The secrets behind successful women

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

Kate White recently left her post as the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine to write and speak full-time. Her latest book, “I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know,” follows up her bestseller “Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead…But Gutsy Girls Do.” We caught up with her to talk successful female leaders and career advice.

What do you believe are a woman’s greatest challenges in the workplace?

I think one of the biggest challenges for women in the workplace is improving their ability to ask for what they want — especially when it comes to money. In fact, studies show that women are significantly less likely to negotiate a starting salary than men are. Keep in mind that the person offering you the job often has more money to play with than he or she indicates. The goal is to get you on board at the lower end of the scale, but women need to be gutsy enough to say, “I would love to join the organization but I was hoping for X salary.”

We are hearing about extremely successful female leaders, including Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) and Marissa Mayer (president and CEO of Yahoo!). What do you think made them successful?

I admire both of them. And I think they’re wonderful models in that they seem to say there is no one best model for female success today. I strongly believe that you have to figure out what works for you. Sheryl Sandberg has said she leaves at five every day and has cried at work. That works for her. Marissa Mayer is starting a new job at seven months pregnant and that works for her. But those strategies may not necessarily work for you. I accepted a new and challenging job when I was seven months pregnant and though it worked out OK in the end, I wouldn’t do it over again. Take inspiration from other women, study their strategies, but ultimately create your own blueprint based on your job, your needs, your family, etc.

Top 3

White’s top tips:

1. “Don’t worry about whether people will like you. You don’t have to be obnoxious, but you can’t be afraid to speak up, showcase your accomplishments and take on projects others might want.”

2. “Go big or go home with your ideas, even if you have to break the rules.”

3. “In addition to excelling at your job, you have to be a relentless architect of your career and manage it even as you manage your job.”

– Dan Schawbel is the founder of Millennial Branding, a Gen-Y research and consulting company. Subscribe to his updates at Facebook.com/DanSchawbel.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


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