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“Women get hired on experience, men get hired on a promise because men are often much better at talking themselves up,” says Joanna Coles, Editor in Chief for Cosmopolitan magazine.

Cosmopolitan is the biggest women’s magazine in the world, and even they give it to us straight: women cannot sell themselves as well as men can. And this is correct.

The difference in how we position ourselves cannot be any greater and it has everything to do with how we were taught to behave starting from the time we learned to talk. It could just be nature, but overachieving by default, girls set expectations of always being good at things and then it just sticks.

“We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave,” says Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code in her Ted talk. She points out how girls are set on the path of only showing their good sides and achievements while boys are encouraged to take risks and move through life without processing possibilities of failure too much. Men thrive on taking chances and starting over. “No one even takes you seriously in the Silicon Valley unless you have at least 2 failed start-ups.”

Studies show that women do not apply for jobs unless they are 100% qualified, while men apply for positions when they meet about 60% of required qualifications. It’s like we speak different languages or, at least, different dialects. And I had to learn that other language myself.

When I lost my previous position with a non-profit organization, I had to face my aversion to risk head on. I needed to figure out how to go into a new, possibly for profit, world and present myself as an asset to a future employer. I didn’t have the luxury of not taking those risks. Since I was new to this professional world and didn’t have the full set of skills required, I had to take my 60% qualifications and promise a potential employer 100% performance. It took about 6 months, but I got it!

Ladies: we need to step up our game – it’s time to take risks and fail some! This is where we “man-up” and go conquer—I mean showcase. You know you have the skills for that new project, new client, new job you’ve been thinking about. It’s time to be brave! You are ready.

Remember:

  1. Employers set up “ideal world” requirements, but are not necessarily looking for an ideal-all-skills-perfected candidate. They want you to still be learning to keep the drive and interest in flourishing.

 

  1. The whole reason of looking for a new job or a project is to grow and move up from what you’ve previously been doing.

 

  1. Talk about your achievements, motivations, how much you love to learn new skills, but also about how unstoppable you are when faced with challenges.

 

  1. No organization has only had successful projects. They’ve all failed at one point or another. They know that to grow, you need to take risks. If those risks payoff – wonderful, but if they don’t, they would want someone who can get back on their feet and move forward with the same drive as before.

 

  1. And last, but most importantly, encourage all the women in your life, especially young girls, to be brave, to take risks, and get over failures, no matter how many tries it takes.Extra points for watching Brave – this is where Disney got it right and girls can truly learn from a princess.
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