How’s your job going? Ready for some changes? At the beginning of the year, I published a long list of potential resolutions, including these three: Ask for a raise, go for a promotion, apply for a new job. Tall orders, all three, but I found someone who has the experience and expertise to help you get started if any of these resolutions is on your list.
I met Jill Berry Bowen when she was the Chief Nursing Officer and VP of Clinical Services at Northern Light Mercy. Before that, she was the Chief Operating Officer at Franklin Memorial Hospital in Farmington, Maine, and after, the CEO of Northwestern Medical Center in Vermont. The woman is very good at all that she does.
What she is doing now is helping other people be successful in their careers. She and her colleague Dr. Elisabeth Fontaine founded Let’s Lead, LLC, a business that provides “… leadership and wellbeing coaching to emerging and seasoned leaders and practitioners …”
They are both executive coaches certified by the International Coaching Federation, and Dr. Fontaine is also certified in wellness coaching.
Jill says she especially enjoys helping people who are just heading into the workforce or are early in their careers explore their possibilities. Of course, you can be at any age or stage of your life and have possibilities worth exploring. You can also grapple with those little voices in your head that try to tell you otherwise. You could never get that job. You don’t have what it takes. What if you try and fail?
Any time you contemplate making a change or asking for something, you step into a vulnerable spot, says Jill. It’s normal.
Transition is about risk. It’s about vulnerability. If we can take those moments and capitalize on being comfortable with being uncomfortable we can spend time with ourselves and reflect on who we are and what it is that we truly want.Jill Berry Bowen, Chief Experience Officer, Let’s Lead, LLC
Who are you?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who is the authentic you?
- Who are you doing this for?
- What is your why?
- What is your value statement?
- What is your purpose in life? What do you want it to be?
- Is there alignment with whatever you are trying to do?
It takes courage and competence to do this reflection. If you’re going after a new job or transition or have a new idea that you want to present, it’s important to make sure that it’s the authentic you. It’s not somebody else’s move, and you’re not trying to be like someone else because you think they’re successful. People will read right through that. Believing in yourself enough to be authentic will be your differentiator. You differentiate yourself when you are comfortable being your authentic self and believing in yourself.Jill
You might have a really hard time believing in yourself if you lost a job, even through no fault of your own, or didn’t get a raise or a promotion.
This vulnerability can certainly turn inward and you can start saying I’m not good enough. But if you can relate to yourself well enough to understand who you are and what you’re all about, you can present yourself with confidence when you’re ready to move forward.Jill
Know who you’re talking to
As much as you need to know yourself, you also need to know who you’re interviewing with or sending your resume to. That’s because you want to be able to communicate at their level.
You want to make sure that you research everything you can about the organization and that you understand the people you’ll be talking with and what is important to them. At the same time, evaluate what’s important to you because you don’t want that to ever lose its space. You want to meet them where they are and also present who you are.Jill
You also want to be a bit of a standout, especially because right now a lot of people are competing for jobs. Let’s take a look at your resume and some suggestions from Jill.
- Make sure your resume outlines your objectives extremely clearly.
- Put your objectives at the top of your resume (or the first line of your cover letter).
- Make that objective line a wow line that makes the reader want to know more.
- Don’t use any funky fonts.
Online job interview
Because of the pandemic, job interviews are now often conducted online. Jill says you can’t be too ready for a 15-minute Zoom interview that used to be an hour-long in-person meeting. You need to think about how you’ll use that time and space wisely knowing that the person on the other end will be driving the conversation. A word to the wise — always check your background and also make sure no unwanted filters are turned on.
Ask someone you trust
What you don’t want to do, says Jill, is over or undersell yourself. If you’re struggling to define your values and objectives, you could see a career coach or you could also try asking someone you trust to hear you out. Asking a friend doesn’t always work because they can’t always be objective, but consider a colleague or someone whose opinion you value.
Years ago when I was contemplating leaving my reporting career to apply for a public relations position, I was both excited and terrified by the possibility. My intuition told me the job would be a great fit but my head told me there was no way I’d get it because I had no experience. I decided to ask a colleague in the public relations world for advice and he told me that I had plenty of experience and what he called transferrable skills, something I had never considered. He helped me build my resume and my self-confidence. I got the job and it was a great fit.
So don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Jill agrees. She says you’d be surprised at how many people are willing to help others be more successful. You might also ask them to help you prepare for your job interview. You could practice doing that 15-minute (or so) online interview.
How about that raise you thought you deserved?
You expected a raise or a promotion and it didn’t happen. You don’t feel valued and therefore, you’re feeling bad about yourself. When Jill is working with someone in that situation, she tries to help them put their emotions aside and do some deep reflecting.
What do you want to be doing? Is this work supporting what you want to be doing? Do you want to invest in this career, this job, this organization going forward? And if the answer is yes, I want to work here, I want to move to the next level, whatever it might be, you need to probe even deeper.Jill
The next step is to do an honest and clear self-analysis. Ask yourself what you are doing well or what you’re doing to exceed expectations. What things do you need to work on? When you feel ready, schedule a meeting with your boss.
Say I want to tell you what I’m doing and what I see for myself going forward in this job. Ask if they have other priorities and if they agree with your priorities and achievements. When someone comes across professionally and is clear as their authentic self, is passionate about the work that they’re doing and the contributions they want to make to the organization, says these are my accomplishments, and this is the reason I’m deserving of a raise or promotions, they have a better chance of being heard.Jill
And what if you don’t feel heard or you do, but don’t get the raise or promotion? You should still feel good about yourself.
The fact is, you had the courage to do it, and it positions you with stronger confidence in whatever might be in your future. It also provides clarity in a decision that you might need to make. One, you may decide to stay with the organization and you’re going to give it your all because you want to continue to excel. Two, do you want to spend some time thinking about where your services and your talents will be a greater contribution and valued in the way that is fulfilling for you?Jill
Speaking up for yourself can be a challenge under any circumstances, but particularly so in these work-related situations. When Jill works with someone whose self-confidence might be sagging, one of her goals is to help them discover their gifts.
Because if you can appreciate something about yourself, that makes it easier for you to address any weakness or opportunity for growth. It’s very important that people don’t lose themselves because someone else has made a judgment about them. When you go after a job [or raise or promotion], you have to know what you want and go after it with confidence.Jill
If you’d like more information about Let’s Lead, LLC, visit their website and if you resolve to speak up for yourself on the job, kudos to you!