We all do big efforts to get noticed in our company, industry, and technical community. However, we face many difficulties and challenges in order to do so. In April’s IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference, many speakers said they often felt unnoticed among their male colleagues and within their organization. To assist women increase their position, attendees were given a booklet done by the National Center for Women & Information Technology, which declines activities that highly successful women do. Hereunder are some tips …
- Work on projects with direct business impact. Always go for roles that are strategically crucial to the business. Do not forget to be clear about how your work fits in with the company’s objectives.
- Take risks and step outside your comfort zone. Look for opportunities that will help you develop professionally. According to many researches, women can be tougher critics of their work than men can, and this can stop them from applying for positions even though they are highly qualified.
- Choose or ask for assignments that allow you to demonstrate your technical abilities. Search for opportunities through the organization where you can employ your technical strengths to add value to a team or department.
- Seek mentors and sponsors who have organizational influence. Look for mentors who can help advice you on your career and the company’s culture. Moreover, search for sponsors who can advocate for you, making sure that your work is visible to influential people within the company. For instance, Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich and Cisco’s Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer Pankaj Patel mentored and are mentoring more and more women.
- Develop a strong network and continually look for ways to diversify it. Cross-functional and cross-organizational projects help close your skill and knowledge gaps. Therefore, do contribute in them
- Look for internal and external opportunities to speak and present. You will be able to demonstrate leadership and to raise your visibility.
- Serve as an internal advocate and mentor others—both men and women. For Kristen Pressner, head of Roche Diagnostics’ human resources department for Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, “There is no perfect female leader role model. If not you as a mentor for other women, than who?”. Mentoring can be a rewarding tool to develop professionally, to grow your leadership skills, and to be recognized for your contributions.
- Know what you are good at and promote that about yourself. Ask the persons you trust around you (mentors, managers, and colleagues) about ways to pitch yourself. Find out a concise way to show your strengths in a variety of situations.
- Try to work with and for managers who have a reputation for considering their employees’ perspectives, needs, and talents in decision-making.
- Keep up with emerging trends and technologies so that you can take advantage of key opportunities when they arise. Make sure your boss is aware of the skills you want to develop. Check that your company offers support to attend professional development opportunities.