Broadening Your Sights: Learn to Sell Yourself

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By Lisa Ingarfield | @tritodefi

One of the primary behaviors I notice when advising women about resume writing, interviewing, and developing their career goals is how often they under-sell themselves. Despite their education and experience, women often lack confidence in their abilities and find it hard to talk about themselves. Call it modesty, a fear of being labeled pushy or arrogant, or simply a lack of information on how to move forward, but nearly every woman I advise struggles with this.

Yesterday my fellow broad Jess Fialkovich talked about Selling Your Business. When it comes to job seeking, or looking for a board seat. or landing our next deal, we are also selling ourselves. A few tips to consider, as you think about broadening your horizons:

1. Fully identify what you achieved in previous and current positions. Avoid vague references to tasks and goals and resist the urge to merge all your responsibilities into two lines. Be clear and be specific. For example, stating you ran a counseling group or managed an IT project isn’t enough. It doesn’t tell the employer anything. Instead, say:

  • Facilitated a weekly psycho-educational group with eight teen girls, ages 11-15, on body image and self-esteem.
  • Managed marketing project for leading IT company, including developing project timelines, overseeing team member activities, meeting regularly with client, and negotiating project changes when necessary.

2. In an interview, be sure to provide examples. This is your time to shine. Clipped, limited responses don’t paint a full picture of who you are and what you can achieve. Tell the employer what you did and avoid talking abstractly. Be specific. Provide concrete examples.. Share a story about staff supervision as a means to demonstrate how you are a supportive leader.

3. It does not make you arrogant to talk about your accomplishments, nor does it make you greedy to negotiate your salary and earn what you are worth. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report, in 2015, Colorado women were still earning 17.5% less than men for the same work. Negotiate for more because you are skilled, talented, and deserve it.

4. Apply for jobs even when they seem like a stretch. You don’t need to have every requirement listed in the job description to throw your hat in the ring. An internal Hewlett Packard report found women only apply for jobs when they have 100% of the qualifications listed. Men, on the other hand,  apply when they have 60% or more of the listed qualifications. This confidence gap is damaging to women’s progress in the workplace. A 2016 report by and McKinsey and Company found of 132 companies they surveyed, women were promoted at much lower rates than men, and at every step of the corporate career pipeline, women lose out.

Yes, it’s hard! But you can make your voice heard and you do have something to offer. Get it, broads!


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