Author: Dr Divya Kumar
I was on my return flight to my home, after a day-long session with a bunch of women professionals. It was a session with successful women professionals in managerial positions and proud “working mommies” with close to ten to twelve years of work experience. It was a wonderful experience to hear each of their amazing narratives on their career comeback post marriage, maternity and relocation. I was so glad to hear how their family support plays a central role in enabling these women professionals in their career progression.
One thing all women professionals put forth in common is that they desired to explore new career opportunities. But, were not actively seeking nor have applied for a specific position, nevertheless were open to it. I was surprised to hear such articulation from high potential talents. It was not an expression of a bunch of women professionals but a sample of the universe of Passive job seekers. A research study indicates that passive job seekers comprise 75 per cent of the total global workforce.
Passive job seekers are working professionals who are willing to learn about new career opportunities but do not actively seek out nor apply to job openings. In India, the women’s representation at the managerial level was only about 20 per cent. Incidentally, the prime reasons that “halt” a woman from actively sought for a new job for career advancement were not external but internal.
Yes! The top challenges a woman professional faces at the mid-level career stage are:
Unwillingness to come out of the comfort zone
Afraid of the market competition and fear of interview rejection
Missed upgrading the technical skills with the current market trends
Not ready to build a network
Waits for employers to reach out to them with opportunities.
One should understand it is easier to break the barriers within oneself. Actions taken now can pay off significantly later.
Here are some of the key pointers passive job seekers can keep in mind:
Analyse what you want
Do a quick SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) analysis on yourself and list it down all on a blackboard. It is a comprehensive strategy for identifying not only the weaknesses and threats of a plan of action but also the strengths and opportunities it makes possible. This exercise will force you to look at your career in new ways and from new directions.
Be an active LinkedIn user
Your LinkedIn account will give you the ability to exhibit your career profile, areas of expertise, recommendations and connections. In recent years recruiters and employers use LinkedIn extensively to search for potential candidates. It is the first professional impression of you but also demonstrates your credibility in your industry and highlights your achievements. Join relevant LinkedIn Groups such as job search groups, alumni groups, and networking groups. Set the email notifications for each Group to weekly updates.
Experts advocate that the most connected people are often the most successful. Networking is not just to have someone on your email list or have them as a friend on LinkedIn or Facebook. Putting in a little effort can serve as an avenue to foster long-term relationships with mutual benefits. Send your contacts personalized updates regularly. Never miss opportunities like meeting clients or superior to your career path could be a stepping stone that could transform your life for the betterment. Don’t be hesitant to offer your help if you can, also, do not be skeptical to ask for help.
Appraise the trends and develop your skills
Staying abreast of what’s going on in your field becomes essential as it offers immense benefits to professionals across job roles and industries. Check out the online certification courses, training and workshop sessions for professionals through your networks and social groups. It enables to bring you up-to-date with the latest knowledge in your key domain. Women tend to procrastinate and complain about the lack of time to upgrade their skills. With a little effort and with your time management, certainly, you can curve out.
Be interview ready
Your resume is the most important tool to advance your career. Don’t use up all your vacation or personal leave for enjoyment. Reserve some time, to update your CV and all your online profile(s). Expound on your certifications, upgraded skills, professional memberships, your promotions or even expanded responsibilities, achieved noteworthy accomplishments etc. It should focus on your strengths. Adapt your resume for each application as each job has slightly different needs. Make sure you have a mobile-friendly version on your handset.
So, stop making excuses for why you can’t get it done and start focusing on all the reasons why you MUST make it. I bet you will make a DIFFERENCE.