Career Woman

Time’s Up: Strategies for women getting into non-traditional careers


For women in certain careers, there seems to be a lack of diversity, for whatever reason. And of course, of late, it has been something that has been brought more and more to the forefront and in the public eye. One of the last times that this happened was back in 2008, quite a while ago now, where the head of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, hired Google’s employee Sheryl Sandberg to become the COO of Facebook. Then, only a few years later, Sandberg herself made waves for all women in business with her book, that redefined what it meant for being a woman in business.

Developments like this have shown that in careers that have been traditionally male-dominated, are shortly providing more and more opportunities for women. It goes on to show an increase in women that are pursuing non-traditional careers, particularly around STEM careers and in the military. But I guess some of the problem is that we are calling then ‘non-traditional’ careers for women, rather than simply careers for women. When we can simply call them the latter, then it will mean more and more women, particularly in the younger generations, that will want to get into these career paths.

The roles that women traditionally take on are things like nursing, which is made up of over ninety percent women. But the focus should be on getting more women into careers like being a doctor or a surgeon, which has around thirty percent women. It is one of the careers that has a higher percentage of women, but there is plenty of room for developmnet. Other careers include teaching (over 97% female), compared to miners or metal workers (only 5% women). More females are flight attendants than they are pilots or aircraft engineers. So what needs to change?

The challenges that women will face when applying for a non-traditional career can vary with the people they’ll be working with to the sector and needs of the job. A lot of roles like engineering, computing, law, and medicine, are being much more welcoming to women. But more blue-collar careers like carpentry, plumbing, and tradespeople, does show a little resistance to women in those careers. So here are some strategies for women that want to get into a role that not many women are in, so that they can apply and thrive in the ‘non-traditional’ career paths.

Think outside the box

When it comes to a career path that suits you and that you can make a difference in, then it does take a little thinking outside of the proverbial box. Whether that is the field you choose to pursue, or the things you do once you’re in that role. For instance, getting into construction and engineering is something that does lack women. But if you were to apply, just think of the potential that you could get into. From looking into remote power solutions which are both dependable and economical to make a change on the projects, to bringing your skill set to the role. So don’t be put off or think that you don’t have anything to offer. You just need to get creative, and look for things that can make some real change in the industry.

Choose the right education

The education that you choose to have, as well as where you choose to get it from, can play a role in the kind of jobs that you can get later down the line. If you go to a large University, then it can make it harder to really stand out or to show your capability. When you have smaller group settings, it allows you to ask more questions, get to know the answers, and really learn and grow. So check what your chosen study venue has on offer. If the only thing for your course is large lectures where there is very little interaction, then it may not be the best thing to help give you a confidence booster to get into a different career path.

Follow a mentor

Being able to find someone that has been through the exact same process as you want to be doing can be a good way to ask questions and learn. So choosing someone to act as a mentor to you, whether male or female can be a good thing for any career that you choose. They an guide you in the right path and warn you of the pitfalls of the application process or of the job role. But it can be a confidence boost and a help when you need it.


If you can find ways to network, then you’ll be on your way to getting a career that you can grow and thrive in. You could find people in your local area to approach that are doing what you want to do. Then strike up a conversation with them and it can go from there. When you have an ‘in’ or a named person that you can ask for, it can make the whole process much easier.

Look out for organizations

If you are looking for support as you embark on your career, or a change of career, then having the backup of a professional organization could be just what you need. They could be offering advice on certain career paths, or show you where you could get training in something. For instance, if you like the idea of getting into carpentry but have no idea about the basics or certain tool skills, then a professional organization could point you in the right direction of where to get the training that you need. An organization is where you could get mentoring too, if you don’t know of anyone that you could approach yourself.

So as you can see, there are things you can be doing to help you to get the career that you want, in a non-traditional career for women. Hone your skills, get a mentor, get educated, and get confident. You have plenty of skills and experience to bring to the table, you just need to know how to use them and what career type you’d be able to excel in.

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