To secure a new job or promotional opportunity, a good place to start is taking the risk to actually apply. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
There is a story retold by Facebook’s COO, the famous gender equality champion Sheryl Sandberg, that Hewlett Packard had found a significant difference in the way men and women approached job applications in their company. They found that women would only apply if they felt they met all the criteria, yet men would apply if they met 60%.
The Global HR VP at IBM tells a similar story – that when recruiting for a fluent mandarin speaking Head of China Operations, the women did not apply because they could not speak it fluently, yet six men applied who could not speak it at all.
Why does this happen? Are women raised to be risk averse and avoid failure? Perhaps we do not like to experience rejection, so maybe we don’t try unless we are sure we will succeed? Perhaps we are influenced by having only seen men in the role, and so we assume that we would not be suited to it or enjoy the job? Maybe we feel there will be a bias against our application so we just don’t bother.
The reality is that the employer members of the UK Automotive 30% Club want you to apply, and for you to fulfil the best employment destination you can achieve.
So ask yourself “Do I meet most of the criteria?” “Am I willing to learn the rest?” and most importantly, if an internal role; “does anyone else actually meet all of the criteria?” (The answer is likely to be no).
If there has never been a woman in the job before, remember someone always has to go first. It might as well be you.
The best person for the job should always be appointed, irrespective of their gender.
But we need to ensure that the best person for the job actually applies for it in the first place. That person may well be you. So go for it!