Ladies. Keep up the good work. You are smart, talented and ambitious. In the past few years women have surpassed men in college degrees attained, and are overall more likely to go to college. This data shows we’ve got dreams and we are working and learning to make them happen. As many of you graduate college and enter the workforce, look to the networks of professional and intelligent women growing in number everyday.
For example, I recently returned from Auckland, New Zealand to speak on the panel Booming Business: Female Founders Fast Tracking at the Celebration and Panel of at this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas. My jetlag subsided quickly as I was overjoyed to reconnect with Ingrid Vanderveldt, tech entrepreneur, and Carrie Silver-Stock, the Executive Director of Empowering a Billion Women 2020 , and contribute to their plan to empower the success of female leaders and entrepreneurs through tools, technology and resources.
Many young women attended the two days of networking and empowerment. The introductions and connections provided by this enriching atmosphere is just the type of mentoring atmosphere that young women need to kick-start their careers, find positions, and locate opportunities. Several of the women landed board positions, found employment and independent contractor opportunities, and connected for business partnerships.
This event is just one example of how young women engage with successful peers and mentors to learn, grow, give and receive support through an extensive and established network of female role models. As young women entering the workforce, use these tips to be taken seriously and make your dreams a reality of your daily life.
Get some face time:
Recent research revealed that only 15% of filled positions are found through job boards. Don’t spend hours sending your resume out into the void. Hop off the tablet and dive into the environment where you seek a career. Research mentoring opportunities, conferences, panels, volunteer positions, and networking events to meet recruiters and professionals. Interviewing is easier when you’ve met previously. It may seem terrifying and awkward to go to these functions. However, these events can help you connect with similar people, put yourself out there, and increase your confidence in having professional conversations.
A CareerBuilder study found that inappropriate clothing and appearance was considered the most damaging interview mistake by 51% of hiring managers. So use social media to discover the organization’s internal culture and what to wear. Understanding corporate culture is crucial to understanding the nuances of wardrobe, especially for women. For example, wearing closed-toe instead of open-toe shoes, two-inch instead of stiletto heels, professional instead of business casual clothing and having short manicured nails without color polish. The professional interview faux of wearing sheer blouses with black bras, sleeveless dresses, ill-fitting suits, revealing cleavage, short skirts, and stiletto heels all damage your job opportunities. Find a way to dress professionally while retaining your authenticity and confidence.
When you are offered a position, negotiate. This is true especially for young women as research shows females are far less likely to negotiate than men and are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime. Negotiation is part of the job process. Research salary standards for your position along with your particular industry trends. This way you have concrete data to refer to in your negotiations and your potential employers will be more like to understand your foundation. Talking to mentors and other successful women and men in your life about negotiation will also help you to understand the best way to successfully negotiate.
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. She is accredited in intercultural management, is a regular on-air contributor and has been quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, Inc., The New York Times, The Vancouver Sun, The Bangkok Post and numerous other media. She is the best-selling, international award-winning author of Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, which was named to the Best Books of 2015 by Kirkus Reviews.