The Young Professional Woman’s Competitive Edge Over Men
Martin Yate CPC
Knock ’em Dead 2013, The Ultimate Job Search Guide
© 2012, all right reserved, used with permission
Someone recently asked me, “Do young professional women have a competitive edge over same age men?“ Once I stopped laughing, I replied, “Do you really have to ask?”
From as early as kindergarten, girls seem to take growing up more seriously: they want to be adults and they consistently model themselves on the behaviors of adults. On the other hand, our culture encourages boys to model themselves on Marvel comics and the portrayal of cartoon invincibility.
When the time comes to cross that final bridge into adulthood and begin a professional career, young women are also more likely to take the time to educate themselves on how best to make that crossing. Meanwhile, the boys are psychologically still in Florida, whooping it up in a Spring Break beer commercial.
Women take their professional lives more seriously from the very beginning, working harder to develop the technical skills of professional competency. Without testosterone to get in the way, they are willing to listen and learn; plus they pay much closer attention to dress, grooming, and social graces. All these efforts pay off with superior written, verbal, and interpersonal skills.
Even when a considerable number of workplaces, especially in the Southeast, and perhaps other parts of the country, continue an overtly sexist management bias in favor of chubby-cheeked penis-owners-with-schoolboy-haircuts, there is still a distinct window of opportunity for alert young professional women, because:
· Boys are often slower to grow up and recognize how the professional world works before they can become serious competitors.
· The majority of your female peers are similarly unaware of this window of opportunity.
You have an edge because you are better informed. Your awareness, coupled with an intelligent plan of attack, can give you a head start on career success.
Successful Careers Don’t Just Happen
The willingness to give more of yourself in order to get more out of your life is a key ingredient in every professional success story. When you invest yourself in becoming the best you can be in your profession, and you learn the specific secrets and strategies for professional success, the early years of your career can be full of seized opportunities. There are three complimentary skill sets that underlie all professional success, and will carry you from the entry-level to the executive suite.
Develop Transferable Skills
Transferable skills are so called because they are the skills that allow you to do your job, whatever it is, well. They can travel with you from job to job and even cross the boundaries of career change. Transferable skills include time-management and organization, communication, problem solving, creativity, teamwork, and leadership. And because they are the skills that allow you to be successful in any job and at any level, they are the foundation of success, no matter what you do now or how high you will ultimately climb.
Management Your Career
In a world without job security, being able to manage the twists and turns of a fifty-year work-life, is critical to your long-term career success. The bad news is that no one has taught you these skills; no one even told you they existed or were important.
The good news is that with understanding, you can change the trajectory of your professional future. Four of the most important career-management skills that underlie long-term professional success are:
· What it takes to get job interviews
· How to turn job Interviews into job offers
· How to start a new job on the right foot
· How to get into the inner circle…where job security, raises and promotions live [AU: This “career management skills” thing is a new wrinkle, and I think may be useful in upcoming editions of KED books.]
Build Intelligent Professional Networks
When you become connected to members of relevant professional online communities and local chapters of professional associations, you will get to know and be known by the most committed and best-connected people in your profession. In a career where constant change is a fact of life, knowing committed and connected people is critical to the smooth execution of your career plan.
The people most likely to become mentors and offer valuable advice, job leads, and job offers are professionals who hold titles one, two, and three levels above your own. A smart young professional who starts building contacts with both these titles and her similarly committed peers is building an ever-expanding social network of high-value contacts whose seniority can help professional growth throughout an entire career.
Commit to Success
Make yours a successful and fulfilled life by leveraging one of the best windows of professional opportunity you will ever have. In the professional world, a strong start delivers a lead that is hard to catch up with. Grab this opportunity and run with it.