I spoke over the last two weeks about LinkedIn and Facebook as crucial tools for the career returner looking to get back to work. Sometimes when we reach out for introductions, meet tonnes of new people, interview and generally sell ourselves
we have to battle the underlying fear of putting ourselves forward
We can feel besieged with self doubt. You can’t hide behind children, your boss, a committee, your team mates. It’s just you, talking about your achievements and why you make a good hire. We need to dismantle the myths of self-promotion.
Susan Cain offers some great advice in her blog written for introverts. I think her advice resonates whether we are introverts or not.
She claims that if your values are lined up and you really believe in your product i.e. You/What You Bring, then it is easier.
“Sometimes the stories we tell ourselves—about our confidence, our credibility, our place in the world—must meet up with the stories we have to tell others in order to raise our profile and sell our work”.
“When we’re able to bring our beliefs, core values and our marketing stories into alignment, we feel authentic, our confidence is boosted, and we connect with others much more effectively. Magical things happen. When these things are dissonant, it shows, and people are less trusting of our message”.
What she is saying, and what I have come to learn after 25 years as a successful salesperson and an introvert, is selling doesn’t require you to be someone who you’re not. In fact, it demands the opposite,
that you be true to yourself and your passions — and then reach out to connect from that core.
What is your work mission? How can you do work that you enjoy doing, that solves an employer/clients’ pain points? Once you establish that, you need to let everyone know what it is that you can and want to offer. This is where false humility and hiding just doesn’t work. So in service of your mission, for the wider good, it is time to get out there and let people know how fantastic you are. See my elevator pitch video here.
Women career returners are talented, resourceful, valuable assets to the world of work and should not be held back by lack of confidence.
This is my message. I’ve learned that I need to give the message as many platforms as I can, in service of the mission.
My message rises up stronger than my self-doubt
No one would lead a company as a as a job share or champion flexible working or closing the gender pay gap if they didn’t dig deep and have an initial conversation with an influencer. It sounds a bit harsh but we need to get over ourselves in order to serve and make a difference.
You don’t need to be perfect when you put yourself out there. Part of your skillset as a career returner is to avail yourself of all available resources and experts.
I so often hear interviewing managers say “She wouldn’t do it herself but she would make sure it happened” or “She would find someone who could”. This describes you! Perfectionists, you are off the hook. Just worry about identifying your unique offering and the rest takes care of itself.