Women are making moves toward greater representation in the tech world, but we're still statistically underrepresented in the industry. The percentage of women in tech is significantly lower than the overall percentage of women in the workforce, and according to Statista, women hold 26.5 percent of executive-level positions in S&P 500 companies.
Women still face daily challenges that impact how we are perceived at work--especially in tech. Women have two options: to view these challenges as overwhelming hindrances or embrace them and create strategies to set themselves apart. I've been working in marketing and tech for over a decade now, and I've learned the importance of marketing yourself in an industry where your demographic is typically underrepresented.
Whether you're starting your career, established in your role, or considering pushing into a field where women are less represented, here are five key ways to market yourself in the tech world.
Use Your Voice In Your Industry
Position yourself as a thought leader and vocalize your contributions to the industry. This doesn't mean bragging, but it does mean that you devote extra time to express your opinions and thoughts on certain industry trends. Use social media--LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram--to establish your profile as a leader in the industry.
Dedicated thought leadership demonstrates that you know what you're talking about and are confident enough to share your opinions with the world. When employers, customers, and coworkers search for you online, they'll see that you keep up with industry trends. As a leader in marketing and tech, I've used LinkedIn to share my ideas about digital strategy with the world. This has helped me establish a digital community and demonstrate my unique perspective in the industry.
Own What You Know
Confidence is a key element of success in any industry, but when you are the only woman in the room, it's absolutely critical. For example, in Mohana Radhakrishnan's 20-plus years leading tech company ExpertusONE, and consulting with major tech clients about their digital learning needs, she's used confidence as a tool for communication.
Despite founding a major tech company and leading it for decades, she says some clients still overlook her in meetings. Many women would find this disheartening and take offense, but that takes away from the opportunity to show what you know. In those situations where it feels like you are an outsider in the room, Radhakrishnan says it's important to be confident.
In her two decades of leading the company, she has always said, "I know what I know." This confidence empowered her, early in her career, to be assertive and express her expertise. If you're looking to market yourself as a woman in tech, where you may be the only woman in the room, be confident in your knowledge. Do as Radhakrishnan said and don't be swayed by others' perceptions. Instead, confidently establish your expertise in your role and field.
Build a Reputation With Customers
Customers are your greatest ally when working in an environment where you are the minority. Build a positive reputation with your customers so that, as you establish your career, you have a support system of people who will vouch for your skills. A commitment to customer service is critical here. Annie Raygoza, Director of Client Services at WebEnertia, does this by setting regular meetings with clients and following up on both positive and negative feedback. She invests consistently in the client's experience and, as a result, she says she has built a reputation for her excellent customer service.
Elevate and Support Other Women in the Field
One way women in tech can give back is by supporting others with similar career goals. Though we've made progress in the last decades, women are still underrepresented. For example, president of AdRoll Roli Saxena is also the co-founder of the LinkedIn Women's Network that helps increase the representation of women in leadership roles.
Marketing yourself as a woman in tech isn't superficial. Just like any strategy, the end goal is to communicate the most important elements about what you are offering (in this case, yourself) so that you can reach more people and create a greater impact.
If you use your voice, communicate your knowledge confidently, find your differentiating factor, build a reputation, and support others, you will go further as a woman in tech. So don't be afraid to "know what you know." Follow trailblazers in the industry and continue to break the glass ceiling.