Almost a year ago, late one night, I felt compelled to write an open letter to all women – a way to express the critical differences I had been noticing between male and female jobseekers that was becoming more and more apparent by the day. And yet…that open letter sat on my hard drive, unread by anyone but myself until I had the opportunity (and honour!) to speak at the recent “Women in Safety” event in Sydney.
If there’s one thing I know, it’s that we (women as a collective) sometimes sell ourselves short. Perhaps it’s the fact that we are natural perfectionists – we strive to tick ALL of the boxes. And perhaps it’s this very trait that stops plenty of women applying for their ideal job. Or promotion. Or career change.
You see, time and time again I speak to women who have not applied for a particular job advertisement simply because they didn’t tick 1 of the 10 “required” criteria. I get it – I really do. But I also understand that men would look at that same job advertisement and think “I meet 9 of the 10 required criteria” and APPLY for the job! And GET it!
Even though deep down we know we can do that job (and do it well), we hesitate at the front gate. Why? Why don’t we back ourselves the same way men do? Why do we look at the 1 “unchecked box” instead of the “9 checked boxes”? Is it because we are naturally more thorough? Or are we programmed to readily focus on our own flaws rather than our assets? It is this very trait that has a far more significant impact on our lives than we realise.
For too long the word “ambitious” has had a negative connotation for women. And this stigma flows onto how we present ourselves on paper…and more specifically, how we present ourselves on our resumes. Which is exactly why we need to talk about resumes! Your resume is THE most important step towards your dream job. Write your resume with your dream job in mind. Highlight ALL of your experience (yes – even those responsibilities that you do but aren’t “officially” part of your job role!), and most importantly – don’t hesitate if you don’t tick 1 or 2 boxes, throw caution to the wind and APPLY for that job!
I’ll let you in on a secret…those all-important 10 essential criteria checkboxes? They’re written for an employers’ dream candidate – someone who very rarely exists!
Thanks Petrina, we have always heard there is a real difference in the way men and women apply for roles or even promotions so thank you for sharing your experiences. I read an article from Harvard Business Review recently where Tara Sophia Mohr surveyed over a thousand men and women, predominantly American professionals, and asked them, “If you decided not to apply for a job because you didn’t meet all the qualifications, why didn’t you apply?” Check out the table below.