BY Alice Williams
Why Millennial Women Should Seek Out Mentors
Photo credit: USEmbMalta via Foter.com / CC BY-ND
Women are a huge force in the workforce and all eyes these days seem to be turned to millennial women. 68% of millennial women are in the workforce, women are more ambitious than ever before, and the number of women working has grown by approximately 17% from 1950 to 2000.
What's the issue?
Despite the strides that women have made and the ambitious nature of millennial women, 44% stated that they had a fear of failing or a lack of confidence which served as roadblocks to achieving their professional goals, according to a poll from Time Magazine and Real Simple. A study from Levo reported that 63% of millennial women felt uncomfortable negotiating and 55% did not want to come across as pushy. Clearly, millennial women still face cultural and social norms which continue to exert an enormous amount of influence on their lives and careers. Despite the enormous progress that women have made in the past century, clearly millennial women still find it difficult to assert themselves in the workplace without guidance and mentoring.
The importance of a mentor
When it comes to building confidence and seeking opportunities to further your career, it pays (literally) for millennial women to seek out a mentor. And in turn, we need more experienced women to offer their help to younger women.
I've heard countless stories of women who knew they were earning less than their male counterparts yet never once considered asking for a raise. A mentor can help you achieve your career goals by helping you develop your skills, provide valuable networking opportunities and offering insights developed over years of experience. For women in male dominated industries, Ellyn Shook, CHRO of Accenture advised that women should â€œseek a wide range of mentors, including men!â€ in a recent Twitter chat.
Furthermore, a mentor will be able to say what needs to be said to you, which is something your friends, co-workers and boss may be uncomfortable doing. A mentor will provide constructive criticism and feedback that can help you learn and grow from your shortcomings. Your mentor will be the one pushing you to challenge yourself and refusing you to let you quit.
Where to find a mentor
This is one of the biggest dilemmas millennial women face: where do they find mentors and more importantly, can and how should they ask to be mentored? Clearly, the most logical prospects may be employed at your own company. The challenge there may be that you have to reach outside your own department and will be making a â€œcold callâ€, but it is worth trying, especially if you have been admiring someone specific, from afar. There are also numerous off-line communities and networking and Meet-Up groups for women in most major metropolitan areas.
In our digital age, it is smart to take advantage of online communities, if there are no immediate candidates in your work environment. Levo League's core feature is a mentoring platform where members can browse selections of mentors and directly ask them questions or join in on weekly video chats. Glassbreakers is a peer-mentorship platform for women for those of looking for advice and to network with those who agree to be â€œmatchedâ€ with you. Inbound.org, an online hangout spot for marketers hopes to become a source for marketing professionals to find mentors, which is a great way to find industry specific contacts and mentors.
As a millennial woman, take advantage of the fact that you have grown up with social media and use it to network and find a mentor. You'd be hard-pressed to find an influential person in your field without a Twitter account. Making the initial point of contact can be as simple as tweeting a "Hello, I'm a huge fan of what you've done at your company!"
While women have come a long way, it is up to millennial women to continue striving for progress and equality in the workplace. Let us work to close the gender gap by empowering each other to seek out mentors to help us push past any issues we may face, whether they be culturally imposed or personal.
Alice Williams is a communications professional and freelance writer, covering topics related to business, tech and social media. She has an MA in Communication Studies with an emphasis in corporate and organizational communication. In her spare time, she blogs over at Honestly Fitness where she shares advice on wellness and how to live a healthy lifestyle despite the pressures of everyday life.
Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women.
Photo credit: © W. Heiber Fotostudio / Adobe Stock
By Georgene Huang
Microsoft CEO Explains Why It Mattered To Him That His Mom Took Him To Work
Photo credit: © Rob / Adobe Stock
GE’s ‘If You Can See It, You Can Be It’ Initiative Helps Women Get Promoted
Photo credit: © David Pereiras / Adobe Stock
5 Reasons Women Make Great Leaders
Photo credit: Photos of Women at Zynga group, courtesy of Zynga
Zynga: Where Women Thrive in Silicon Valley
Related Community Discussions
I am trying to change career paths. I was laid off in Nov. 2016. I spoke with a master resume writer yesterday who recommended an entirely new resume, LinkedIn overhaul, valuation letter and summary/biography all for close to $3000. I also received a call for an interview for a part-time job, $10/hour, no benefits. Needless to say I burst into tears by the end of the day.
I had high hope when I obtained my law degree (especially after working full-time & attending night classes). I've tried contacting the law school and my undergrad career centers but have received only nominal assistance. They both wished me luck, gave me login's to their job portals and had nothing more to suggest.
Someone mentioned networking & I agree that is an option but here in Michigan is comes with a fee to attend events, seminars or join associations. I understand we are all trying to make money but I graduated from law school during the recession and have 6 figures in student loans. I also am running out of unemployment.
The master resume writer explained only 15% of people get hired from online applications. Is that true? If so then why are we even bothering with an online system at all? She suggested I find the hiring manager & connect with that person. The hiring manager is sometimes 2 people deep in the company so how do I find the person who told HR that they need a person for X job?
I've reached out to people on LinkedIn and have not gotten much response or advice. Are there any mentors or HR people that can suggest anything that is free? My mom thinks I should go back to school but with a BA and JD that I am still paying for adding to the debt with no promises that another degree will land me a job doesn't seem wise.
I am frustrated, disheartened and angry that the process of finding a job has become so convoluted but understand why it has. I've read so many articles on LinkedIn that they conflict with one another...you need a cover letter, no you need a pain letter, don't bother you don't need these because HR won't read it. Your resume needs skills, don't list your skills, list dates, don't list dates, take off references. Which article do I believe? Adding insult to injury the unemployment agency here requires your resume to be uploaded to the talent network. Do you know what companies contacted me expressing interest in my skill-set? Tru-Green lawn care as a fertilizer sprayer and a local manufacture as a line-worker. Is that all I am capable of and are they even reading my resume?
If there is anyone out there who can help please respond and as 1 talk-show host says everyday at the end of her show remember to "be king to one another".
I am trying to get back to work after being a caregiver for parent with Alzheimer's. Am dealing with horrible age bias/discrimination. Need help from exec-level professionals.
Hello everyone. I'm trying to attend more tech conferences in 2017 but my budget just doesn't allow for a lot of it. Every event seems to cost a lot and I'd love to attend more. Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas for what conferences to attend that are more cost-effective as well as how to get discounted tickets anywhere?
I believe that the common day to day issues of sexism (too small to call people out on) wear women down more than the big problems. I've also seen men (who were previously oblivious) become great advocates for women when these situations were pointed out to them.
I am working on a virtual reality program, which share some of the common problems women run across, training the mind to recognize the problem. I'm looking for some of the common issues people run across. Personal experiences, research you've read, anything would be greatly appreciated! Either reply, or email: info@socialQVR.com
VR has a huge potential for remapping neural training, and I want to make sure I'm drawing from the wealth of communal knowledge, not just my own experience.
How do I get a job at Apple? Every time I apply to a position I feel like my resume disappears in the "cloud".