Although women in the workplace have come on in leaps and bounds since the dark days of the past, let’s face it – there is still a lot of work to do. Sadly, there are plenty of industries that, for many different reasons, are completely dominated by men to this day. And if you’re the kind of girl that loves technology, engineering, or just straight leadership in any industry, it’s a tough world out there right now.
But you can survive – and, indeed, thrive. Here are a few of the things you’ll need to do if you want to excel in a male-dominated industry. Let’s get started with the absolute basics.
Be really good
In male-dominated industries, you are going to face more than just standard competition. You’ll probably encounter a certain amount of sexism, too – whether it’s conscious or not, you often find that jobs go to the boys. The only way to make a strong impression is to be exceptional at what you do, in more areas than you might think. Let’s say you want to get into engineering. An engineering management Masters might be useful for you to prove you have business knowledge, as well as technical acumen, and can help you stand out from the crowd. Ultimately, you have to be the best you can possibly be.
Put yourself out there
Women tend to think a lot more about consequences than men, and you will often see this play out in the workplace. A lot of men, for example, will be happy to stand up, present in front of a crowd, and take risks when it comes to putting themselves out there. A lot of women, however, can worry about the way they are portraying themselves. At the end of the day, it’s not personal – it’s only business. And in understanding this fact, you will find yourself handling the pressures of advanced roles with a lot more ease than before.
Cut to the chase
We all know that the average woman is a better communicator than the average man regarding our personal lives. But sometimes, this fact can go against you in a male-dominated business environment. Most men like to be as brief as possible when communicating anything, so it’s important to be flexible, and learn how to talk in a similar language.
Some women might feel they have to bend over backwards to excel in a male-dominated industry. But the truth is that doing this will cause you more problems than are worth your while. Say ‘yes’ to the projects you can manage and always put yourself forward for anything that will help you cement your reputation. But don’t become the woman that always says ‘yes’ to everything. Knowing when to push back during those times you don’t have the time to help is important in establishing yourself as a serious professional.
Have a role model
Finally, it can be tough to reach the top of a male-dominated industry as a woman. But there are plenty of role models out there to inspire you. Find other confident women who have already tasted success, and work out how they made it. Implementing their strategies will help you face – and defeat – your personal challenges.