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HEY, 'GIRLS,' LISTEN UP!

With women earning college degrees and promotions in record numbers, do we really need yet another book telling us what we're doing wrong at work? Especially one that refers to us as girls? - Ordinarily, I would say no, but the The Girl's Guide to Kicking Your Career Into Gearby Caitlin Friedman and Kimberly Yorio qualifies as an exception. The third installment in their Girl's Guide series offers a practical overview of what it takes to translate smarts and ambition into workplace success. - Great careers rarely happen by accident, Friedman and Yorio point out. "If you want to be happy at work, the first step is realizing that your career is worth planning for," they write. It's also worth fighting for. You have to go after what you want, without letting fear of rejection keep you down. "A lot of people are afraid of hearing the word 'no,'" Friedman said. "Instead of asking for something, they just resent not getting it." - Some of my favorite advice from the book:

Don't be afraid to negotiate

"Whether you notice or not, you negotiate almost every single day," Friedman and Yorio point out. Yet for a lot of women, the thought of "negotiating" inspires dread. Friedman and Yorio spell out practical, individual strategies for asking for raises, promotions, flexible schedules and even an assistant. Even if you don't get exactly what you want, they argue, you will benefit from the process of asking.

Don't be afraid of confrontation

Just be smart about it. "Most co-workers are not your friends, so throw out the notion of 'hurting their feelings,'" they write. Pull people aside in private and talk to them if they are doing something that hurts your work. "Keep the emotion out of your voice, get your facts right, be willing to listen and offer a solution to fix it from your end," they write. And pick your battles.

Don't let stereotypes stop you

There are still plenty of people who make assumptions about the career commitment of women, especially working mothers, but you don't have to feel boxed in by those tired beliefs even as you acknowledge they are still there. Reviewing the recent studies on the perception of women and leadership skills was eye-opening for her, Yorio said. Perceptions won't change overnight, but we have to keep trying.

Don't be afraid to sell yourself

Selling is what business is all about, even if your "business" is a nonprofit or government agency. "We laugh when we hear women say 'I won't sell.' You might as well say 'I won't breathe,' because the reality is that you are always selling ... your ideas, your point of view and your personality," Yorio and Friedman write. "Selling is the whole ball game, girls, so grab a bat."

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