If you’re like many women, you probably dream of establishing a successful career in a field you’re passionate about. Unfortunately, women still face unique challenges in the workplace—such as the ubiquitous glass ceiling. Preparing yourself to overcome these hurdles can help ensure long-term success in the working world. The below guide provides pointers specifically for young women who are just getting their careers off the ground.

Create a plan for your career

Career Plan for WomenAdvanced planning and setting goals can help you be more organized at work and in your career at large. Creating a three-, five-, and ten-year plan for your career trajectory can be a good first step. You can start by finding someone who is in your “ideal” role and looking at their own path. For instance, you might consider what degrees they completed, what entry-level jobs they took, and whether they completed any additional certifications. This can help inspire the steps you take in your own career.

Sharpen your skills to prepare for the working world

Before you start networking and applying for jobs, you want to make sure you’ve got the skills you need to succeed. Depending on your career path, this could mean going back to school to get certain credentials. For example, a degree in computer science can help you master areas like data structures, logic, and artificial intelligence, AI. Online degrees are convenient because they offer a great degree of flexibility, allowing you to study when and where you want.

Know where to look for work

Once you have the skills you need to pursue your passion, it’s time to start looking for work. There are many ways to find jobs, from online listings to personal connections. Women in the workforce can also look at platforms devoted especially to recruiting females in the workplace. Female Factor provides a roundup of online platforms devoted specifically to hiring women. Examples include Where Women Work, FairyGodBoss, and In Her Sight.

Be prepared to navigate sexism in the workplace

Unfortunately, sexism in the workplace is still a very real issue. As a young woman preparing to launch her career, it’s important to be prepared for the possibility that you’ll face discrimination of some kind. Understand what sexism might look like, such as being passed over for promotions or not being called on to participate in meetings. Further, know how and when to address such issues. For instance, you may have to contact human resources for assistance.

Network to help break the glass ceiling

Women in the workforce can benefit greatly from banding together. Whether you’re just looking for work or starting your first job, networking is important. It’s a great way to meet contacts, who could become future bosses or colleagues. Plus, you can learn a lot at networking events. In addition to industry-specific events, look at conferences that target women specifically. The Women Inspire Network is one example, hosting events specifically for female leaders.

Find an empowering female mentor

Networking is also a great opportunity to meet a mentor. Having a strong woman accompanying you on your career journey is a great way to find inspiration and stay motivated. When you experience hurdles in your path to career success, this kind of support is invaluable. Know what to look for in a mentor, such as someone who has strong leadership skills and the ability to teach you something new. Often, this will be a person who’s a bit more advanced in their career than you.

Kicking off a career is exciting. However, it also poses challenges, especially for women. The above guide highlights some potential hurdles you may face and provides pointers to help you make a seamless transition from student to career woman.

Author Bio:  Elena Stewart made the jump from a corporate job she wasn’t entirely happy with, to running her own business that gives her the financial freedom and flexible lifestyle she’s always wanted. As a life coach, she now gets the happiness of helping others get to the places that might seem out of reach.

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