ideas and well-defined processes for identifying your unique personal gift, which he calls your Genius. He also presents helpful ideas and processes for discovering your personal Purpose (your life’s mission) so that you can point the energy of your Genius toward fulfilling your Purpose.
If you like, you read about the connections between many time-honored and far-flung spiritual and philosophical traditions underlying these ideas (across the globe and through millennia). Richards has woven a nice tapestry of these disparate threads.
Seriously, you can ignore all the stuff about spiritual and philosophic traditions, and just work your way through the practical processes. Either way, you’re going to arrive at a deeper understanding of yourself and a clearer vision of your individual potential within the world.
The book pushes us to think outside the box when looking for our core genius.

The content is fantastic. The writing style is approachable and includes stories I can relate to and that illustrate the points very well. The layout if the book is outstanding - there are helpful illustrations and plenty of room for notes - an important consideration for a book like this. Above these tangible dimensions, the feeling I get when reading is book is positive. The author cares about his readers and it shows in every part of this book.
Many personal development books contain miserably pointless exercises, but this book is the exception to the rule. Its exercises are intelligent, well-designed, and insightful. There are no pointless quizzes that force you to rate yourself on some arbitrary scale. I also liked that all the exercises are put into a separate section of the book, so first you can read through all the content, and then you can work through the exercises.

Also noteworthy, Richards generously includes resources to assist other coaches and consultants to teach his methods. And he provides help for groups of people who want to collectively support each other as they make their way thru this highly personal work.

Questions to ask yourself when choosing a career

I have recently learned that when doing a career exploration, it is important to ask the following questions:
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On the job: how to make it in the real world of work

On the Jobby Stephen Viscusi

On the Job offers newcomers to the world of employment a primer for dealing with their current workplaces as well as larger career issues. The book deals with practical measures and will be of use to most people just starting their working careers.
Viscusi heads one of New York City's 10 largest executive search firms and dispenses work and career-related advice as host of "On the Job," a nationally syndicated radio call-in program. He now summarizes the insights he has gleaned and the advice he has proffered after interviewing thousands of job candidates and talking with his radio listeners.

He certainly knows the way of the workplace, and his advice is always insightful and to the point. He suggests that our "work-life puzzle" can be broken down into seven primary pieces. First, he emphasizes that "your career is whatever job you hold today." Second, work can be unfair, so "get over it!" Third, keep work and personal lives separate. In turn, he then looks at workplace relationships, communication, and advancement and career planning.

There is entertainment value in the anecdotes and experiences imparted by the author Always focusing on practical matters, Viscusi repeatedly emphasizes that if one masters the job, a career will follow. This kind of "realistic" advice for the workplace has not been assembled in one location before.

The book will not only help you to understand the employer's side of the job search, but will also allow you to implement a plan for landing the job that you want. It was written in a great format; plain and simple; to the point and informative.

“There are great strategies here for how to think about your work life (and he convinces it is a work life, separate from your other life), so that you're sane both on and off the job, and so that you're positioned to make the most of job/career every day. A must-have for anyone starting a new job, whether entering work for the first time or re-entering after change of career or time off.“