back to top

32 Career Tips Every Woman Should Know

You're not bossy, you're the boss.

Posted on

We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the career tips they thought every woman should know. Here are the results.

1. Change up your vocabulary.

NBC

"Kill the word ‘just’. You’re not ‘just’ emailing, you’re emailing. You’re not ‘just’ asking a question, you’re asking a question. The word ‘just’ shows a lack of self-confidence; you don’t have to apologise for doing your job." – hjj2

"A professor with decades of field experience once told me to refer to myself as a 'woman' and not a 'girl' because I would be respected significantly more by my peers and superiors." – kellies481eed797

2. Don't apologise for doing your job.

"My boss once said to me, 'Don't apologise for doing your job.' As in, 'Sorry to be a pain, but I need XYZ info...' You don't need to apologise for doing your job. If someone owes you something, why are you apologising to them? Do what you need to do to get your job done, and if other people are holding you up, escalate it to your boss or theirs." – Aubrey Walter, Facebook

3. But do know when to apologise.

youtube.com

"If you mess up, apologise. Own your mistake and let your manager know how you'll do it differently next time. If you deny making the mistake you will make yourself look like a chronic problem instead of an employee who can learn and grow." – Julie Magliocco, Facebook

"Own up to your mistakes. Your boss will respect you more if you speak to him/her right away. Everyone makes mistakes – it’s better to have help from the beginning rather than attempting to fix it and making more of a mess. They will think better of you, not worse." – ntm331

Advertisement

4. Introduce yourself.

"Don't let anyone introduce you. Stand up, shake their hand, and introduce yourself. That impression will resonate more with the person meeting you. This is a surefire way to make that person feel more confident in your ability, ultimately because you are showing them you are proud of yourself and what you do!" – Courtney Lester, Facebook

"When meeting anyone in business, look 'em dead in the eye and give them a firm handshake. Exert confidence and a sense of power/strength. That move has never let me down yet." – ActorAnon

5. Report all inappropriate behaviour.

AMC / Via lynchoid.tumblr.com

"Do NOT stand for any type of harassment or bad treatment because of your gender, race, age, or anything else. Report it, and if nothing gets done, that's not the kind of place you want to be working at." – Sarah Laurie Kelly, Facebook

6. Never follow orders blindly.

"Ask questions. Just because your boss tells you to do something, it doesn't necessarily mean it's OK to do. If you don't feel comfortable doing it, don't do it, but you better be able to articulate to higher-ups why. 'I didn't feel like it' won't cut it. 'He was trying to get me to violate federal laws because he didn't understand them.' That's a better excuse." – Bexi McGee, Facebook

7. Sort out your budgeting skills.

g3fashion.com

"Get your finances in order. I moved cross-country with thirty grand's worth of student loans and a cutoff date for support from my parents. You can have a well-paying job, but if you can’t get your money in order you’ll never move up in life.

"It’s ugly and harsh, but you have to build your budget and plan things out. My consulting job is freelance and I have to know every week where the money is coming from. It makes no sense to plan a great job and career if you can’t budget your life to sustain you while you work your way up." – saraha4ca874458

Advertisement

8. Keep personal records of your achievements, failures, and everything important.

"Keep copies of everything important on a personal computer or drive. I did an internship where they asked me to stay on a month past the date of the internship ending, and said they’d pay me a full salary for the duration. Naively, I took them at their word and it never crossed my mind to make sure I kept a personal record.

"When I left a month later, they cut off all contact, deleted my email account, and never paid me. Without access to my emails or work computer I had no proof I’d worked at the company after my internship ended, let alone that they'd said they'd pay me. Keeping personal records of everything means that if something similar ever happens to you, you can always provide hard evidence." – Emma Cooke

"It helps me to send an email to myself and save it to a certain folder when I make a mistake or do something outstanding. That way you can have a list handy when your boss asks you to toot your own horn for a promotion." – sarahc4f707250a

9. Don't drag other women (or anyone, for that matter) down.

Touchstone Pictures / Via fortaylor-lovedell.tumblr.com

"For the love of everything that is good, do not back stab or sabotage your fellow female co-workers. Woman-on-woman hate in the workplace is the stupidest thing I have ever encountered: We are sisters, we need to stick together. If your workplace is hostile, look for a new job somewhere they will appreciate you and treat you with respect." – Manny Martinez Arce, Facebook

"Don’t stand by when you know of someone being treated like shit. If everyone did this, things would get a hell of a lot better, faster." – lucialola

10. Be kind.

"Be kind to everyone you meet in a company, from the janitorial staff to the CEO. You never know whose help you may need along the way. Also, if you have an interview be extra kind to the receptionist. They’ll tell the hiring manager if you’re rude." – lauries4946d4c02

11. Remember that no woman is an island.

mtv.tumblr.com

"It’s so important to talk to your friends and peers. For a long time I thought being a BOSS LADY meant solving all problems by myself, but once I opened up to my fellow managers – and to my reports too – problems became so much easier to resolve. Even Khaleesi had an army." – Ailbhe Malone

"Be there for your fellow female colleagues. Support each other, believe each other, believe IN each other. Men have advanced in their careers for years on the basis of mutual support and respect from other men. Do the same for your fellow women in the workplace. That network will be a powerful part of your working life." – hjj2

Advertisement

12. Be transparent about how you work.

"Transparency is key. Whenever possible, be transparent about your expectations and ask your boss or co-workers what their expectations are. My co-worker and I frequently butted heads when we worked together. At first I thought she was intentionally being difficult, but now I know it's just because we have completely opposite working styles. It took me sitting down with her and each of us explaining what we expected from each other to be able to work well together. Now she's my work wife." – Kinsey McMurtry, Facebook

13. Dress for the job you want.

realitytvgifs.tumblr.com

"If you're interviewing for your first job out of college, dress 'older', as in hair up, minimal jewellery, [and] a professional but not necessarily trendy outfit (of course, this doesn't apply if you're interviewing at a younger, hipper-type company). I am one of the few people hired at my office that did not know someone working here initially and my supervisor said that besides knowing my shit, I did not look like a new graduate when I interviewed. Think Claire from House of Cards. You can always incorporate your own style after you get the job and become a valuable asset to your employer." – Emily Elizabeth, Facebook

14. Humility is as valuable as confidence.

"Our society values leaders who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty. Don't be afraid to pull your own weight simply because you think you might get 'stuck' with menial tasks. Everyone will only appreciate you all the more, and in a reasonable environment, you'll come out light years ahead of any man who acts too good for the job." – Julie Magliocco, Facebook

"Be confident, know your value, but also be humble. I once worked at an oil company for a while and let things get to my head a little too much, despite having a bottom-of-the-pyramid job. Know your worth and role within the company, but also check yourself before you burn bridges or make a fool of yourself by not being humble." – lauries4946d4c02

15. But know when to say no – there's always a limit.

youtube.com

"Don’t fall into the trap of accommodating things it’s not your job to accommodate. In a workplace setting, women are less likely than men to say ‘no’ to tasks, even when those tasks are not part of their job remit. Before you know it, something you agreed to as a favour because you’ve been socially conditioned to be accommodating becomes the norm, and it’s just expected that you will always take the minutes/print the agendas/make the tea/whatever. By all means show willing to step up to new challenges, but don’t do everyone’s drudge work just because you think you’re expected to say yes." – hjj2

"Stand up for yourself. Don't let anyone make you feel uncomfortable or the more experienced co-workers pass their shit onto you. Saying no to someone can be really hard, but knowing when to draw the line is the best thing you can do for yourself." – Maggie McDonald, Facebook

Advertisement

16. Make sure you have a fulfilling life outside of work.

"Make sure that you have a life outside of work. Even if you work all the time, it will help you keep it balanced. If work has you down then you have something to lift you up." – victorial47d83d4a7

"Be selfish – learn to say, 'No, I’m going home on time!'" – katiep4576175d2

17. Try to stay positive.

20th Century Fox

"I’ve always been told you can teach a person a new skill(s) but you cannot teach a positive attitude. Even if you don’t think you have the full skill set for a job you want, just remember every individual is moulded for that job – no candidate is ready to go from the off. A strong mental mind and a positive, practical attitude will take you far!" – manishaa2

18. It's OK to have empathy and feelings.

"Everyone at work is a human being too. Your boss wants to get along with you and be accepted too. Your boss’s boss might be going through a personal struggle. The kid that delivers the mail might have dreams of being a writer or a lawyer, or something big.

"Don’t forget that our occupations, our promotions, our paychecks do not make us who we are, and that when each person leaves the workplace, they do not cease to exist; we all have lives, feelings, struggles. Professional doesn’t mean dead inside." – SarahMysterious

19. Don't be afraid to speak up, and don't let people talk over you before you're done.

survivorharrypotter.tumblr.com

"I work in the construction industry, where I am usually the only woman or one of the very few women in the meeting room. Often (not all the time) our male counterparts tend to dominate the conversations and we get cut off mid-sentence.

"People often don't mean to cut others off when talking, but you should still remind them when it's your turn to speak. Take a deep breath, reassess, then firmly continue speaking. It's OK to politely say, 'Excuse me, I am still talking.' Don't apologise for having an opinion or something to say. You're smart, you're in the room because you're qualified, and what you have to say will help your team." – Patricia Kusumadjaja, Facebook

"Don’t let the fact you are a women hold you back from speaking up. Understand the difference between being aggressive and assertive. Then be assertive, know what you want, and go get it." – gorgeousred

Advertisement

20. Fake it till you make it.

"Don’t be afraid to have the answer. Never, ever, ever forget, nobody knows what they’re doing. Female or male, we’re all just making it up as we go along. With that said, you might as well be the one to make up the best story." – t480549621

"Carry yourself with confidence. If you don’t feel confident, fake it till you make it (IT REALLY WORKS!)." – lucyt410579ade

21. You don't have to please everyone.

youtube.com

"You HAVE to be confident in your own ability and recognise the hypocrisy of double standards – there will always be people that see a strong, confident woman and say she’s a bitch, while her male counterpart will be seen as being assertive. My own way of dealing with this evolved over time from worrying about what people thought about me personally to focusing on doing my job well and being respected professionally." – FizzForce

"Sometimes you will have to work with someone who just doesn't like you for zero reasons. Just suck it up and power through, because they really do not matter." – l1809

22. Don't let anyone intimidate you.

"This goes to anyone, not just women: Don’t let anyone in the workplace intimidate you. Not your boss, not your boss’s boss, not the CEO. At the end of the day, they’re all PEOPLE, just like you! They go home and watch Netflix in their undies too." – caseyo5

"A good boss will NEVER need to yell at you or make you feel stupid, even if you made a mistake. If it does happen, put your big-girl shoes on and nip it in the bud privately." – catherinedugrs

23. Don't stay in a job you hate.

reddit.com

"Don’t be afraid to walk out on a job. If its not working out for whatever reason, it’s not right for you. I spent six miserable months in a summer job being bullied and (sexually) abused. I didn’t leave until my contract was up but I learned my lesson – my first graduate job was pants and I recognised the signs and took action before it was too late. Leaving that job was the best thing ever – I now have a fantastic and stable job and I won’t look back!" – daisya2

"I struggled through over two years in a job I hated because I had convinced myself I was only good enough for that job and would not find anything better. NEVER SELL YOURSELF SHORT. A bad job is about as awful and time-consuming as a bad relationship, and you just don’t need that in your life." – meganf21

Advertisement

24. Try not to take things personally.

"Don't take things too personally. If your supervisor makes a face while you're talking, don't lose your cool. It might be because she's thinking of her annoying kids at home – nothing to do with you." – Olivia Burrell-Jackson, Facebook

25. Stay out of office gossip.

rawreplaymedia.com

"Don't partake in office gossip. It might be fun for a few minutes, but when my company had to do cutbacks a few years ago, I noticed that a lot of the people who gossiped and/or complained about the company openly were the ones to get let go. Word gets around. If you don't like your job, shop around and send out your résumé without trashing your current company." – Becky Martin, Facebook

"I know that the feeling of ‘being in the loop’ is tempting, especially when you know management are keeping something hush-hush, but it’s a bad idea to go digging for information. The worst outcome is the lack of trust you may incur from colleagues or your boss. It can also slowly create a negative environment." – vickilick

"If you have an issue with a co-worker, keep it to yourself or notify your supervisor if you feel like you need to. Vent to someone outside of work if you got annoyed by something someone did." – poisonivy1990

26. Stand by your ideas.

"Don't just compromise or back down from your idea the minute someone questions it. Think it through before you go along with the alternative option – sometimes they're just making another option so they appear useful, or sometimes it's well-intentioned but it's just a worse idea than yours. Especially if they're older or male, your first instinct is to give way, but don't be so quick! Is their idea actually better?" – Michelle la Nola, Facebook

27. Ask for more money if you deserve it.

Iconoclast / Via youtube.com

"Do NOT be afraid of asking your boss to recognise your value. So many women wait to be offered a raise/promotion. When I was new to the professional world, I read women don’t often ask for a raise or promotion to our detriment, and I promised myself I wouldn’t be that person. I’ve been at my job five years and have asked for (and gotten) two raises; with my last request for a raise, I also got a promotion. If you’re good at your job, don’t be shy to ask your boss to recognise that fact monetarily." – eliseg41d833732

"Don’t be afraid to ask for a raise if you deserve it. Everyone always seems to feel bad to ask for more, but companies have no problem assuming you will be fine with taking less." – Samantha50

"It's really important to agree to a good salary when you initially start the job, as opposed to assuming you'll 'get there' over the years after raises. Most companies give percentage-based raises, so the more you initially make, the more you will continue to make." – Sally Ward, Facebook

Advertisement

28. In fact, if you know you need or deserve something, ask for it, full stop.

"Don't wait for someone to hand you things on a platter. If you want something, go out and get it. Whether that is starting your own business, pitching a kickass project you'd love to run to your boss, or asking for a raise because you bring mad value to the company, the only person in charge of your life is YOU. In 99% of all cases you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by going for it." – Milou Van Roon, Facebook

"Ask for what you need to do your job. Do you need an extra monitor? Access to some information you can't get at? A software update? Don't limp along with crap resources; walk up and ask for that thing you need! Nobody else knows what you need, so you have to request it." – Bonnie Cleveland Evans, Facebook

"A great boss I had once told me 'the worst they can say is no'. I was very lucky to have worked for this woman for a little over one year and I am very lucky to still remain in contact with her. From her I learned to be unapologetically myself. She never asked for permission; she never apologised for knowing her worth and her knowledge."

– Manny Martinez Arce, Facebook

29. Always be open to opportunities.

ABC

"Always keep your LinkedIn updated and listen to recruiters when they come calling. You never know what might be out there for you that's a better fit than where you're currently at." – Lauren Maguire, Facebook

"Learn every little thing that no one else wants to do or take the time to learn. People notice when you show up and are on top of the game and have everything they need.

And don’t be afraid to do something that you didn’t go to school for if you have the chance for a better career or life. I’m working as a consultant in a field I never once thought of – it's a complete 180 from my degree and it’s wonderful." – saraha4ca874458

30. Every experience is a chance to learn.

"Make it a point to learn something from and pay attention to every person you come into contact with, no matter their position in the company. The janitor at your company deserves the same respect as your boss does.

"When it comes to leadership, I've learned as much from my bad bosses and managers as I have from the good ones. Bad leaders can teach you everything you need to know about how *not* to treat people, and learning lessons from their mistakes can strengthen your character and leadership abilities. It's hard (really hard!), but don't just get frustrated and write them off – learn from the experience." – Liz Dommer, Facebook

31. Define your own success.

AMC / Via bricesander.tumblr.com

"Don't feel pressured by this 'lean in' stuff. Make your own definition of success, whether it's being an assistant, the boss, or anything else you come up with." – Sandy Smith, Facebook

32. You don't need to be everything, you just need to be yourself.

"The temptation when you get increasingly senior positions is to modify and conform to what you think is a 'stereotypical' boss. However the qualities you are trying to suppress, such as a sense of humour, warmth, or empathy, are the things which got you where you are. There is nothing better than being authentic and any person worth their salt will know if you are not." – Nicola Browell, Facebook

"You don’t have to be everything. You don’t need to be the nice boss and the tough boss, the quiet and the loud one, the charismatic and the reserved one. There is a problem in society where women need to be everything all at once, and not too much of one thing or another. Be who you are, and own it. There are many great ways to be a boss, but you don’t need to be all of them." – jiannaraem

Want to be featured in more posts like this? Follow the BuzzFeed Community on Facebook and Twitter!