Focus on what you’re good at
“Follow your passion” is a cliché, but for women it might be better to choose a career that uses their best skills – instead of their passion. Success can come from refining the skills that you already possess, rather than worrying if your job is right for you. Focusing on your best skills and drawing confidence from knowing that you are good at your job can help you thrive at work.
We know we can’t be good at everything, so it is still a good idea to practise doing things you lack confidence in. But when it comes to putting yourself forward for an opportunity, whether you are negotiating a promotion, training or more responsibility – lead with your best skills and then talk about the skills you are developing. You will naturally have more confidence in discussing the areas that you know you are good at, and those you have repeatedly practised.
Recognise the value of your soft skills
Research shows that women are likely to be better listeners and collaborators – so you should make the most of these skills in the workplace. Being welcoming and sociable is essential to sustain strong business relationships, so focus on building a social network at work to highlight these skills.
Likewise, when it comes to interviews and appraisals, focus on emphasising your soft skills such as being a strong communicator, or a good team player – and make sure you are able to explain why they are valuable to the business.
Life skills count for a lot and an employer will not necessarily just be looking for someone who can get the job done, but will also fit in with their culture and gel with work colleagues. So, draw confidence from emphasising social skills to show you are a well-rounded individual.
Put yourself forward
In the workplace, women are less likely to put themselves forward for opportunities, as they doubt their capability more so than men. When it comes to appraisals, this can mean that they are overlooked for progression.
To counter this, it’s a good idea to consciously put yourself forward for opportunities – whether it is leading on a new project, attending an event or organising the office party. Doing this means you are more likely to be noticed, and it will give you tangible examples to draw on during job interviews and appraisals, meaning you’re more likely to stand out and succeed.
We know the world needs more female managers, leaders and chief executives. However, we also know that not everyone wants a top job. The point is, regardless of what people’s aspirations are, we need to help women of all ages reach their goals, and I believe the key to that is by building career confidence.