Why you should always take yourself seriously
Because taking yourself seriously doesn’t necessarily mean being full of yourself
Recently I have been faced with an opportunity: I saw a job vacancy for Regional Director within a NGO. I usually stay miles away from vacancies whose titles are not “Officer”. I am pretty reluctant also when the title is “Manager”. But this time, for no specific reason, I clicked on the ad and I read the job description. And guess what?! On paper – and on paper only – I met all the requirements sought for the position. Was I surprised? At first, yes. Was I confident enough to apply right away even if potentially qualified? Not at all.
So here is why should you take yourself seriously…
It was this sense of insecurity that triggered a broader reflection on the need to take myself seriously. Especially when it comes to jobs. Let’s be brutally honest, if you do not believe in yourself, nobody will. And if you think that you are not good enough, qualified enough or anything else enough, people will believe you. Because it is easier to believe what the person in front of you tells you.
When talking about job opportunities this is even more important, as potential employers or recruiters will have the chance to evaluate your profile just based on a CV and possibly an interview. If you do not even send the CV, you will just cut your chances on your own.
By no means I am suggesting sending random applications for each and every position available on the job market. What I am suggesting is actually the opposite. Apply for the positions you are qualified for, but apply even if the position is potentially higher that what you think you could aspire for. Because you said it yourself: you are qualified. Taking yourself seriously does not make you in any way a person full of themselves; on the contrary, it makes you a reliable person, able to make a thorough self-assessment and a confident professional that knows what they want and how to get there.
So, here are some tips on how to take yourself seriously
- Assess your experience
This is a rather simple but powerful exercise, which has nothing to do with the likelihood of being selected but has everything to do with your skills and expertise. Take three vacancies in your field of expertise, one for a junior, one for a manager and one for a senior level. Check out the requirements for each position and assess them against your profile. Which criteria do you meet? If you meet any, do you meet them in full or you would benefit from some extra-training?
This exercise will help you develop a better sense of your position in the job market and will also give you guidance on what skills and expertise you need to further develop. At the same time, if you notice that your profile is more towards the one of a manager and you are currently working as an officer, start behaving accordingly within your company. You are not your job title and your job title does not define you. Your new attitude will certainly make a good impression and, who knows, you may even attract a promotion.
- Ask a friend…just to be extra sure
If after the assessment you still feel unsure about your experience, ask a trusted friend to revise with you the outcome of your exercise. Or, alternatively, ask a friend to compare your CV with a vacancy you would like to apply for. Ask them to be honest, but be ready to take their feedback. And remember, even if they say you are not qualified, it doesn’t mean that you will never get there, you will just need a bit more time.
- You are not lying, you are embracing the reality of facts
I am a strong believer that words are powerful tools, but sometimes they are also misleading, especially when it comes to describe a person skills and expertise. An example, what is really a difference between an officer and a manager in a flat organisation with a total of 5 staff members, where everyone is responsible for their domain? Who are you managing if you are your own department? And why should you not be considered to be in a managerial position if you are overseeing the work of three people and deciding on their assignments, simply because your title is officer? So, no, you are not lying, you are embracing the reality of facts.
- Prepare! Rehearse! Conquer!
Especially if you are not a naturally self-confident person, you need to prepare, because insecurities have this bad habit of reappearing when you least need it. If you are not too confident in selling yourself as the person the company needs, then you have to prepare yourself and rehearse your part, like an actor. Repeat out loud your achievements; tell yourself in front of a mirror how good you are. Do it until you sound convincing; do it until you convince yourself.
- And remember you are not the rejections you receive
You know this already, but it is worth repeating: the worst thing that can happen is that they tell you “No, thanks!”. And I am pretty sure that you have endured worse things than a rejection. It is just a bump in the road, you will get there; just don’t stop. Keep on going.
By Federica Margheri