Erin La Rosa’a Womanskills is packed with helpful techniques and tips for cooking, money matters, style, relationships, home improvement, and more. Be a boss at work with these six tips from the book!
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ACE A JOB INTERVIEW
There are plenty of candidate fish in the sea. So the real trick of any job interview is, how do you become the fish they want to reel in?
When you schedule the interview, try to make it on the earlier side, as studies have shown that interviews that happen in the morning tend to go better than those that happen later in the day. And maybe you’ve been told this before, but dress to impress. Even if you know the company you’re interviewing with has a laid-back culture, as someone aspiring to have a job there, it’s important that you put some effort into your look. Aim for business casual, at a minimum, and avoid the justrolled- out-of-bed look.
While your resume and experience obviously play a role in whether you’ll be walking through that company’s doors on a regular basis, the real sell you have to make is that you’d be a great cultural fit. That means that the most important part of the interview is to prove that you’re a likable person. You can do that by mirroring the interviewer’s demeanor. Is the person very laid-back or screaming professionalism? Read the interviewer’s body language and tone, and try to mirror that as best you can. And because you need that likability factor, you want to make sure that your shining personality comes across too. So when appropriate, don’t hesitate to crack a joke. If there’s an opportunity to share a personal story, keep it short and sweet, but do share it. You want the interviewer to leave the room feeling as if you could be a friend. Something else to keep in mind is that while you’ll be asked a lot of questions, you should come prepared with plenty of questions of your own to ask. You should bring a pen and notebook and be prepared with five to ten questions about the company. You can ask about the hardest part of the job, the best part of the job, what the company culture is like, and if there’s a vision for growth. The only question to avoid in the initial interview should be salary— save that for follow-up interviews and discussions with the HR department.
POWER POSTURES FOR WORK
Strike a pose. No, we’re not vogueing—we’re learning an amazing tool that will help you and the rest of the world view you as a stronger and more empowered woman. If you’re closed up, wrapping your arms around your body, shrinking in on yourself, and making yourself smaller in general, you’re taking on a low-power pose. But when you open up your body, stand tall, or lean forward, you’re in a high-power pose. And research has shown that when you take on power stances, or even do a power pose for two minutes before an important event, you’re more likely to be confident, feel less stress, and be more secure in taking risks. This translates to you feeling and looking more like a boss in the long run.
When you have a big meeting coming up, an interview, or hell, even a first date, prep for it by doing a high-power pose. That means you should stand up tall, raise your hands over your head, and spread your feet wide. Open up your body and hold that pose for two minutes. If you’re seated, or unable to stand, put your hands behind your head and open your arms so you can feel the full expanse of the move without getting up.
And in your everyday work life, assume a power pose for meetings and when talking to coworkers. Lean forward, keep your arms open and relaxed, sit with your legs apart, and maintain open posture. The more space you take up, the more power and presence you have in a room. The moral here is that if you act powerful, you will be powerful, and others will perceive you as such too.
NEGOTIATE A RAISE
Money makes the world go round, and since you’re the queen of your world, it’s time to take what’s yours. So, on to the hard part: the asking. The asking will be hard, if only because asking anyone for money—whether it be your boss or your parents—isn’t always the easiest of scenarios. It should be stressed that the worst-case scenario is that they say no. The best case, however, is that because you asked for a raise, you get one, and your life becomes a whole lot more plentiful. To get things started, prepare your boss for what you want to talk about by scheduling a meeting and being clear that you’d like to discuss your performance and salary. Or, if you have reviews coming up, let your boss know through email or in person that you’d like to discuss salary. This will put your boss in the right headspace for the discussion and also provide time to think what number to offer you.
Because you’re a very prepared person, go into the meeting with a running list of all your accomplishments since your last raise. The easiest way to keep track of this is throughout the months between discussions—either in a document or in a weekly email you send to yourself. Keeping track of your achievements, big and small, will help you to come up with a list of reasons why you deserve this raise. Think of those reasons in terms of personal accomplishments, ways you’ve influenced others, your team’s accomplishments, and what your plans are for the months ahead.
Before you go to the meeting, have a number in mind that you want to ask for. If, for whatever reason, your boss says no to your raise, that doesn’t mean you should give up. The company wants you to stay; otherwise you’d be let go. So you can ask for other things—more paid time off, more job responsibilities, and so on. And ask for the specific steps you need to take in order to be considered for a raise next time. A no is the worst-case scenario, but you should always strive to get what you deserve.
START SAYING “NO”
If you’re the type who breaks out in a sweat whenever someone asks if you want to hang out, then breathe easy: saying “No” doesn’t make you a bad person. It just makes you a more direct one and, in that way, there’s a lot of power in a no.
So to embrace the word no, let’s first let go of the notion that people will hate you if you say it. Here’s the thing: if someone is asking for a favor, or even asking you to attend an event, it means they’re asking for your time. Which means they’re asking for your permission. If, for example, your friend asks if you can be her plus one to an event, and you don’t want to attend, that’s perfectly reasonable—it’s a favor for her, so saying “No” just means she’ll ask someone else. No harm, and no reason for anyone to hate you.
Make sure to tell people your answer quickly, and don’t leave them hanging. Again, people won’t hate you for declining, but they will resent the fact that you waited until the last possible moment to do so. So respect their time, and tell them as soon as you can. When you do say “No,” be prepared to explain why. This doesn’t mean you have to make up some insane reason as to why you can’t go, or use the “I’m sick” excuse. You can say something as simple as “I’ve had a super busy week, and I need a night in” and leave it at that.
If you want to go above and beyond, then you can also offer the person an alternative solution. Maybe you know someone who would want to go, or you would be willing to do what they’re asking at a later date. Whatever it is, if you have a different way to accomplish the person’s goals, feel free to present it. Since there’s no need to sweat a no, now you can get on the road to embracing it.
RESPOND TO MANSPLAINING
Mansplaining: when a man explains something to you that you may already be an expert on, in a way that’s totally patronizing. While most men don’t do it intentionally, that doesn’t mean you have to keep quiet about it when it happens.
For starters, assess your relationship with the person. If he’s your boss, for example, the mansplaining may be harder to address than, say, if he’s a friend you’ve known forever. If he’s someone with whom you have a more formal relationship, then ignoring it is fine. Mansplainers are the dumb ones, not you, and you don’t need to sink to their level.
If you do feel like pushing back, though, a good way to do that is to closely repeat the mansplained thing. For example, if you say you’re hungry, and the mansplainer says, “You can’t be hungry after all that food,” you can repeat, “No, you think I can’t be hungry, but I’m hungry.” Or you could pick apart what he’s just said by asking, “Why would you think I couldn’t possibly be hungry? How did you come to that conclusion?” Making his offhand or casual mansplaining uncomfortable is the ultimate goal here.
When you’re mansplained to by a total stranger, or someone you feel comfortable calling out, then by all means call him out! If you need help with wording, try a simple “Yes, I already know how to do that. I don’t need you to explain it to me,” or a bold “I don’t need you to mansplain my feelings. I know exactly how I feel.” The main point here is that mansplaining is never OK, and if you want to react to it, you absolutely can.
Here are some more ways to react, if you need inspiration:
“Why do you assume I don’t already know this?”
“My experience is my own, and you don’t know anything about it.”
“Don’t dismiss my feelings, jerkdog.”
“Let me stop you there, because you’re mansplaining, and I don’t consort with your kind.”
“No one wants to hear anything more from you, mansplainer.
LEAVE A JOB ON GOOD TERMS
If only leaving a job could be as easy as an Irish goodbye— you’d quietly pack your belongings into a box and, while everyone else is busy listening to some presentation, you walk out the doors and never see them again.
Alas, there’s that pesky two-weeks notice standing between you and that dream. Furthermore, you probably want to leave your job on good terms, which means no sudden movements and playing it cool even though you may be itching to leave.
So first things first: provide enough notice. Two weeks is never really enough time to find a replacement, but it is the standard, so give two weeks, or more if you can. You may need this company to provide a reference for you further down the road, so make sure your boss is the first person you tell, and be modest about your new job. The reason you’re getting that shiny new salary is because you were at this job, being nurtured and primed by your coworkers—so keep that in mind.
While you’re in the awkward middle zone that is still being employed at this company while waiting to move on to the next one, be sure that you continue performing at your peak. Your employer will remember your last two weeks the most vividly, so simply checking out or deciding that you no longer need to do work aren’t the behaviors you want to leave them with.
If you have the time, try to make your transition as smooth as possible. Maybe it’s creating a document describing all the duties that someone else will take on, or writing up a training manual for your replacement— whatever you can do to help the transition will be remembered. It’s not as quick as an Irish goodbye, but you’ll be glad you took the right steps down the line.
“This is the smartest, funniest, most patient friend you can get in book form without that book actually being haunted.” – Kristin Chirico, senior editor, BuzzFeed
Womanskills is packed with helpful techniques and tips for cooking, money matters, style, relationships, home improvement, and more. It can help you with advice for how to end a toxic friendship and finding a bra that actually fits. You can turn to it when you get the itch to DIY a new wine rack or chalkboard wall. Or you can flip through to answer those nagging questions like, you know, “why do my houseplants keep dying?”
While you’ll find plenty of woman-to-woman information (fighting off cramps, cleaning your makeup brushes, and learning to say “no” to name a few), you’ll also find skills to make you more of a badass, like learning how to grill a perfect steak, figuring out how to find a stud in the wall, understanding the stock market, and knowing how to snake a drain. Whether you’re headed to a birthday party and need to wrap that odd-shaped present in a hurry or you need a download on whiskey before book club, Womanskills has you covered.