There is a popular opinion that a woman is a homemaker and she should take care of her family, her husband, and children. She has no time to do business or manage people. However, in modern society, a great number of women resist these unwritten rules. They strive to achieve professional success and build a career.
Unfortunately, building a career a woman meets more difficulties than a man. To break a housewife’s stereotype, she needs to work better than a man. A woman practically has no right to make mistakes, if, of course, she wants to go up the career ladder.
You’ve probably already heard about personal websites for the job search and thought to yourself: but I don’t know how to build a website and I don’t know what to put on such a site. And also, is it really worth the effort?
It’s so worth it!
Why? Because it makes you stand out from the masses. Very few people make the effort to create a personal website for their job search. So it’s a great way to stand out and show the employers that you’re ready to go the extra mile.
A personal website also has the advantage that you can share a lot more content than you can include in the resume or cover letter. You can give a 360-degree view of who you are and what you have done so far. That doesn’t mean that you have to upload every single thing you’ve ever done but you can give a more comprehensive picture of who you are.
Oh boy, I have seen bad job applications in my time as a team manager. You really have no idea! I‘ve often asked myself whether some people are really trying to find a job or just sending intentionally bad applications to satisfy the unemployment agency which obliges them to apply for a certain number of jobs each month to keep the unemployment money, or whether people are just lazy and hope that nobody will notice. But we do – believe me.
If you are actually looking for a job, it’s important to keep in mind these don’ts and dos. If you make one of these mistakes, you will likely not get the job. These are mistakes I observed equally amongst men and women, so I won’t be focusing on women as I usually do. read more…
After you determined your worth and how you can benefit the company, it’s time to check if your salary expectations for the position are actually realistic and appropriate. You might be aiming too high or too low, so you better do some research before sharing your expectations with the employer.
Many people, both women and men think there are jobs which are unsuitable for women or at least more suitable for men.
What Professions Are More Suitable For Men?
Jobs in engineering for example. How many female engineers do you know? I know one and she is the only one at our company – at least in the Austrian affiliate. Many would say that there aren’t more women because the job is unsuitable for women.
From the time we’re kids, people are asking us: What do you want to do when you’re grown up? While hardly any of us really became actresses, athletes or ballerinas, we’re always told that we must have a career plan in order to be successful.
Early in our school lives, we need to decide what specialty we want to choose, which path we want to follow. We’re always pushed to have a plan and most of us start seriously thinking about what they want to be already at the young age of a teenager.
If you’re like me and you never really had an idea what you want to do in life, you start feeling really bad and really stressed. All these people around me already knew what they wanted to become in life. And me, nothing.
I had no clue. I only knew what I didn’t want to do: become a teacher, like my parents or become a doctor because I’m not a fan of seeing blood. I’d definitely not work in banking because I wasn’t a fan of maths either.
I considered studying law because my uncle is a judge and it seemed like a job with a great work-life-balance (at least it seems like observing him) but law seemed too dry and boring for me.
Basically, I had no idea what I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to go to university and study something. But what? Most of the curricula sounded too scientific (chemistry, physics, maths), too fluffy (social sciences, business sciences, political sciences, media sciences – what does that even mean?) or too “interesting but there’s no money in that” (history of art, archeology).
I opted for languages because that’s what I was good at. I chose translation studies because the only other option would have been to become a teacher and I had already ruled that out.
So step number one to your successful career is: Don’t panic, just follow your interests and do what you’re good at.
As I approached my diploma, people kept asking me: what do you want to do after your studies? Do you want to be an interpreter? Do you want to be a translator? Don’t you think you should also study something else?
Something more substantial, like business sciences… There are not many positions which need languages in that area where you live. Will you move? I didn’t really have a clue but I thought, I’d figure something out once I had my degree.
This is the second important factor for your successful career: Trust in your abilities and that things will work out, even if you don’t see the clear path ahead.
I did move after my studies, but not for the job. Once I arrived in Germany, I found a job as a team assistant thanks to my language skills.
The trouble was, after a few months, I was incredibly bored. There was way too little work for me and the work was not challenging. I had identified another No Go, so I changed. I moved into customer service, again thanks to my language skills. There it started out similar. Way too little to do, I got sooo bored.
So I offered help to the team manager, which lead to me deputizing her and finally being offered the job as a team manager. If you’d asked me before, I’d never have thought about this as a career option.
So here’s my third piece of advice: Don’t stick with a job that’s not right for you. Take action and ask for additional responsibilities.
From that point on, I learned a lot about recruiting, team management, career management, account management, marketing, social media, content management, and project management. I realized what my great strength is: I’m a super fast learner.
I find it really easy to gain a basic understanding of almost everything: technical devices, supply chain, pharmaceutical industry, setting up a website, running my own business, social media marketing… The list goes on and on… ok, it would probably stop at quantum physics. But who really needs that, right?
This is the key to your successful career: learn as much as you can, even if you don’t know when these skills will come in useful. They will be useful at some point. Keep learning! In addition, you will always be able to include additional skills in your resume.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I don’t want you to freak out about not having a master plan for your life since the age of 12. You don’t need to have your life figured out as a teenager.
You don’t need to have it figured out as a tween either. Most people who have a plan will sooner or later realize that life doesn’t always go according to plan. That’s what life is. Unpredictable.
So don’t despair. Not everyone of us has a passion from childhood years on. Many of us have the problem that we have many interests but not this burning fire for something in particular. That’s ok. Figuring out your life is the biggest part of life.
Don’t worry if you have no clue what you want to do and don’t listen to all the naysayers who are trying to put doubts in your head. Remember that they are speaking from their own experience, limiting beliefs and insecurities. They probably mean well but their advice often comes from a place of fear.
So just follow what you find interesting. Build on your strengths and figure it out from there. You’ll discover new interests and new strengths along the way. The world today is not as linear as it was in the times of our parents or grandparents.
There is so much change going on, so the most important quality is to learn fast and adapt to a new reality. So don’t worry if you don’t have a vision board or a five-year-plan to success.
You can be very successful as a career changer – as long as you know your strengths, trust in your abilities, have an intrinsic motivation to make the best out of your life and know how to present your skills to a new employer.
When I changed into my current company (yes, I still have a full-time job too), I had no experience at all in the pharmaceutical industry. I could have thought to myself: I don’t stand a chance! I have no experience in this business. Instead, I thought: I’ll figure it out. I have figured everything out so far.
So, I just confidently entered the interview and convinced them that I’m a really fast learner and that I’ll take no time at all adapting to the new environment.
Now it’s your turn to go out there and make the change you want, not the change that seems reasonable. Eliminate what you don’t want to do and don’t be afraid to try something new. Don’t worry about being a career changer.
Never forget: being an allrounder is a big advantage. You just need to know how to sell it: in your resume, in your cover letter, in your job interview, and if you need help with that, you know where to find it.
As I experienced personally as a hiring manager, women tend to ask for lower starting salaries than men if applying for the same positions. But why are we doing that?
My personal observation with my clients as well as many women around me is that most women don’t want to appear demanding or unreasonable with their salary expectations. The most frequent argument I hear from my clients is: “I don’t think the company can afford the salary you suggest.”
So basically we’re already worrying about the company’s financial situation and how we can help them before we even started there. How considerate of us…
Or, even worse: “My female friends told me that this is what I can expect for this position in this industry.”
Really? Do we want to hold each other back by telling each other to ask for the same amount we’re currently earning and not for more? I recently discussed this with a client and challenged this point heavily. Why should you earn the same as your friend in the same position? Do you know if her performance and knowledge equal yours? Can you really compare yourself with her? read more…
I’ve worked with several women on salary negotiations during the last year and I noticed that many make a big mistake: they name their desired salary way too early in the process and they don’t gamble. They name the amount they want to have straight away. Now there are several problems with this.
You limit your possibilities for negotiation if you tell them how much you really want too early. I know, it’s easy to get pressured into naming a concrete amount by HR or your boss but remember: once you’ve said the amount, you can’t go back anymore.
Consider that: if you tell them the minimum salary that would be ok for you and they offer you less, won’t you be unsatisfied with the outcome? And what if they accept the amount too readily? Won’t it make you feel like you asked for too little? Won’t you doubt if more would have been possible? Won’t you be unsatisfied as well? read more…
After we looked at how to negotiate your starting salary, let’s talk about raises now. There’s much more to negotiating a raise than you’d think. Take a guess: it’s again all about preparation, but of a slightly different kind. read more…
Today we present a post written by our guest writer. This author has prepared a series of articles about getting a salary depending on gender. Are you ready to get a raise? Pay attention to each of these articles. Step-by-step you will move to higher career levels. Let’s start.
Not without reason, Iceland passed a law in 2018 which forces companies to prove that they pay men and women equally. The reasons for the pay gap are multiple and numerous studies have been performed on this topic.
Comparing Apples With Oranges
It’s really difficult to establish how big the pay gap really is because we often compare apples with oranges. We need to consider for example that in many countries, many women work in part-time jobs as they also need to take care of kids.
There are not so many chances for promotions and career development in part-time jobs and that is one part of the problem because pay raises usually go hand in hand with promotions. So the overall career development for women in part-time jobs will be slower than for men in full-time jobs.
There might also be the aspect of security: a woman who is taking care of her kids might not want to exchange the safe current workplace against another one where she might need to have less flexibility, more work, more overtime, etc. So, she probably won’t apply for a better-paid job in a different company out of fear that it won’t be compatible with her current lifestyle.
I experienced this several times as a team manager. I wanted to promote a woman working part-time, give her more responsibility and exposure, but she didn’t want to out of fear that she would have to do longer hours, lose the flexibility to take care of her kids when they need it and generally be more stressed.
Furthermore, we also need to consider that women and men often choose different careers. There are male-dominated, well-paying industries which can be considered as unsuitable careers for women. Jobs in IT, for example, pay really well, yet there are quite a few female software developers, IT project managers, system administrators, etc. Then there are typically female-dominated industries that don’t pay as well.
Lower Starting Salaries
As a team and hiring manager, I also identified another reason for the pay gap: women ask for much lower starting salaries than men. I experienced this so many times amongst male and female applicants of the same age group and for the same position.
My personal experience with my team members, clients, and friends is mainly covering office-related jobs, e.g. in Customer Service, Sales, Project Management, Communications/PR and similar positions, where men and women are usually equally represented. I haven’t really had clients in typically male or typically female-dominated industries, so I wouldn’t be able to say if there is a difference there.
I know from my personal experience as a team manager and as a coach for job applications that salary negotiations are a difficult topic for most women. I understand that. Salary negotiations are uncomfortable. You don’t want to create conflict, especially when starting out in a new job – and salary negotiations can feel just like that.
You might also be at a loss how to argue your case, so it’s easier to settle with what they recommend. Or you might not feel confident enough that you really are worth more, you might feel like an imposter and therefore just go with whatever you are offered.
Here’s the good news: I have a whole lot of advice on how you can improve your salary negotiations and I’ll do this in a miniseries over the next few days. So stay tuned for the next posts, covering topics like how to determine your worth, how to prepare your salary negotiations, how to better negotiate and how to build your case for a pay raise.