SWIFT Resources



Tips and Strategies from previous SWIFT events


  • Build a virtual network
  • Become part of online groups
    • e.g., Facebook: Women in Wood
  • Sit at a table with people you don’t know when at a meeting or conference
  • Keep in touch with former employers
  • Before going to a conference, look at the professional webpages of speakers, then approach them after their talk with questions and mention that you are aware of their work
  • Find commonalities with people you’re talking with
  • Ask people questions about themselves


  • Pay attention to what the job is asking for, rather than what they list as requirements, and assess whether you think you would be able to do the job as listed
  • Apply anyway, even if you do not think you are fully qualified – the worst that could happen is that they tell you that you are not qualified
  • Consider skills that you could bring with you to the job and make sure to communicate that
  • Know whom you are competing with and how you stack up in relation to them. Ask yourself what you bring that is unique and sets you apart
  • Remember that employers are paying attention to how you interact with others and work with others
  • Bring you and your unique attributes to the job
  • Be open and honest about yourself – do not just present what they are looking for in the job description. Some applicants bring skills that employers were not considering yet see value in having in an employee
  • Recognize that even if you do not have the exact experiences or skills they list, you may have similar experiences or skills that would be worth sharing
  • Pay attention to detail when submitting resumes or cover letters. Have someone else look it over before you send it in. Save your materials as a PDF, so everyone can open them, and change the file name to make it clear it’s yours. The more you can do to make things easier for your employer, the better
  • Consider getting references from professors, not just past managers from jobs
  • Do not add extra materials to your application


  • Consider coming back with a counter offer if you believe your work is more valuable and there is flexibility in starting salary
  • Double check the range of salaries that would be expected in this job
  • Call the Human Resources office to check with them about the salary and range expected for this job
  • Visit census.gov to look up cost of living in your area to help
  • Ask your network for advice on what is considered reasonable
  • Make a good argument for why you should deserve a raise
  • Consider negotiating things that are not salary (e.g., vacation time, professional development opportunities)
  • Ask men and others in your field what they are being offered
  • Ask for more time to decide if needed. This will give you time to research salaries and decide whether to negotiate, and time to craft your reasoning if you do
  • When crafting an explanation, remember that employers are considering how beneficial you are as an employee. Explanations just related to your needs (e.g., wage is not livable) are not likely to be convincing


  • Make sure that what you are wearing is functional
  • Whether casual or professional, appropriate attire largely depends on the context
    • e.g., what meeting it is and what your role is in that meeting
  • Be mindful of the context and the message your sending with what you are wearing
  • Feel free to ask what to wear if you are unsure
  • Above all, wear what makes you feel comfortable!


  • Take advantage of informal networking opportunities and social opportunities with your coworkers. Ask to join others in social activities instead of waiting to be approached if you’d like to join them
  • With all career advice, take the advice that resonates with you and speaks to you, and do not take advice if it does not feel right to you
  • Trust yourself and your instincts!


  • Recognize bias
  • Be proactive
  • Provide support from below (i.e., authority figures are not the only ones who can make a difference)
  • Use questions to guide potentially confrontational conversations (e.g., “What did you mean when you said… ?” “Have you noticed that…?”)
  • Call out bias or sexism when you see it
  • Listen and strive to empathize with those who have experienced bias
  • Ask what you can do to be supportive
  • Amplify suggestions and and contributions made by others who are not getting the attention and recognition they deserve
  • Provide opportunities for women and non-binary to build confidence
  • Encourage women and non-binary people to pursue opportunities and follow up with them


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