Not Ready for that Promotion? Apply anyway!
Guest post by Georgie Kearney
It’s widely known in my workplace that I got a kickass promotion reasonably quickly. It’s also widely known that it took me 3 attempts to seal the deal.
Does this embarrass me? Having everyone know that I failed twice before reaching my goal? No way! I know that if I had waited until I was 100% ready for the promotion, I would have been lost in the pack instead ofstanding out as a previous applicant.
The first time I applied, I was terrified that I would look silly, naïve and be laughed at by the hiring manager. Why? Because I didn’t meet every single job requirement advertised in the position description.
In particular, it suggested applicants needed two years of experience at the company; I only had six months! But I didn’t let this stop me.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – why apply for a promotion when you’re not ready for it? From my experience, there are so many reasons, but it’s only in hindsight that it is so clear.
Why you should go for that promotion – especially if you’re not ready:
It gets you on their radar
Applying for a promotion shines a spotlight on you and your potential – it gets the right people talking about your abilities and future within the company. Any achievements between now and the next promotion will be remembered, “Oh that’s the girl who applied for the role in our department last time”.
It shows your motivation for the role
Managers sort through applicants looking for the genuine contenders; if they can see a pattern of applying for similar roles they will see that you genuinely want to head in that direction. No one wants to take on an employee who just applied on a whim, or just wanted to get out of their last role, they want someone who will be committed to their team.
It helps you prepare for when you are ready
You know what would be the easiest job interview ever? One you have already been to! The first time I applied for my role I didn’t get an interview, but the second time, I did. While I wasn’t successful, I did learn what sort of questions would be asked in the interview. I also gained valuable feedback about what I needed to improve on, in order to be successful the next time. The third time I applied, I had a massive head start on my competition and the kind of insider knowledge they could only dream of!
Your equivalent male colleagues have probably applied
In her Harvard Business Review blog post, “Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified,” women’s leadership coach Tara Sophia Mohr quoted this statistic from a Hewlett Packard internal report: “Men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women apply only if they meet 100% of them.” Just let that sink in for a minute and consider why you’re not applying for that promotion yet. Is it because you’re letting a lack of confidence hold you back? Are you looking for reasons to talk yourself out of even trying, to protect yourself from possible failure? These are totally valid feelings, we have probably all shared them from time to time. Recognising them for what they are (fear and lack of confidence) and distinguishing them from what they are not (inadequacy, incompetence) is the first step in overcoming them.
You have nothing to lose
There really are no downsides to applying for a promotion early! It boosts your chances of getting the role when you are ready, and trust me, no one will think less of you for giving it a go. I now see first-hand that when my department advertise for new positions, no applicant is judged, criticised or laughed at for applying for a role prematurely. You might not get it the first time, but when you are ready, you will have a much better chance of success than if you had never tried before.
Now is the time to push through your fear and put your best foot forward. You may get knocked back, but this will develop your resilience. Yes, it might sting to be told that you’re not ready for your dream role. Why not consider this job application as the first step in reaching your dream role in the future? Who knows, you may gain the extra skills and knowledge to knock it out of the park next time around!
Georgie Kearney is a wife and mother, with baby number two arriving soon!
Georgie enjoys cooking, visiting wineries and singing 90s boy band songs with a particular brand of offkey enthusiasm. Georgie works within a Retail Support Team at RAA.
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