How You Might be Holding Yourself Back From That Job

If you’ve been on the internet these past few years, you’re probably aware of the statistic that while men will apply for a job they are only 60 percent qualified for, women tend to not apply unless they’re 100 percent qualified. Finding that they might not match all of the listed job requirements is a common deterrent for women who are trying to find a job, although men tend to just go for it.

And while a lot of this may have to do with confidence, there are ways to tell that you may be holding yourself back from a job. Today, GovFem is here to help you figure out if you may be more qualified than you think you are, and what to do instead of hold back.

Make sure you know how the hiring process works. As a Harvard Business Review survey suggests, confidence may not be the sole factor for women not applying to jobs. In fact, most women – 40.6 percent to be precise – reported that the main reason they didn’t apply to a job was that they “didn’t meet the qualifications” and didn’t want to waste their own time and energy.

What’s mainly concerning about this, though, is that fewer men stated this as a reason for not applying, hinting at a societal indication that women tend to judge themselves harder. However, there are ways to approach this problem.

Remember that not all job postings are verbatim phrases of the exact skills necessary to be successful in a role. A lot of companies use the opportunity to post desirable skills in a candidate. But if you are a stellar performer in most of the areas, don’t rule the job out just because you don’t have the exact number of years of experience.

A great way to really understand, comprehensively, the hiring process, is to look at your resume from the perspective of someone else. All those listed skills, and sentences explaining the work you’ve done look far more impressive to someone else than they do to you. Remember that you are your own worst critic, and where you may see gaps in experience, a hiring manager probably sees unique talents that you’ve learned along the way.

Sometimes it’s okay to take risks. Much research has pointed to the notion that, generally, females are stronger rule-followers than males. So, when a woman see a job description that lists “ten years in marketing” as a “requirement,” it’s no surprise, really, that she’s less likely to apply for the job, even if she has eight or nine years of experience.

But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take a chance. One of the best things you can do as a woman is to throw your hat into the ring. If a listed requirement isn’t exactly in your wheelhouse, but you’re still immensely qualified for the job in other realms, apply! More women need to apply for more jobs so that women are represented more widely in the public sector, and beyond.

So, go ahead, be a rebel. For too many years, it has been normalized that women should stringently follow the rules and that men don’t necessarily need to. In order to get closer to shattering that elusive glass ceiling, women need to be bigger risk-takers. You probably have a stronger chance at getting that job than you think, so don’t let rules hold you back.

Read between the lines. Most of the time, hiring managers cater the job description to describe the perfect, ideal candidate. Some of the time, they find that person. However, very rarely does that perfect 100 percent match exist in the real world. So, learn how to read ­– really read – what a job description is asking for.

For example, a job description might list “Proficient in Ruby on Rails,” as a requirement. However, if you have a good track record of learning new web applications, then you can state in your application that you have the ability to learn coding languages. Most of the time, hiring managers are looking for applicants with strong competencies, not necessarily every precise skill they list.

So, put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes; most likely, they’ll want to give more people a chance so that they have greater potential to hire someone extraordinary. If you see yourself doing well in the role, and know that you have skills that go beyond those listed, apply! You might not be underestimating yourself, but you could very well be overestimating the competition.

Obviously, a lack of confidence in women isn’t really the main cause for this lapse in job applications. Hiring managers and other HR personnel could definitely improve upon making job descriptions more female-friendly, but don’t let an overly specific posting deter you from the job you want. You’re smart, dedicated, and talented, and you can easily learn how to better read job descriptions, because probably, you deserve that position.


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