She found 133 ways to get ahead at work. Here are 3 you can try this week.

Kathleen Escarcha, staff writerKathleen Escarcha, Senior Staff Writer

Female students make up more than half of all college students… but just over a quarter of college presidents and higher ed board members.

They also earn $9,000 less than men right after college, and proceed to earn only 80% of what men earn if pursuing higher ed careers. Female students are less likely to be perceived as the smartest student in class—and female professors are less likely to be perceived as "brilliant" and "genius."

Gender bias and discrimination are just a few reasons women can struggle to land high-paying careers or rise up the ranks.

But there are ways women can push their career forward, writes executive coach Lois Frankel in her book, Why Nice Girls Still Don't Get the Corner Office. Pulling from decades of coaching men and women leaders, Frankel identifies 133 ways women can get ahead.

Some of her tips, like building a personal brand or battling perfectionism, are long-term projects. But others are small steps you can take this week.

Step 1: Grab coffee with a colleague

"It's a myth that people get ahead because they work hard," writes Frankel. Instead, it’s a combination of factors like likeability, strategic thinking, and networking that creates a successful career, she argues.

Don't overlook the value of building work relationships, warns Frankel. If you never step away from your computer to chat with your boss or colleagues, leaders won't get to know you—and you may get passed up for opportunities, she adds.

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Spend at least 5% of your workday building relationships, recommends Frankel. Stop by a colleague's desk for a casual conversation or set up a lunch meeting each week with a new person.

Step 2: Set boundaries on your time

When you're a leader, everyone wants a piece of your time. Differentiate between moments where employees need to talk versus when they want to talk, recommends Frankel.

If you're on a deadline and someone stops by your office to chat, don't feel obligated to have a conversation. Instead, try the phrase, "You know, I would love to talk more, but I'm on a tight schedule today. How about if we continue this conversation tomorrow," suggests Frankel. If you don't draw clear boundaries as to how much time you do or don't have, you'll let others' wishes dictate how you spend your day.

This doesn't mean you should never make time for your colleagues or employees, writes Frankel. But you should think about how you let other people take advantage of your time, particularly on the days you have less of it, she argues.

Step 3: Attend a meeting—and speak up  

Don't skip meetings because you feel obligated to do "more important" work, she writes. Building relationships with your colleagues and leaders is important work. And while meetings aren't always productive, they are an ideal opportunity to see and be seen, she adds.

When you attend meetings, don't sit quietly in the back corner of the conference room. Instead, use the meeting as an opportunity to showcase your expertise in a subject or build relationships by chatting with other attendees (Frankel, Nice Girls Still Don’t Get the Corner Office, published 2014).

These 4 small steps will make your next meeting more inclusive

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