Safety professionals face many challenges in the world of work — from budget constraints to technological shifts, inconsistent support from executives and more. These circumstances can be especially challenging for women, who face gender-related barriers in the workplace and continue to be a significant minority in the safety profession.
In a June 2021 webinar for our Women in Safety Excellence (WISE) Common Interest Group called “The Future of HSE Looks Bright for Women,” Rosa Carrillo, president of Carrillo and Associates Inc., offered advice for women in the safety profession at all stages of their careers who are looking to advance and find new opportunities.
She offers tips on how to write a stronger resume and demonstrate your value to your current organization and potential employers as you make career moves and hone your leadership skills.
1. Hone Self-Awareness
Emotional intelligence and self-awareness have become increasingly important in the workplace. These are the characteristics that indicate you are a collaborator and likely to form good working relationships.
“Self-awareness is required to survive in the world,” she says. “If you are a self-aware person, you are going to be highly sought after, because emotional intelligence is a characteristic of great leaders.”
Carrillo adds that self-awareness helps you in articulating your strengths, your weaknesses and the things you are working to improve. You should also understand and be able to communicate your mission and values, as well as what you have achieved and the impact you’ve made.
“Don’t focus on your weaknesses. Articulate your strengths and figure out how to use them,” she says. “And do so in a way that the market needs them, and in a way that you will be perceived as having more value.”
Remember that every strength overused has a weakness. For instance, if you’re focused on results, you may neglect to build relationships.
2. Support and Develop Those Around You
One of the best ways to demonstrate your value is simply by doing the work you do every day. Safety professionals are in a unique position to positively impact others, given that part of their role is connecting with many different types of workers, from C-suite executives to those on the front line.
“We are in a position of supporting and developing employees, even if they don’t report to us,” she says. “We’re there to help supervisors and employees be more successful.”
Through this relationship-building, you can demonstrate your impact on company culture, the safety and health management system, the bottom line, and the organization as a whole.
“People are companies’ greatest asset,” Carrillo says. “When companies develop their people and see to their success, that’s a win-win.”
3. Demonstrate a Love of Learning
Employers want to see that you are willing to try new things and invest in continuing your education.
“If you enjoy learning and want to be in a position where you are being supported in your development, put that into your resumé,” she says. “Look at your accomplishments and how they show that you have tackled projects that were new to you and how you were successful in doing that, because that is one of the top things employers are looking for right now.”
Neglecting to demonstrate that you are willing to try new things can have a negative effect on how you are viewed as a candidate by potential employers.
“There are companies that will put the resumé aside if they feel the person is not open to trying new things, that the person is so afraid of making mistakes and failing that they can’t grow.”
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