If you think that pageants are only about strutting your stuff on stage in front of the judges? Then think again. The techniques women learn to compete in pageants are the same ones they can use to climb the proverbial career ladder. Here are 5 pageant tips that can be directly applied to excel in the workplace.

1. Smile: Positivity is an incredibly powerful tool

Pageant contestants don’t have dazzling smiles for no reason, they know the secret is that an authentic smile not only wins over others, it also makes you feel great inside. Putting a smile on your face even when you are tired and things aren’t going well is one of the biggest lessons one learns from competing in pageants. I don’t know why, but smiling makes one feel better and positively affects the mood of people around you. What’s that old saying about smiling and the whole world smiling with you? Try it and see.

Future Females Blog - Smile

2. Show off your talent: Know your strengths and play them up

Pageant contestants often spend years honing their talent, just like women in the workplace spend years gaining job skills and experience. The key is to be able to share your talents with others. Contestants are uniquely brave women, with confidence enough to not only celebrate and display their beauty and intellect, but talent as well. Fearlessly, contestants share their talents with an audience to bring light to another facet of their personality, and ultimately, their ability to be a well-rounded titleholder. Each person is gifted with special talents specific to them. In competition, I’ve observed the importance of sharing those talents and also appreciating the talents of others. People are touched and inspired by your vulnerability when you give of your whole self, especially the best of you. To excel in your career, women must be confident enough to display their unique talents and strengths. When you do what YOU do best, your productivity increases.

Want to become better known in the workplace and get that coveted promotion? Then remember to share your talent with others. Volunteer for job assignments or to lead cross-functional project teams so more people, especially management, have the opportunity to see your skills and the quality of your work.

3. To ace the interview: Be extremely knowledgeable

Queens don’t ace the interview competition just because of their looks; they do well in interviews because of their brains and personality. When you compete in a pageant, you quickly realise that answering a variety of questions flawlessly is a huge element in the competition. You never know what questions you’ll be asked so you have to prepare for anything. Essentially, your answer needs to be as beautiful as you are on stage. And while beauty might get you noticed, its brains that are the most important aspect when it comes to competing in a pageant as well as competing for a job in the corporate world. Your goal, learn everything you can about the company, industry, key competitors and needs of the customers. Then put your knowledge to work during interviews for your dream job by dazzling them with your wisdom and ideas.

Future Females Blog - Interview Preparation

4. Pick the perfect pageant attire: Dress for the job you desire

Ever watch pageants and stunned over the magnificent gowns? Contestants choose their gowns carefully because they believe it is the best one to reflect who they are and the position for which they are competing because winning a pageant IS a one year job! Many try on what feels like hundreds of gowns before they find the perfect one. When she puts it on, it makes her feel like she could take over the world. This is the same for women in their careers because it’s important to dress in clothes that make you feel confident and that are suitable for the position. To dress for the job, research your industry and company and then build your wardrobe to reflect your personality and your desire to climb even higher on the career ladder.

And last but certainly not least …

5. Walk the walk: Stand tall and show your most confident self

Ever wonder why pageant contestants look so confident? Because they practice exuding confidence even when they may be quaking from nerves on the inside. Pageants are a mental game and it can be nerve-wrecking to go on a stage in front of judges and a large, sometimes television, and audience. They just remind themselves that they are not competing against anyone else but them and they picture themselves as the winner. This turns their mindsets from nerves into confidence. Some have found that if they act confidently, they’ll become a confident person be it on stage or in the workplace. Confidence is key for women job seekers and for obtaining promotions; just remember to exude confidence, not arrogance. There is a fine line.

You see? You don’t have to be a pageant contestant to use the techniques to excel in your career. So stand tall, be knowledgeable, know your strengths and show them off, dress for the position and SMILE! Then watch out – you just might earn that coveted promotion, even if it doesn’t come with a crown!

Future Females Blog - Excel in Your Career

And always remember this quote by Basetsana Kumalo

“You have to be street-smart and have sass, which no one can teach you.”

Here’s to a more confident you!

Mnothowandile Cele
Mnothowandile is a first-year LLB student at Nelson Mandela University and a current Miss Eagle South Africa 2018 contestant, a "beauty with brains and purpose" pageant. She aims to use Future Females to empower and involve women across all racial and socio-economic backgrounds with an emphasis on disadvantaged or previously disadvantaged girls and women. In 2017, she received the prestigious Strong Women of the South Award. "Having to know how it feels like to go to sleep on an empty stomach and relying on generous handouts from caring people, I have learnt that once you put your mind to something, through hard work and dedication, absolutely nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams."