I’ve been working with a number of people trying to get a better job, start their career or make a change.
And the biggest challenge we’ve faced is overcoming the: “I’m not enough” mindset.
I honestly can’t believe how much it has cropped up, and this destructive narrative shows up in a myriad of ways, it’s sneaky. (Just like this cat, but definitely not as cute).
I’ve collected the most common three shapes I’ve seen the: “I’m not enough” trap take so far, so you can recognize it earlier, throw it out and not be hindered by this lie anymore.
1. Saying: “It was just …”
Gahhhhhhh. Such a small word but it holds SO much power. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone, (usually a woman), say: “Oh, but it was JUST a small thing”; “it was JUST volunteering”; “I was JUST asked to help.”
JUST undermines what you did, why you did it, and who it shows you to be.
I know, I know, a lot of you will probably rebut me with saying “but I don’t want to be prideful” or “but it really wasn’t that big of a deal”.
I know. I’ve said this kind of thing to myself many, many times because we have this tendency to play down our wins and make our achievements seem small.
And we especially do this when we’re measuring our wins to someone else’s.
Just because Becky created an 82% higher Facebook engagement and you created a 3.5% higher rate, doesn’t mean your win is any less significant.
When you’re applying for jobs, the person is holding your CV. They don’t know about Becky. They don’t care about her.
Seriously. They want to know what you did, because they’re checking your CV right now. They want to hear you be honest about your wins and owning the skills you have.
Think about it, would you hire someone who seemed unconfident in their abilities?
So never, never say … never, (okay, Justin Beebs) no really though, don’t say: “just” in an interview. Even if it’s “an informal interview” over Skype.
Own what you did, and be proud of the impact you created.
2. “It wasn’t for that long …”
Unless you’re dishing the dirt on your latest sexual encounter which I’d be surprised would come up in an interview, (butttt you never know), never say this either.
Time doesn’t matter. Let me repeat: time doesn’t matter!
You could have only been on a work shadowing placement for two days, but you’d still have more insight than someone who hadn’t taken the initiative to shadow someone in the first place.
You should always think really hard about what you did during these volunteering times / work experience placements.
The likelihood is your mentor gave you some kind of responsibility, even if it was “only” filing, or emailing someone.
These small things still count! Especially when you’re at the very beginning trying to land that first job in your dream sector.
And if really, you didn’t do anything. You just sat from a bench and watched as the lawyer present destroyed a case, you still have insight and exposure to the industry you’re desperately trying to get into.
THIS is always valuable.
Imagine you’re the hiring manager. You have two applications which are pretty similar.
But one person has mentioned they saw and understood how said lawyer communicated after the trial with their clients. And the other person didn’t mention having this insight.
Of courseeeeee you’d be more inclined to put the first applicant through to interview, because you know “just” that little exposure is valuable.
It means they’re less likely to piss someone off by screwing up an intense case with bad communication; that’s going to make their lives easier!
3. “But I don’t have any relevant experience …”
This one’s a tough’y, because yes, you really do need some experience nowadays to get into the door. So if you really have nothing other than a paper-round under your belt, go shadow someone!
But if you do have a few things in addition to the babysitting, you should never let this thought stop you from applying because of a magic thing called …
Spirit fingers? No … the skills CV.
The skills CV format is brilliant for people who are making a career change or trying to get into the industry they want for the very first time.
It’s brilliant because you can literally take the skills the job ad asks for, and show how you have demonstrated mastering these through other experience.
For example, you’re applying to be a “Marketing Assistant”. You’ve never been a Marketing Assistant before, but you know you’d rock in Marketing.
So, you see a job ad for this position and one of the things it says is: “Must be extremely organized and able to manage calendars”.
Maybe you’ve not been a Marketing Assistant before and had to manage calendars, but in your current or old jobs have you ever done this? Yes? Great! Write it in.
No? No worries. You can write something like “Exceptional organization skills” and then underneath explain a little further how else you have shown yourself to be organized. Maybe you implemented or maintained a filing system.
While that’s not exactly what they asked for, you’re showing them you’re capable of fulfilling their task because you’ve done something very similar before.
It’s my greatest sadness when people say to me: “I wanted to apply for this thing, but I’ve never had experience in X”. Or “I’m not qualified enough; it asks for x, y, z.”
Please don’t let that stop you! There will always be a way to show them you’re capable even if you don’t match all of their requests.
Again, really think about it.
If it was you hiring someone, would you be put off by someone who hasn’t been a Marketing Assistant before, but has done a ton of other stuff, learnt a load of transferable skills and genuinely wants to prove themselves capable of excelling?
No, you wouldn’t be! Because you’d see that person for who they were – someone trying to grow, develop and make a change.
And that’s just pretty inspiring.
Okay, so there they are, my three biggest mindset changes that you need to make to stop sabotaging yourself.
Let me recap:
- Don’t say “just”. Recognize your wins and use them to show how amazing you are!
- Don’t worry about the length of a work placement; highlight your takeaways from the experience.
- You will always have SOME related experience/skills.
If you’re ready to stop self-sabotaging and start the career you deserve, click the graphic below to download my free guide on how to craft a resume that actually gets read.
And don’t forget if you need any more help, or if you’re still really stuck you can email me here.