Written by Penelope Farthing
2019 has been the year of the level up. Relationships, finances, choices, you name it, ladies everywhere are committing themselves to changing their state in life by changing their mind. But what about leveling up professionally? Work life can be just as important as your personal life, so it’s very much worth taking the level up approach to your job. Here are some tactics you can employ, no matter your employment.
When I first started in the corporate world, the first word of advice I got was to look the part. I took that to heart and am now the proud owner of a curated work-wardrobe capsule collection that ensures I look great, and I don’t have to think too hard about my outfits every morning. “But that’s so shallow!” you might say. It isn’t fair that we’re judged on our appearance rather than the quality of our work. Unfortunately, people will see you before they see what you can do, so put the effort in to look your best.
If you wear a uniform to work, you can still present your best self. If you’re allowed, add a dainty accessory, a dab of lipstick or a perfectly polished manicure. And no matter where you work, make sure your clothes are ironed! A wrinkly outfit is never flattering and reflects poorly on you, even if you’re the most profitable employee around.
Did a boss or client say something incredibly nice about you? Can your peers rely on your talents without fail? Write everything down in a secure place to refer to later, like when it’s time for a promotion! Make sure you keep up with contacts you’ve done good work for so you can get glowing references down the line. Having documented evidence to back up your skills and the indubitable benefits you bring will go a lot further than you just saying “I do good work so I should get that raise”. Remember, show is better than tell. Conversely, if you are being slighted in any way, keep records of that as well, with witnesses if possible to corroborate your story.
A statistic I saw recently said that women will apply for a job when they meet all or nearly all of the criteria. Our male counterparts will go for that same job with just over half the desired criteria. Confidence is key! Apply to that dream job, even if you don’t think you’ll get it. At the very least you’ll get valuable insight on different companies’ interview processes and can get practice answering tricky interview questions.
Another area where we ladies fall down professionally is not negotiating. We don’t negotiate the offers that a new employer makes, which partially accounts for the gender pay gap. Don’t just say “okay” to the first offer you’re made, speak up! Sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and PayScale are great tools to use to get approximate salaries for similar positions in your area. Use your documentation from #2 above and show why you deserve that raise or promotion, and do it with confidence.
Men can be straight up aggressive in the workplace and face no repercussions. In fact, they may be rewarded for it. But for us, being assertive is often misconstrued as being catty or bitchy. Find a balance and use your voice to your benefit. You can be thought of as catty with a 20% salary bump. Meow meow.
A post I saw on Simone56’s Facebook page made reference to the following: an employer can terminate you without notice. But when you terminate them, you’re required to give at least 2 weeks’ notice so they can work on finding your replacement and maintain their efficiency. If you’re constantly being overlooked for that promotion or denied that raise, chuck up the deuces and start looking for your next opportunity.
You never know where your next opportunity might come from. Networking can open far more doors that your degrees and experience. As many before me have said, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Go to that after-work meetup, attend every conference you can. For the introverts, try and schedule focused one-on-one meetings with key people so you don’t have to spend valuable time making awkward small talk.
What tactics have you used to level up your employment? Do let us know in the comments below!