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The Changing Female Power Player

Shoulder pads. A pantsuit. Hair twisted tightly into a low bun. This used to be the look of the working woman who wanted to be taken seriously in the professional environment. However, this dynamic is changing in the modern-day workplace.

We live in a new culture that embraces and celebrates diversity. 50 years ago, it would have been most beneficial to subscribe to a masculine archetype of the company atmosphere. The modern environment reflects, however, how we have evolved past this to seek and embrace the unique experiences and skill sets that each individual has to offer. In this way, companies benefit from a vast makeup that better reflects their markets. People are allowed and encouraged to contribute their ideas and input more freely. Companies value the perspectives and potential of women.

Within the past decade we’ve seen a massive shift in professional collaboration. Exponential advances in technology allow for a less interpersonal work and social environment. In other words, people are working more individually and separately. This is both good and bad for women. Women can benefit from being evaluated more objectively based on their work. More flexible work hours allow them to balance work and family life more seamlessly. However, women may struggle with getting their distinguishable projects noticed when they are evaluated over an impersonal source such as email.

Here are four ways women can navigate their progressing career landscape and emerge as power players:

1. Look up. Find female role models and mentors in all areas of proximity, from your family member to your superior to Sheryl Sandberg. Each encounter will bring new lessons.

2. Look around. Seek out peers for mutual guidance and support. You may find these women in your community, church or book club. There are also a variety of organizations that can help, such as Women in Technology International and American Association of University Women.

3. Shine. Include unique character traits and expertise on your resume and elaborate during your interview. There are probably thousands of others with your degree, but rest assured that you offer what none of them can: you. At work, volunteer for projects that cater to your skill set, but also don’t be afraid to take on stuff that will present a learning curve. Your fresh perspective may prove valuable to the team.

4. Get personal. Make an effort to regularly check in with peers and supervisors about your projects in person. There is no other way to capture undivided attention of your efforts, if only for a few moments. This isn’t a recommendation to brag, but rather to open an opportunity to mutually acknowledge and comment on the work of the team members. Understandably, using email and text for this is far more convenient, which is why the vast majority do. However, try not to run with the pack by offering your own individual flavor.

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