What are the most important skill sets to thrive in a male-dominated industry?

While women have undoubtedly made significant strides in the working world, there are still a number of industries where women make up a very slim minority. These include technology, science, sports, and web development. If you’re a woman employed in one of these sectors surrounded by men, you might feel both lonely and intimidated. It won’t be easy but you are more than capable of succeeding in your field. The way you handle working in a male-dominated environment can determine both your happiness and opportunities for advancement. Read on for the essential skills you need to survive and thrive in a male-dominated industry.

 

Speak Your Mind 

Naturally your male colleagues may present themselves as more knowledgeable and experienced (mansplaining much?), but it’s important to not let this dim your inner fire. You were hired for this job for a reason, you occupy a vital role within your team, and you are more than capable of coming up with amazing ideas and taking charge on different projects. So don’t be afraid to let your thoughts be known during meetings and express your opinions. Let your voice be heard among your superiors and colleagues and you’ll establish your role as an important contributor for projects and improvements. 

Develop a Relationship with Your Superiors 

As they say, it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know. Start developing a relationship with your boss as soon as you can with the hopes of turning this connection into a trusted and professional mentorship. This gives you the chance to learn the ropes from your boss and also gain the necessary support for when a promotion or new opportunity arises. While it shouldn’t be this way (times are still changing), it’s highly recommended for a woman in a male-dominated industry to have a mentor vouch for her competency and make her more competitive for advancement. 

Make Friends with Your Colleagues 

There’s nothing worse than alienation or a hostile work environment. Understand that being surrounded by men will subject you to rude humor and a different way of communicating. That doesn’t mean you need to be okay with any form of sexual harassment (report any incidents to human resources right away) but it does mean that you need to accept the way your male colleagues behave as part of your environment. Don’t overreact and your colleagues may begin to feel comfortable and more trusting around you. If many of your coworkers are going out for drinks after work, join in and get to know them more. Not only will you find common ground and 

make connections with your coworkers, you may find it easier to be more assertive and communicate more effectively with them. 


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