Have you ever held back from applying for a job, or even a promotion, because you feel you don’t tick all of the requirements?

I recently came across an interesting article by Tara Sophia Mohr, who has written a Harvard Business Review Blog based on the Hewlett Packard internal report findings that ‘Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them’.

The report, which you may already be familiar with, has been quoted in numerous articles and books, and the advice from many, was that women need to have more faith in themselves.

In her HBR blog, Tara stated that she was sceptical that the decision to apply for a job is due to confidence, and so she surveyed over a thousand men and women and asked them, “If you decided not to apply for a job because you didn’t meet all of the qualifications, why didn’t you apply?”

Interestingly, only about 10% of women and 12% of men indicated that this was their top reason for not applying. The results actually showed that people who weren’t applying believed they needed the qualifications not to do the job well, but to be hired in the first place.

Another 22% of women indicated their top reason was, “I didn’t think they would hire me since I didn’t meet the qualifications and I didn’t want to put myself out there if I was likely to fail.” These women also believed the on-paper “rules” about who the job was for, but for them, the cost of applying was the risk of failure – rather than the wasted time and energy.

Her findings showed that 78% of women’s reasons for not applying, have to do with believing that the job qualifications are real requirements, and seeing the hiring process as more by-the-book and true to the on paper guidelines than it really is.

It got me thinking about myself. I left school with minimal qualifications and a desire to enter the world of beauty therapy, which I did enjoy, and even successfully ran my own business for 4 years. For one reason or another, I decided to change careers and became a cosmetic consultant.

I worked there for 7 years, and whilst doing so had both of my children, now aged 7 and 4. To embrace motherhood in a full capacity I decided to leave the cosmetics industry and worked part time for my husband who had his own company. This fitted in perfectly with home life, I did all of the school drops offs, never missed a school play, and always made it to sports days and parents evenings.

As my children grew out of the toddler phase and started to become more independent, I realised I needed something more than what I was doing and with the support of my husband I started looking for other job opportunities when I stumbled across an advertisement from Gaia Innovation Ltd on Facebook.

Julia, CEO of Gaia Innovation Ltd, and Founder of the UK Automotive 30% Club was in need of a PA and Office Manager and was offering part-time/flexible working hours.

Having no qualifications or depth of experience in either areas I found myself scrolling passed what I saw to be a fantastic opportunity. But what did I have to lose? Afterall the advert didn’t specify I needed any particular qualifications to apply. I sent a message to gain further information and was asked to send in my CV, which WAS followed by a series of interviews and to my delight I was given the job!

I started part-time, 3 days a week, and quickly progressed. I’m now working 5 days a week, and my role covers everything from PA to managing the UK Automotive 30% Club, which includes the club and network of members, IAW Day, IAW Awards and Inspiring E-Zine, our website and social media channels and even our company accounts!

Had the advertisement been worded differently, or perhaps advertised on a job site with a long list of requirements, would I have applied? Most probably not, and this would have meant I would have missed out on the most amazing job and many opportunities it has given me.

I believe if more employers looked at the way they write their job advertisements, or even where they advertise them, it will allow a wider audience from across different talent pools to apply and perhaps it will enable that one person a chance to excel and shine in a career that is new to them.

I love this quote from Sheryl Sandberg in her book ‘Lean In’, talking about the Hewlett Packard report;

“Women need to shift from thinking ‘I’m not ready to do that’ to thinking ‘I want to do that – and I’ll learn by doing it.”

Each day I face new challenges but I’m fortunate enough to have Julia as my mentor, and with this, I feel I can achieve absolutely anything. I’ve entered this whole new world and absolutely love working within the Automotive industry.

And guess what? I still make my children’s school plays, sports days, drop-offs and pickups #FlexibleWorkingRocks


Article by Victoria Trudgill


If you’d like to find out more about how the UK Automotive 30% Club can provide advice about recruiting women please contact Julia Muir julia@automotive30club.co.uk

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