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Stop the Career Censorship!

job opportunities, career management

The other day, a client who’s been gearing up for a big change called me. “I’m so upset,” she said. “I came across a new job posting in my company that’s a perfect fit for all the things I know I can do.”

“So, what’s the problem?” I replied.

“The posting says ‘MBA required’,” she responded. “I don’t have one, so I don’t qualify.”

I bit my lip. This particular person brings 25 years of industry experience, 10 at her present company. She manages a several million dollar P&L, and has responsibility for dozens of people. And she needs an MBA for a job within her own company?

Now, I’ve got nothing against MBAs. This isn’t actually about MBAs. In fact, I’ve heard similar conversations where “MBA” was replaced with requirements like “global experience,” “HTML knowledge,” “15+ years related experience” or any number of wish-list concepts that get written into any particular job description.

Too many of us–like my client–see a qualification listed that we don’t have, and we censor ourselves. We say “no, I can’t even try because I don’t qualify.” We cut ourselves off from potential opportunity–and the potential to make a greater contribution to bring our superpowers to work.

If you’ve never been on the hiring side of the work equation, know this little secret: creating a job description isn’t science. No matter how good folks involved might strive to get them as accurate and detailed as possible, they rarely end up being a 100% match with the person who gets hired. So many other factors go into decision-making, including things we can feel and judge but can’t easily measure, like attitude, confidence, thought process, chemistry–the list goes on. So give yourself a chance!

Yes, having a listed skill or experience may indeed be essential to success for this post. But you never know until you ask. In this case, I encouraged my client to track down the hiring manager and ask to have an informal conversation about the role, saying something like:

  • I’m thinking about how I can expand my contribution here in the organization, and your posting for an XYZ role caught my eye. I may be able to help you here. However, I don’t want to waste your time going through the formal process if it won’t be a good fit, so could we schedule 15 minutes to talk more about what’s happening in your part of the business to need to fill this role now, and what success in this role looks like to you?

What do you think? Have you ever censored your own career opportunities? Or have you caught yourself in time? Share your stories on our Facebook page, or by replying below. Your story might inspire someone else!