I know of a lot of people looking for jobs right now and have had some interesting conversations recently about their credentials. Many women tend to down play their experience and education while men are more confident about their own education and tend to overstate their abilities. I admire the fact that many men are not afraid to pursue jobs and opportunities that may be a stretch for them. I wish more women would exude and express more confidence in their same abilities and often better abilities.
Too often I have seen very accomplished women stand on the side lines, doing an excellent job, waiting to be recognized, while their male counterparts are taking advantage of their fearlessness to talk about themselves.
One of my closest friends is very accomplished in her career; she was a high ranking officer in the Army, she’s had incredible success in her corporate life as a top sales performer, yet when it comes to applying for jobs, she has more often than not looked for positions where she would be significantly under employed. We have talked about these jobs during the interview process, usually with little enthusiasm, and then reconvene afterwards when they didn’t work out. I always told her, “It wasn’t meant to be and something better will come along”. Even though she knew she was over qualified and didn’t really want the job, she was still disappointed she didn’t at least get an offer.
My friend just started a job three months ago in her field of recruiting and she loves the company and the people she works with. Finally, after a couple of years of looking at jobs that she was over-qualified for, she landed the position where she was supposed to be.
I have several friends looking for jobs after leaving long, successful airline careers. Many were Directors with a lot of responsibilities and were making excellent salaries. In a tight job market, which is very competitive, it’s been difficult to find a new job, and while most people as they progress in their careers want to move into the next level, many of my friends are applying for positions with less responsibility and less money.
I asked a friend who has an outstanding resume and at a Director level for several years why she was applying for lower level jobs. She stated at this point she wanted to get into a company, even at a lower level, so she at least had a job. My friend should be considered for a VP job, instead she’s willing to settle for a middle manager job. Her strategy for pursuing jobs is less about advancement and more about employment.
I’m not being critical of her strategy, I just hope she doesn’t regret settling. My male friends and colleagues are much more aggressive in pursuit of higher level opportunities. I have seen too many of my female friends that are more willing to settle.
Two things you can do to confidently talk about your accomplishments and credentials so you get noticed:
- Keep a portfolio of the work that you have done in each of your jobs. Every job will have something worthwhile that you can build upon for your résumé.
- Make a conscious effort to talk about your success to people; family, friends, colleagues and new people you meet. Talking about our accomplishments for many women feels like bragging and makes us feel uncomfortable. Don’t stand on the sidelines in your career while other people advance ahead of you because you didn’t talk with confidence or under played your credentials.
The more comfortable you become talking about your successes, the more opportunities will open up for you.
To your success!