Guest post by Raghda Ali, 2023 Fellow from Egypt
Editor’s note: Raghda has been invited as a guest blogger to share her voice, perspective and experiences with the program and community.
The TechWomen program is an extraordinary opportunity for women in the field of technology to advance their careers, expand their networks, and contribute to positive change in their communities. If you’re considering applying for this prestigious program, you’re on the right path to unlocking a world of possibilities. To help you make a successful application and maximize your chances of being selected, I’ve put together some valuable tips on how to ace the TechWomen application.
- Review the eligibility requirements.
Ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for TechWomen. Applicants must be women with at least two years of professional experience in a STEM-related field and should be citizens and residents of eligible countries. Be sure to confirm that you satisfy all the requirements before investing your time and effort in the application.
- Understand the TechWomen program.
Before you dive into the application process, take the time to thoroughly understand what TechWomen is all about. The program aims to empower, connect, and support the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Middle East. It’s important to align your goals and ambitions with the program’s objectives.
- Prepare yourself for the timeline of the Application Process
The application usually opens in November each year and closes in January. You will have approximately two months to prepare your application and submit it, and the most important advice here is to start early as much as possible, give yourself time to write a first draft and then iterate.
The Application Components:
There are seven main essay questions and one optional essay question, and we will go through each one in detail:
Question One evolves around your professional goals within your chosen track, and how the TechWomen mentorship will contribute to achieving them. In your answer you need to highlight three main pillars:
- Elaborate the technical field that you are engaged in. Discuss your experience and your journey, and the achievements you have accomplished in your career thus far.
- Discuss your short-term and long-term career goals.
- Explain how the TechWomen mentorship will aid in achieving your goals or overcoming challenges you currently face.
Question Two is about your professional accomplishments and how you have demonstrated leadership in your chosen track.
I would suggest for using the STAR method in this question:
(S): Discuss a situation you have encountered in your professional life.
(T): Elaborate on the task you were required to undertake, highlighting challenges, constraints, deadlines and any issues involved.
(A): Describe the actions you took, emphasizing your leadership, initiative or integrity.
(R): Outline the outcome of your actions, highlighting achievements, improvements or successful delivery.
Question Three pertains to how you will leverage your experience in TechWomen and the networks you will gain to impact your home country and community.
Elaborate on the types of activities and voluntary experience you are currently engaged in. Explain how you plan to share the knowledge gained from Tech Women, for example: NGOs, Facebook Communities, CSR departments within your company and etc. Highlight how any community you are building will focus on women in STEM, empowerment or other initiatives within your field.
Question Four is about demonstrating your commitment to innovation and entrepreneurialism.
Discuss challenges you’ve faced in your work and elaborate on how you overcame these obstacles through innovative solutions. Additionally, share how you apply an entrepreneurial mindset in your work. Alternatively, you can narrate your story of building a venture, community or any other initiative you have been involved in.
Question Five pertains to an obstacle you have faced and how you overcame it.
This question specifically focuses on challenges encountered in your professional environment, whether they be related to growth, promotions, managerial issues or any other factors that have hindered your progress.
Question Six is about your participation as volunteer in your community and how it is impacted women or girls.
Discuss your involvement in communities with a focus on elevating and assisting women to gain exposure to more opportunities. Share how you have contributed to helping them find their voice and be heard.
Question Seven is about your journey and how it is unique, emphasizing any aspect of your background that has shaped your professional experience.
Were you the only girl in your class or workplace? How did you face this situation? What made your experience unique? Did it involve a lack of opportunities or being in underprivileged communities?
Question Eight is optional but crucial, so I recommend not overlooking it. It provides an opportunity to enhance your application.
Focus on two key aspects. First elaborate on how this opportunity will catalyze a positive transformation in your life and elevate your skills. Secondly, emphasize why you are the ideal candidate for this opportunity and elaborate how your participation will impact your community positively.
Extra Tips for your Application Process:
- Check your answers on Applications like Grammarly to enhance your statements structuring.
- Share your application with two to three people you trust, such as mentors, managers, alumnae, or first language English speakers, who can all provide valuable feedback.
- Seek a recommendation early on by asking three people. The program requests recommendations by professionals or academics in your network. Always have a backup option in case someone doesn’t answer.
- Apply early and don’t wait until the deadline to submit.
Prepare your interviewing process:
If you have been accepted and advance to the next stage, it might be time for you to start preparing for your interview. This interview, which is a requirement of some but not all countries, serves as a simulation of your application process, providing you with an opportunity to delve into your experiences, challenges and ambitions with TechWomen. Maintain confidence during the interview by rehearsing beforehand. Answer questions succinctly in bullet points and avoid oversharing. Allow the interviewer to guide the conversation by answering their inquiries directly. Avoid using all the time and ensure a balanced conversation
To conclude, the Tech Women Fellowship is a valuable chance for women in STEM to advance their careers and contribute to their communities. By thoroughly understanding the program, carefully crafting your application and preparing for the interview, you can maximize your chances of becoming a part of this remarkable initiative. This fellowship not only benefits you but also empowers the next generation of women leaders in technology and promotes positive change worldwide. Good luck with your application!