by Haylee Hackenberg
I’m a writer, and a good portion of my work is taken up by resume and career advancement related writing and coaching. My job allows me to speak to some really incredible people, many of whom are women. In fact, “incredible” doesn’t quite cover it. I’m talking human rights advocates, extraordinary women who have dedicated their careers to the most vulnerable in our community, and a startling number of women who have overcome adversity to excel in careers that would have preferred them to stay within their designated “lesser” roles of wife and mother.
One of the most startling things I notice about the women I speak to, is the language they use in regards to their own achievements. In direct contrast to their male counterparts, the women I have the pleasure of working with have the propensity to consistently downplay their achievements. Where males are taught from an early age to claim every victory as their own, females are taught to blend in. Don’t disrupt. Keep it quiet. Women supporting women is a powerful thing, and that has to include ourselves. With this in mind, here are my tips for selling yourself and owning it.
1 // Enough with the “just”.
The most common problem I hear from women when trying to spruik their careers, is using the word “just” to completely obliterate the excellence of what they have achieved. You didn’t “just prepare a brief”, you wrote a brief that was so succinctly and superbly composed, that it drove great change!
2 // If it was you, don’t say “we”.
Team spirit and loyalty to an organisation are fabulous qualities, but if you are giving your team credit for something that you achieved solely on your own, take pause and ask yourself why. If you are applying for your dream role, or trying to advance your position, now is not the time for misappropriated humility. Sell yo’self!
3 // Ask for what you are worth.
Talking salary is rarely a comfortable conversation, but let’s be honest, it’s pretty bloody important. Every person in the room is going to look out for themselves, so it’s essential you are looking out for you! Do the research, find out what the males in the position are earning, and ask for it.
4 // Stop qualifying your personal life.
This is a tricky one, because there are still some absolutely prehistoric attitudes out there in regards to women in the workplace, so I can understand feeling like you need to justify your family commitments. So many of the women I speak to tell me that they are “finished having children” or they have grandma nearby so don’t need to take as much time off for daycare/school sick days. The thing is, that information is completely removed from your career achievements. If for some reason the topic of children is introduced, only provide information relevant to the role. Your uterus is nobody’s business but your own.
5 // Be honest about your objectives, even the long-term ones.
Just because there’s never been a woman in the position you covet, doesn’t mean there won’t be, and hell, why not you?