During this decade, the business world has been characterized by constant innovation and change. There is an ongoing competition of who will be the unicorns (successful startup companies valued at more than $1 billion) and who will go viral.
As a graduate at the start of this decade, it was quite clear to me that the right step was to start my career in the digital business world and to learn what all the buzzwords were about. Five years later, I’m working as a consultant in one of the largest companies in the world.
I’d like to share some thoughts on what I’ve learned about finding the right employer. Here are my five tips for young professional women who just graduated or are early in their careers:
Even if a workplace is inspiring, with a constantly changing and so-called “dynamic” environment, there are also benefits to a more structured and process-oriented approach.
Reflect on what benefits this structured approach could bring to you and how it can help you grow in your profession. Use these benefits!
In my case, I’ve had a much more structured career and development plan since starting at Accenture.
List what you’ve learned from the work or educational environment and organizational culture you’ve experienced.
What can you teach to a well-established organization?
The main things I have been able to take with me are transparency and a more open way of working.
Connect with other professionals (both male and female) performing the kind of work you'd be doing in the company.
Talk both to people who are currently working at the company and people who have previously worked there. Talking to someone who is no longer part of the company can potentially give you an even more realistic picture!
Use LinkedIn to find common connections if you don't know anyone personally.
If you’re considering working at a big consulting firm, get an understanding of the consulting profession.
Ask concrete questions about routines and ways of working. One of the main characteristics of working as a consultant is that work is always project based. Make sure that you understand the perks and downsides of that reality.
How does staffing work? What are typical challenges of interacting with clients? How does the decision-making process work?
For me, the upside is that I know that I have a chance to transfer to new challenges after a successful project, while the downside is that constantly working with clients is demanding.
Dare to ask questions beyond facts such as project content.
Be brave about asking questions that will help you understand how it will actually feel to work in a company that is completely new to you. Try to grasp the organizational culture by asking simple questions.
Also, when it applies, ask questions related to being a female professional in a male-dominated industry.
Before I was hired, I tried to have short informal discussions with several people from the organization–the more point of views you get, the more likely you are to get a realistic picture of the organization.