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BY Georgene Huang

Crowdsourcing Career Advice: The Wisdom of Women

Career advice for women

Photo credit: Shutterstock via Forbes

TAGS: Career advice, Negotiating

One of the questions we’ve asked thousands of women in the Fairygodboss community is, “What career advice would give another woman considering a job at your employer?” Everyone’s answers are different, but there are four recurring themes that can help you whether you’re conducting a job search or simply trying to figure out how to better navigate your career.

1. Negotiate your starting salary

It's not surprising that this is one of the most common pieces of advice our community gives. Women at Oracle, and companies as wide-ranging as Microsoft, The Home Depot and Calvin Klein say that other women should “Negotiate their starting salaries.” Often times, this comment in a job review is accompanied by an explanation that small percentage increases in salaries every year are the norm at their employer. Women say things like: “I was just happy to get the job and took the first offer. I should have negotiated for a higher starting salary.” Or this detailed review from a woman at Neilsen Holdings: “Negotiate your pay well when you come into the organization since merit raises are kept tightly to a 2 to 3% budget. HR will say that to grow your pay you should focus on moving toward promotion, but even for promotions HR will typically determine that you already fall in the role’s range and not give you an increase due to the very wide pay bands. HR policy also includes differentiating not only on the percent of your raise but also on the timing. Manager roles and above wait up to 18 months between raises unless you’re the very top rated talent.”

2. Ask for what you want.

It’s not just money that women think others should be more vocal about negotiating. When it comes to things like more work flexibility, getting plum project assignments or reduced travel schedules after having a baby, women in our community tell other women to go for it, even if it seems hard: “Find and own your voice. If there are things that are important to you, negotiate for them. If they are deal-breakers, you decide if it’s important enough for you. Oftentimes it is truly a matter of asking.” Or: “Negotiate what you need/want. Anything is possible. Ask for what you need.” (Wouldn’t you like to know where she works? Spoiler alert: It’s a woman who works at EY).

3. Do your research. 

There is a lot of advice about finding out more about what things are like at a company, in a department or within a certain group before taking a job. Culture is important, and it seems that many women feel burned by the consequences of doing too little due diligence and subsequently finding that their expectations are not met. As one woman writes: “Summer internship. Wish I did more research on the group I joined. Ended up being the only female in my particular group, and was called out as being ‘different’ than the 23-year old analysts I was working alongside during my final summer review.”

4. Speak up if something isn’t right. 

This advice usually takes the form of “Don’t ignore problems and hope they will go away.” In other words, women tell other women to make a change or speak up, rather than stick to a job or put up with something that doesn’t make them happy. “I would not depend on leaving it to the management to get my promotion/raise. I would fight tooth and nail for my dues. I would also speak up about why technical projects went to the men, and why women were kept out of the company’s upcoming strategies.”

While every company and job has it’s differences, it’s fascinating to see that women of all income levels and seniority levels in our community repeatedly share these 4 pieces of advice. If you hesitate to take this advice seriously because these people are perfect strangers making generalizations, consider where you currently get your career advice. According to a recent poll Fairygodboss conducted. 60% of women said that their career advice came from articles and things they read, as opposed to the advice of people they knew, like mentors or sponsors at work, or family and friends.

Fairygodboss survey: where do women get career advice?
Fairygodboss survey: Where do women get career advice?

Whether you’re thinking through strategies to get promoted more quickly, or finding out which departments of companies are the best for the work-life balance you want, other people who’ve lived through those experiences are, by definition, experts. Few of us actually can afford the time or money it takes to get truly personalized advice from career coaches, but the good news is that in the meantime, the wisdom of the crowds may be able to serve you quite well. The voices of millions of employees out there makes every job seeker and career planner’s life just a little bit easier.

This article was originally published on Forbes.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. 
Join us by reviewing your employer!

Related Community Discussions

  • I recently got engaged, will be married October 2017. My fiance and I want to start a family right away. My job does not have paid maternity leave. Would it be premature for me to advocate for paid leave? My initial thought process was to figure this out as soon as possible. Maybe I should start looking for another job; researching other companies I noticed that most (all the one's that I saw) require employees to have been employed for a year before being offered paid maternity leave.

    If I could have my way I would stay where I am at and get paid leave.

    I have a positive relationship with my boss and can talk about this with him, however; he isn't the one who ultimately makes this decision, corporate does.

  • My friend just told me (she was trying to be nice) that I'm limiting my career potential because I don't wear makeup to work. Do you think she's right? Do I need to wear makeup to be "professional?"

  • All women should read the amazing negotiation advice in the book, "Women in Tech: Take your Career to the Next Level" by Tarah Wheeler. I applied the advice in a recent negotiation round and got a 15% bump in salary!

    Anybody have good advice for how to request a raise that's worked?

    Great article here: "http://www.geekwire.com/2016/book-excerpt-4-negotiating-tactics/"

  • I am highly skilled with a background in marketing management (MBA in Finace and Marketing), process improvement (Six Sigma), project management and research. I have been ranked number 3 in quality performance and recognized by a CEO for my innovativeness. I have taken serval (3) years off from the corporate environment to take care a relative that has significant chronic medical issues. I am ready to go back to work, but I have contraint. I want to be available - so I do not want to travel more than 20%. I do not want to work extreme hours - I want a balanced life. I am trying to relocate to the Raleigh/Durham area in North Carolina, so that I can oversee my relative's care, but I realize that this may not be possible.

    Watching this health crisis unfold has taught me that I do not need to make 6 figures. I want work that makes a difference and pays well. I am not a spring chicken (59 years olds). I documents that show the quality of my work.

    Where do I find a company that will provide the mental stimulation and flexibility. I like to think, solve hard problem and significantly change companies in positive way. I like the think tank environment.

    How do I search for and find a good fit?

  • Hi Fairygodbosses! I am writing here on behalf of my mom because I love and want the best for her. She has been working at a non-profit for the last 9 years and has become miserable at work. She wants a career change but doesn't know what she wants to do or how to get there. She is only now making the salary she should be making at 58 years old and I think that holds her back from taking a chance and leaving her company. Do any fairy godbosses here have some advice or resources for a middle-aged woman looking for a career change (and feels like a life change)? How can my mom build her confidence and self-worth to go after what truly makes her happy (or at least start trying to figure it out?) Appreciate any of your thoughts.

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Crowdsourcing Career Advice: The Wisdom of Women

Crowdsourcing Career Advice: The Wisdom of Women

One of the questions we’ve asked thousands of women in the Fairygodboss community is, “What career advice would give another woman considering...

One of the questions we’ve asked thousands of women in the Fairygodboss community is, “What career advice would give another woman considering a job at your employer?” Everyone’s answers are different, but there are four recurring themes that can help you whether you’re conducting a job search or simply trying to figure out how to better navigate your career.

1. Negotiate your starting salary

It's not surprising that this is one of the most common pieces of advice our community gives. Women at Oracle, and companies as wide-ranging as Microsoft, The Home Depot and Calvin Klein say that other women should “Negotiate their starting salaries.” Often times, this comment in a job review is accompanied by an explanation that small percentage increases in salaries every year are the norm at their employer. Women say things like: “I was just happy to get the job and took the first offer. I should have negotiated for a higher starting salary.” Or this detailed review from a woman at Neilsen Holdings: “Negotiate your pay well when you come into the organization since merit raises are kept tightly to a 2 to 3% budget. HR will say that to grow your pay you should focus on moving toward promotion, but even for promotions HR will typically determine that you already fall in the role’s range and not give you an increase due to the very wide pay bands. HR policy also includes differentiating not only on the percent of your raise but also on the timing. Manager roles and above wait up to 18 months between raises unless you’re the very top rated talent.”

2. Ask for what you want.

It’s not just money that women think others should be more vocal about negotiating. When it comes to things like more work flexibility, getting plum project assignments or reduced travel schedules after having a baby, women in our community tell other women to go for it, even if it seems hard: “Find and own your voice. If there are things that are important to you, negotiate for them. If they are deal-breakers, you decide if it’s important enough for you. Oftentimes it is truly a matter of asking.” Or: “Negotiate what you need/want. Anything is possible. Ask for what you need.” (Wouldn’t you like to know where she works? Spoiler alert: It’s a woman who works at EY).

3. Do your research. 

There is a lot of advice about finding out more about what things are like at a company, in a department or within a certain group before taking a job. Culture is important, and it seems that many women feel burned by the consequences of doing too little due diligence and subsequently finding that their expectations are not met. As one woman writes: “Summer internship. Wish I did more research on the group I joined. Ended up being the only female in my particular group, and was called out as being ‘different’ than the 23-year old analysts I was working alongside during my final summer review.”

4. Speak up if something isn’t right. 

This advice usually takes the form of “Don’t ignore problems and hope they will go away.” In other words, women tell other women to make a change or speak up, rather than stick to a job or put up with something that doesn’t make them happy. “I would not depend on leaving it to the management to get my promotion/raise. I would fight tooth and nail for my dues. I would also speak up about why technical projects went to the men, and why women were kept out of the company’s upcoming strategies.”

While every company and job has it’s differences, it’s fascinating to see that women of all income levels and seniority levels in our community repeatedly share these 4 pieces of advice. If you hesitate to take this advice seriously because these people are perfect strangers making generalizations, consider where you currently get your career advice. According to a recent poll Fairygodboss conducted. 60% of women said that their career advice came from articles and things they read, as opposed to the advice of people they knew, like mentors or sponsors at work, or family and friends.

Fairygodboss survey: where do women get career advice?
Fairygodboss survey: Where do women get career advice?

Whether you’re thinking through strategies to get promoted more quickly, or finding out which departments of companies are the best for the work-life balance you want, other people who’ve lived through those experiences are, by definition, experts. Few of us actually can afford the time or money it takes to get truly personalized advice from career coaches, but the good news is that in the meantime, the wisdom of the crowds may be able to serve you quite well. The voices of millions of employees out there makes every job seeker and career planner’s life just a little bit easier.

This article was originally published on Forbes.

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. 
Join us by reviewing your employer!

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