Going into a new work environment and finding out that you’re the only woman there is not only daunting but also far too common an experience. There’s no denying that when it comes to careers, the majority of industries are still decidedly dominated by men, which is why it’s important that you continue to plan your career progression carefully and with focus. Although women are slowly bridging the gap, the truth remains that the higher up the ladder you get, the fewer women you’ll find. With that under-representation in mind, here are some tips on how to succeed as a woman in a male-dominated business world.

Use Your Strengths

No matter where your strengths lie, you need to use them. Much of the advice on female empowerment in business makes the point of using your compassion and empathy to find your role within a male-heavy environment, and there is a case for the fact that women will often be easier to talk to, so it is possible to use that approachability to move your career forward. As actress, comedian, writer, and producer Tina Fey says, “Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.” Be yourself and follow your passions, and you’ll stand out and keep moving forward.

Networking as a positive boost

As with everything in life, it’s important that you surround yourself with the right people. Building a positive and productive community can not only provide you with support and focus, but can very easily help to guide you through your career progression. In Sage’s informative infographic of inspirational women, Kerstin Robinson, the co-founder of NIX&KIX highlights the importance of using platforms like LinkedIn to create a source of investors and simply just to find people in the industry, saying that “I’ve found that most people are very happy to help, some even will find the time to meet you for a coffee.” The ability to find industry professionals and meet with them even informally is a great way to help recognize your strengths and weaknesses.

Recognize your worth

Just because women are underrepresented in business doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve your place, and once you appreciate and understand your worth, you’ll be able to build on your confidence and improve your industry presence. The days of women not being taken seriously in business is fading, and if you want to break the stereotypes then you can’t go wrong with the words of Estée Lauder, who said “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it.” Understanding your strengths, weaknesses and, most importantly your worth, is the first step to letting nothing stand in your way.

It may be a challenge to build up the confidence to grow your career into something you can be proud of, but all of the advice in the world comes to nothing if you don’t have the bravery to take those bolder steps towards success.