Whether you are just starting out or returning to work, the questions that women (and men) often face in the job world follow a recurring pattern: What is important? What do I have to pay attention to? How do I follow a successful career path? I would like to present to you the first part of my personal career ABC and thus address and answer some of the above questions.
A – Authenticity
Showing authenticity starts in the job interview. Of course, you should show your best side, but always remain true to yourself. Should you not be a workhorse who devotes his life and free time to the company, then do not present yourself as one. Someone who is aware of his strengths and knows what he wants also radiates this knowledge. Be clear about what you are willing to give and don’t poker over it, because if you stay true to yourself, you can only win.
B – Load capacity
Fewer employers put it in your job openings, they all require it. Being resilient should not be considered too negative, in my opinion. Often this terminology is associated with stress, fatigue, and complete exhaustion, but this is not in your interest, nor is it in the interest of your employer. Just take a look, for example, at what you can already manage to do within one day: Household, shopping, family life, maintain partnership/friendships and still find time for hobbies and yourself, isn’t that amazing? In stressful situations in which a special degree of resilience is required of you, imagine what positive opportunities this situation offers you: A successfully completed project, an enriching presentation or an interesting new contact. You will see, the burden will be less if you have the goal and its positive effect in mind and not the (sometimes) arduous way to get there.
C – Charisma
An often underestimated characteristic is charisma. Many rely only on your qualifications and your perfectly worded application, but these two criteria do not make the actual difference. Whether at trade fairs, congresses or in a job interview, if you are perceived as a charismatic and open-minded person, your chances of getting to know someone better or even of being hired increase many times over. What you need for this? Only themselves. Eye contact, a firm handshake or a friendly smile, and you have already taken the first step in the right direction. Tips on how to network properly and test your charisma, can also be found in my article “7 Tips for Successful Networking“.
D – Assertiveness
Asserting yourself is one of the most important credos in the professional world. However, this is not about having the last word on every decision and making your opinion known everywhere. If you are in a leadership position, make sure you strike the right balance between listening and performing. Listening to what the customer wants from you and doing what is possible within your scope of action.
It does you very little good to push your employees to the edge of their capabilities just because you absolutely have to finish this project. However, a laissez-faire attitude will not get you anywhere either. The middle ground here is to meet the customer’s needs by providing ‘gentle’ guidance. Provide certain guidelines and lead the first brainstorming session as a facilitator, for example. You should always give your employees the opportunity to find their own position in this new project independently. In this way, you don’t give up the reins, you assert yourself and the customer’s goals, and at the same time you make your employees feel valued and needed.
E – Own initiative
The best way to get the attention of those around you professionally is to be proactive. You don’t have to be up front and always be the first to shout “here” when someone is needed for a new project. It is important to align your own resources and interests with what is needed. For example, suggest to your supervisor that he or she send you to a training course or ask him or her directly to apply for an education voucher or education check.
F – Flexibility
Flexibility is an undisputed law in the professional world, which in today’s world is partially broken by options such as home office or part-time work. Nonetheless, a time-flexible employee is a business asset. If you are starting a new job as an entry-level employee, you are advised to “sell” time flexibility as one of your strengths. Even within a partnership, concrete and planned arrangements can create a way to accommodate you, your family and your employer. The following always applies: Get support: grandparents, child minders, friends or nice neighbors, often people are happy to help and you always get the opportunity to return the favor with a nice gesture.
G – Boundaries
Urgently set limits for yourself! Don’t look longingly at the calendar in anticipation of crossing off each day until your next vacation. After you have set yourself firm limits, you should urgently keep to them. No “oh-I’m-doing-this-quickly”, because this very quickly becomes a habit and not only for you, but also for others who know that they can still quietly occupy you with a few little things. Whether these limits are expressed in the form of fixed working hours (without overtime or similar), fixed breaks or a fixed task (e.g. a project) is irrelevant here.
H – Devotion
For me, one of the most important criteria in the job: dedication. Often, people start a new job to avoid financial worries, to develop professionally, or simply to be able to list a good company name on their resume. However, the really important thing is disregarded here: The fire. The passion and dedication with which you set out on a project, knowing that you are determined to make it a success because you care about the subject. Anyone can go to work, burning for work, that is a process that develops increasingly in the course of our lives. You can start this process, for example, by making a list of topics that are of particular interest to you. Perhaps some of you can be reconciled with your education or career path, and if not, that would be an approach to pursue further education.
I – Inspiration
Let your work inspire you. It may not be advisable to follow the same standards for your new project as for the previous ones. Go new ways, try new methods, work graphically instead of tabularly, for example. Host business breakfasts. With these, the weekly meeting becomes a productive pleasure and you will see, with something delicious in your stomach, you suddenly come up with the most interesting ideas, which you might not have expressed right away in a previous, fixed setting.
About the author
Kinga Bartczak advises, coaches and writes on female empowerment, new work culture, organizational development, systemic coaching and personal branding. She is also the managing director of UnternehmerRebellen GmbH and publisher of the FemalExperts magazine .