Though equality for women is a hot topic in many boardrooms across the world, there are still fields that are more difficult for women to break into due to the historical makeup of a mostly male workforce, or lack of a company wanting to hire them though they possess the skills required to do the job. These industries typically have high paying opportunities open and an urgent need to staff them but not enough people applying to fill them, making them appealing for ambitious women who want to get ahead in business.
Here are five tips for women who want to be hired into a typically male-dominated industry.
Choose the Right Industry
Before setting your hopes on a particular industry, be sure it is growing and presents opportunities for the future. One such field is cybersecurity and IT, which helps individuals and companies protect private information from hackers. Over the first six months of 2019, data breaches exposed an estimated 4 billion records to cyber criminals. This number is poised to grow as time goes on, and cyber criminals grow more resourceful and crafty in their methods. This creates a demand for more qualified professionals who know how to combat these sophisticated criminals.
Connect with Management Figures
Having the right people in your network can open up more opportunities for you in the future as you try to get to the next step in your career. Try to get to know people at all stages of their careers and connect with established professionals who can mentor and inspire you through women’s associations, continuing education classes, or industry related events. There are people all the way up the ladder who are interested in what you can bring to the table. A recent survey shows that just over half of the CEOs surveyed identify developing the next generation of leaders as a major challenge they face.
Maintain a Clean Background
Certain industries will require you to pass a background check, drug test, and credit check before they offer you a position. If you have past charges on your background, be prepared for them to come up and think about what you will say when they do, as some companies will not immediately disqualify you from employment due to a minor charge. Remember that your spending can impact your credit score negatively, and outstanding debt makes up 30% of the total score.
Seek Proper Training
If you are going to be one of the few women in a workplace full of men, you’re likely to be under a higher level of scrutiny than others. Prepare yourself for working in an industrial environment by being sure your technical skills are on point. Practice using the tools of the trade, take classes to further your knowledge, or come in early to get some extra on the job training. This will help you keep your skills sharp and reduce the chance of any errors being made when you’re on the job.
Be Ready to Handle Conflict
Regardless of industry, you can be sure you’ll have to handle conflict with someone in the workplace sooner or later. When an issue or difference of opinions happens, try to offer solutions and ask helpful questions that move the situation towards a resolution. By handling these situations up front instead of letting things fester, you’ll gain a reputation as someone who is straightforward and easy to talk to.
While it may initially be challenging, making your way in the industry that interests you can help you have a rewarding and fulfilling career.