Quick and Quintessential Career & Job Tips
Job-hunting tips from the February 28, 2005 issue of QuintZine.
A recent study of 60 interviews with prominent U.S. women regarding their leadership practices by the Wellesley Center for Research on Women revealed:
Throughout their careers, these leading women were tenacious and optimistic:
- They paid little attention to obstacles in their work life.
- Whether they stuck to their original plan in the face of obstacles or revised their strategy, optimism and a sense of mission propelled their actions.
- It is important to note that these personal characteristics are valuable traits in enabling women to break through barriers. The study speculates that if the environment were more welcoming of women’s leadership, other traits might characterize successful leaders.
The strategy these leaders employed to gain visibility, hence credibility, for their work can be summarized as “know and value yourself and let others know.”
- They identified their strengths and capitalized on them, informing others about their ideas and the results that they obtained.
- The comment, “Modesty does not create opportunity,” offered by one of the leaders captures the significance they placed on the need to be assertive in gaining visibility.
Many of the leaders recognized and acknowledged a strong foundation of early support from family and friends, teachers, mentors, or business associates, which they parlayed into a successful focus on following their passions.
- But this experience was not universal, and other participants who did not report such support also achieved extraordinary success.
- While early support for leadership can be helpful, it does not appear to be a requirement for later success.
Follow-up also demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm about working for that employer. Such a small percentage of people actually follow up these days that the candidates who do really distinguish themselves from the rest of the pool. The full guide can be downloaded here.
- The Mars/Venus relationship needs to be top of mind in business negotiations. Communication styles between men and women are different, and as a result, negotiations can be complex. Keep your communication style direct by sharing plans, not concepts. Think collaboration not confrontation.
- Use mentors to help refine your negotiation skills. Given that you will be negotiating with both men and women, pick a mentor from Mars and Venus to get perspective from both sides of the communication spectrum. Practice makes perfect, so practice, practice, practice.
- Women tend to think of getting along vs. getting what they want. Be clear about what you want and practice asking for it in a calm, direct manner. Don’t be confrontational. Getting fired-up and emotional may have an adverse reaction.
- Negotiation is a conversation and you may risk getting off-track. Stay focused; remain on point and on course to avoid a negotiation disaster.
- Gaining buy-in along the way will get you closer to your goal faster. Making sure that the other party is being heard is a sign of respect and will be appreciated. Repeat the points of the other side and use language such as “Let me make sure I completely understand your point.”
- Successful negotiating requires preparation. Be prepared with a strong understanding of your needs and motivations, as well as the other side. Do your research, gather relevant information, and if it’s complicated, get outside expertise from a mentor or colleague.
- Creative solutions are well respected, especially if they demonstrate a strong understanding for the goals of the business. Most points are negotiable and remember; it’s not always about money. Think add-ons, better terms or additional services.
- Starting with your bottom line may close the door on negotiations. Be prepared to compromise and expect the other party to compromise as well.
- Being fair is not a loss. It shows that you are willing to adjust your expectations to meet the needs of the other side. Ask the question, “Why don’t you tell me what you think is fair.” You may be surprised at the answer.
- Negotiating is a process not an event. One conversation may not culminate in a final decision. Be willing to say, “Let me think about that and get back to you in 24 hours.”
Review all our Quick and Quintessential Career & Job Tips.