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I'm here to make sure you become irresistible to recruiters and hiring managers. In an extremely competitive marketplace, I can show you how to take back control of the job search, become a stand-out candidate and ultimately land you your dream career. Oh, and I promise to make the process fun. Yes, fun.

I'm Jena

Today we’re talking all about the job search – and 4 ways women sell themselves short in the process. I know many of you listening are thinking about the job search or currently in the midst of it. And I want to help you identify if you’re selling yourself short. Because I wish all women could see in them what I see – outstanding skills and capabilities!

I’ve been so excited about preparing for this episode because of how I think it will help you see yourself more clearly. I hope this episode gives you a better lens on how you think about yourself, your career, and what you’re actually good at. And I hope it helps you see where you’re selling yourself short and how to begin to change that. Are you the one who’s actually holding yourself back? I see this to be true in my own life and many of my client’s lives...more than any man or workplace, we are often the one who holds ourselves back the most. Let’s change that, together! 

What We’re Talking About

  • The 4 ways women sell themselves short
  • How to change your mindset and behavior
  • How to rock your job search and your career, starting today

#1 Women Sell Themselves Short through Doubt, Imposter Syndrome, Inadequacy

Some of the mindset issues we struggle with as women that hold us back are doubt, imposter syndrome, and feelings of inadequacy. I did a recent episode coaching a rockstar woman on how to address and overcome imposter syndrome in her career. We talk all about how to move from this place to one of action and true belief in herself, so check it out if you haven’t yet. 

I’m going to say something very controversial here: 

You have a higher likelihood of killing your career more than a male boss does.

I struggled with this for far too long myself. And what I’ve learned is that you need to take an evaluation of who’s voices and opinions you’re letting live in your brain and heart rent-free...and kick them out! The voices of doubt, inadequacy, and imposter syndrome are keeping you stuck. 

Some of the ways these voices sound in our heads: 

“I’m going to be caught”

“They’re going to figure me out”

“They will fire me”

“They won’t like me”

“Maybe I’m not as good as I think I am”

“All those things on my resume, I mean it was my team that helped me...can I really take credit?”

“You’re (I’m) a failure”

“No one wants to hear what you have to say in this meeting”

If you’re recognizing some of these things as narratives that have been rolling around in your brain, know that you’re not alone! But also know that if you let them keep hanging on, they are going to fester. They will hold you hostage and keep you stuck. These lies will keep you from applying to jobs you should apply to, applying to or taking jobs you deserve, keep you from networking, and maybe keep you applying to jobs that you should have taken 5 years ago but you’re well beyond now.

To change these narratives, you need to retrain your brain. You need to know and speak truth to yourself about your value, your career, and yourself. 

I also want you to stop diminishing your talents and capabilities. Spend time each week celebrating your work wins. Acknowledge and celebrate what went well! We spend far too much time focused on the things that did not go well. It’s time to recognize what you’ve done that’s really great, name it, and celebrate it! You do unique things that no one else can or does! Recognize them. 

I also want you to practice stepping out of your comfort zone DAILY. Do this both in your career and your life. Our world so highly values comfort that we don’t know what to do with even a little discomfort. Here’s my challenge to you: get tough! I want you to grow in this by getting out of your comfort zone daily. You’ll learn that you can survive. Rejection isn’t that scary. Failure isn’t that scary or even as real as we think it is. You are going to make it through! And when you realize you can risk, you will be successful! And this mindset change will totally change the job search process, guaranteed. 

#2 Women Sell Themselves Short by Opting Out

You’ve heard it a lot and I’m going to prove it to you today: women do not apply to as many jobs as men. It’s the truth. 

According to the Gender Insights Report from LinkedIn in 2019:

“Research shows that in order to apply for a job women feel they need to meet 100% of the criteria while men usually apply after meeting about 60%.  LinkedIn behavioral data backs this up — women tend to screen themselves out of the conversation and end up applying to 20% fewer jobs than men. Women are 16% less likely to apply to a job than a man after viewing the Job Description.”

That is crazy talk, friends!!

I see this real-time. My male clients are so much more confident to apply to jobs. My female clients are not. We get in our heads, worried about how we’ll be perceived, and we slow ourselves down. We have to change this! 

One way to begin to change it: instead of going to the bottom of a job description and noting all the ways you don’t measure up, what if you look at the description and think about all the things you have to offer, all the value you could bring to that company, all the amazing qualities you would bring to the job? It’s okay if you don’t have all the experience and qualifications – you have amazing value to add. I saw this when I applied for my position at The Muse. I maybe had 50% of the actual experience they wanted. But I knew my value and I persisted...and I got the job! And I rocked the job! You too can work yourself out of the place of self-doubt and apply for jobs that you meet less of the “requirements” believing in the value you bring!

One other fascinating thing I saw in this Gender Report is that when women apply, they are much more likely to get hired! It’s time to step into the ring! Many of us don’t apply, and therefore miss out. 

Women are more likely to get hired when they DO apply:

4 Ways Women Sell Themselves Short in the Job Search Process | Your Career Story Podcast | Jena Viviano | Career Coach | Career Strategist | Gender Stats on Hiring via LinkedIn

What are you waiting for?! You are the only one keeping yourself stuck.

When you’re applying for jobs, two tips here:

    • 20% of jobs you apply for should be stretch goals
    • Stop going down to the requirements section! Don’t discount yourself anymore.
    • And a bonus tip: actually apply. Stop opting out. 

If you need more tools on how to do this, we are here to help. We are launching Recruit the Employer: The Course in about a month. For those of you who have been interested in my Recruit the Employer Coaching Program but couldn’t do it because of financial reasons, the time commitment, or lack of spots, this is going to be a very do-able option for you! We want to make it more cost-effective so more women can get unstuck. Look for more on that soon! It is going to help you get unstuck and equip you to know what an employer wants. 

#3 Women Hold Themselves Back by Positioning Themselves as Commodities

Another way women sell themselves short in the job search is that women typically position themselves as commodities. Instead, I want you to think of yourself as a company. You, yourself, are your own company.

Think about how certain companies brand themselves. Walmart, Target, or Tiffany’s. Walmart is low-cost, Target levels up, and Tiffany’s is in a whole other stratosphere.

Tiffany’s right now has a paper clip for $1,500. FIFTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!! If they can charge this much for a paperclip, you can negotiate $10K more and value yourself so much higher than you are. Can I get an amen?!

Most women want to position themselves as a low-cost option. I am not here for that. You need to elevate your brand to be seen as a luxury brand, of great value. You need to see yourself as unique!

You aren’t a piece of coal, you are a diamond that with the right amount of time, attention, and refinement, you get to sparkle.

No woman should ever feel guilty about applying for jobs she wants, negotiating for her salary, or knowing her own worth. And you deserve to invest in yourself – through books, coaching, courses, and any kind of personal development. This kind of self-investment pays dividends for all of your career. 

What are you doing to set yourself apart? To brand yourself as your own company? Like that Tiffany’s blue box and the prestige that comes with the name, you get to choose how to set yourself apart. Some ideas of how you can do this: 

  • Your follow-up
  • The way you present your resume
  • Your LinkedIn
  • A video after your interview
  • Think: what would a luxury brand do during the job search process? Then apply that to your own job search. 

And remember: continue to invest in yourself as a brand, as a company. Whether that’s through education, coaching, books, or other personal development work, the investment is worth it! You’re a diamond, friend! Invest in yourself like it. 

#4 Women Hold Themselves Back Through Fear of Self Promotion

The last way women sell themselves short in the job search process is a fear of self-promotion. This pops up in so many ways and could truly be its own episode. 

Ways I most often see women do this:

  • Don’t ask for referrals
  • Don’t want to come across as overconfident
  • Inner critic tells you you are full of yourself. That you’re bratty.

I believe there’s a way to be humble and confident and share what you’re good at in a matter of fact way. I think too many people are sitting around waiting for someone else to tell them what they’re good at and advocate for them. I know I fell into this when I was in the corporate world! I would wait for my boss or employer to tell me I was eligible for a promotion or growth. 

Hear this: there is nothing sleazy about naming your value add. 

A phrase I prefer instead of “self-promotion” is “unveiling your skills.” Goop contributor Tara Mohr calls it “making your work visible.” Could you reframe self-promotion into one or both of these?  

This comes into play a lot in the job search process. You’re spending so much time evaluating what you “should be saying” and “how to say it” you don’t get around to accomplishing anything! It’s easier than you think – just answer your answer. Get yourself out of the overanalyzing spiral. You won’t come across as overconfident. As I like to remind you of often, if you’re concerned about being overconfident, it’s probably not an issue. 

If you aren’t your own career advocate, who will be? You need to be able to connect the dots for them, share your capabilities, and be your own career advocate.


Your Legacy & Your Career – No More Selling Yourself Short

You should start thinking about what you’re leaving on the table for yourself....but also for others….other women, your daughters, your mentees. If you don’t stand up for yourself, you are not paving the way for other women. What are you leaving on the table for them? What kind of legacy are you building? 

You have the ability to change the trajectory of your career. You do not have to sit in the doubt, the insecurities, and the what-ifs. You do not have to fear self-promotion. Self-promotion is simply making your work visible, helping people understand who you are, and communicating the value you bring to the table. 

I hope this is helpful to you! I’d love to invite you to do some journaling about where these are coming up for you. 

If you’ve been pondering a change, you need to check out our freebie to see if NOW is the right time to make a move.


4 Ways Women Sell Themselves Short in the Job Search

May 20, 2020

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recruit the employer

resources for your


digital devotional

resume writing 101

my signature program

Word at work

digital devotional

Follow me on 

I'm here to make sure you become irresistible to recruiters and hiring managers. In an extremely competitive marketplace, I can show you how to take back control of the job search, become a stand-out candidate and ultimately land you your dream career. Oh, and I promise to make the process fun. Yes, fun.

I'm Jena