5 Skills Every Professional Woman Should Master
Women who are driven by a desire for professional success and career achievement are well aware of the constant need to absorb new knowledge, work with fierce dedication and look for extra opportunities at every turn.
As a professional, the development of certain personal skills can go a long way in helping you develop confidence, demand respect and thrive in any role across countless industries. As you consider the various skills you want to develop to become the professional you envision, keep these five important areas in mind:
1. Communication skills
Business is about building valuable, meaningful relationships — with clients, with colleagues, with managers and with your community. Those relationships begin and end with effective written, verbal and nonverbal communication. According to Alison Doyle, a job search expert for The Balance Careers, communication proficiency includes proper email etiquette, public speaking, advocating for yourself and your causes, business writing, facilitating meetings and events, handling office politics, listening, interviewing, networking, resume writing and small talk.
No person — not even a sole proprietor or independent contractor — works alone all the time. Professionals frequently have to accomplish a project or goal within a group setting, which means your interpersonal skills must be up to the task. As Doyle writes, you need the ability to “share responsibility with others, communicate effectively, and achieve a common goal.” To do this, your skill set should include resolving conflict, fostering positive relationships and building and managing a team.
3. Time Management
Professionals know their time is money and that achieving their ambitions demands an impeccable work ethic. Your ability to manage your time and meet deadlines is important, both for the sake of personal productivity and as part of your responsibility to an organization or brand. Efficient time management not only includes punctuality, focus and the ability to meet deadlines, but also an attention to detail, intrinsic motivation and a knack for taking initiative.
Unless you serve in a management role, this skill could be easy to overlook. However, as Doyle points out, leadership skills are essential, regardless of your role within an organization. Leadership is also a lot broader than the ability to tell people what to do. To be an effective leader, your skills should include budgeting, coaching, coordinating resources, making decisions, setting goals, gathering information, mentoring and planning. The best leaders also tend to be those who possess a growth mindset, a positive attitude and a calm persona, even under pressure.
5. Personal skills
Personal skills is a broad category, which includes the hard and soft skills that associate you with competence, integrity, resilience and emotional intelligence. These skills also help you develop a vision and execute it with precision. For instance, your ability to handle personal finances, set goals, enforce personal and professional boundaries, and regulate your self-image is important in managing your own career growth and building a professional reputation. Another personal attribute to help you traverse a constantly evolving workflow and achieve job success is flexibility, which includes the ability to change your mind, anger management skills, patience and perceptiveness.
Professionals also benefit by being part of a supportive community in which they can interact with and learn from like-minded individuals, discover new career opportunities and develop professional skills. The International Association of Women is a global in-person and online professional networking platform that provides nearly one million women the forum, education and services to thrive in an interconnected world. IAW members have access to hundreds of virtual learning opportunities through the association’s partnership with Star12. Learn more about member benefits here.