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Self-Marketing Tips for Women in Engineering and Manufacturing
Having the right technical skills and work experience isn't always enough to win the job. Although top candidates are always in demand in the engineering and manufacturing sector, there is still competition for every role that crops up in the job market. That goes for anyone, but women in manufacturing and engineering have an additional hurdle to jump through.
Although there may be an end in sight for the traditional “boys clubs” that exist in these lines of work, there’s still a lot of progress to be made. Even if she has all the appropriate certifications and skills, some will still doubt a woman’s ability to thrive in this environment.
Because of long-standing stereotypes in addition to a competitive landscape, women need to find their inner salesperson to get noticed.
Marketing yourself is about identifying the needs of your target audience (your prospective employer) and positioning your personal brand to meet that wish list. The ideal candidate needs to offer a close-to-perfect solution to the challenges or needs faced by their potential employer.
Here are six ways to market yourself effectively and win that next engineering or manufacturing role.
1. Understand Your Audience
Women in engineering and manufacturing should make an effort to get to know their target audience – their potential new employer. Do as much research as you can into organizations of interest and discover what they’re looking for in terms of experience, knowledge, and culture.
If possible, speak to an existing or former female employee to get an inside view of the company. Find out what kind of challenges you may face and see if they have any advice that could be helpful to you. Although there have been suggestions in the past that women in these fields adopt a “there can only be one” mentality, the truth is that mentor relationships are very prevalent and extremely helpful between women. Seek that out, no matter what field you’re entering.
If you do reach the interview stage, make sure you fully research the company, so you can tailor your answers (and questions) to their unique or recent business activities. Most organizations make this information available to the public, so it should be easily accessible.
2. Sharpen Your Skills
You always want to put your best foot forward, showing all of your strong points. This is the case for any applicant for a job, but it’s especially important for women in engineering and manufacturing, who are sometimes put under more of a microscope because of cultural norms or history company history. More and more, organizations seem to be moving away from this mentality and shattering those practices, but it’s still good to have in mind.
Therefore, you should reassess your skills regularly to identify any knowledge gaps that could be hampering your career progress. Look into extra training in areas where you feel you lack experience. Were you recently declined a job? Politely ask for feedback from the company or your interviewees about where your résumé or interview performance lacked impact.
If you’re at the top of your game, you will knock potential employers’ socks off every time, and there’s no better feeling than shocking and impressing someone in that situation.
3. Identify Your Unique Selling Points
As a woman in engineering and manufacturing, you’re already bringing a unique perspective to any company you work with. However, your gender is not the only thing you bring to the table.
There are probably many positive aspects to your résumé, but there are usually one or two particular points that make you stand out from competition which you can use in marketing yourself. This could be your particular mix of past work, the combination of your academic training and hands-on experience, or even relevant and intriguing personal interests that position you as someone of integrity, creativity or useful life skills that will enhance your performance on the job. Once you've identified what makes you a strong candidate with an interesting edge, sell these unique attributes in your written applications and interviews with employers.
4. Remember to Sell Your Soft Skills
It’s more than education and experience which makes a candidate ideal. Of course, those traits are paramount, but so are things like communication and teamwork.
Showing that you’re a well-rounded candidate who has exceptional “soft skills,” such as leadership potential and lateral thinking, could set you apart from the rest of the pack.
Do not hesitate to highlight these skills just as much as your technical know-how. Your competition won’t, so you should be singing your own praises as well.
5. Get Up to Date
Keep reading and learning about interesting advancements and developments in the engineering and manufacturing industry. Strong industry knowledge and an awareness of current trends are always appreciated and could help you make a phenomenal first impression.
If you’re worried about being treated a certain way because of your gender, this is a great strategy – come armed with knowledge. As they say, it’ll give you power.
So be sure to form an interesting and wide-reaching view of the engineering and manufacturing market. Go into an interview with a couple timely topics that you can discuss in-depth with your potential employer. If you can begin and maintain a meaningful conversation with your could-be team members or boss, that could make all the difference.
6. Build Your Network
As previously stated, forming relationships and bonds with other women in manufacturing and enineering could really improve your career trajectory. In order to do that, you have to put yourself out there.
Use social media sites like LinkedIn to connect with and maintain relationships with various people in the engineering and manufacturing field. Keep in regular contact and them on any new positions or projects you take on.
Also keep an eye out for networking events – both general and those focused on engineering and manufacturing – and attend them whenever possible. They’re another great avenue to foster relationships and make sure you have people on your side.
Although you may face adversity in the workplace at points in your career, know you have the strength to persevere. Be sure not to compromise your integrity along the way, and always stay true to yourself. If you do that and continue to market yourself properly, you’ll always land on your feet and in the right place.
Check here for more tips on how to stay marketable.