All Hired Up: Strategic Tips to Land The Right Job As Women Leaders

The job hunt is stressful for all women leaders, but with key strategies in place, it can go more smoothly. Tell me about your strengths. Your weaknesses. Your dream job. Where you want to be in five years. 10 years. Undoubtedly you’ve heard all the questions before.Still it doesn’t make the art of looking for a job and interviewing for the ideal position any easier. They call it job hunting, after all. And the implication is there is a winner and a loser; a hunter and its prey.No wonder so many women leaders looking for a job find the process stressful, whether they are fresh to the marketplace with a recent degree or switching jobs while still early in their careers as leaders. But there are strategies you can employ to make it go as smoothly as possible.Job hunting can take an emotional, mental, and physical toll. But it doesn’t have to.Author and career columnist for the Seattle Times, Katherine Burns writes: “In many ways, you can deal with job-hunt stress the way you do other kinds of stress. Exercising, eating right, meditating, praying, listening to music, surrounding yourself with loving and positive people, spending time in nature, getting enough rest, engaging in a passionate hobby, and rewarding yourself for ‘good behavior’ are all excellent tools for keeping your spirits up and giving yourself the mental and physical energy to carry on. Definitely try any or all of those.”If you are fresh to the job market early in your career as women leaders, consider the possibilities of straying from your pre-designed, rigid path.“People often put too much pressure on that first job. Just try things out. Sometimes the seemingly worst assignments can be your best. What are you going to bring to it? What are you going to learn from it?” Beth Comstock, vice chairwoman of General Electric., told Adam Bryant of the New York Times.Comstock adds, “But often people are looking for an alibi to not try something new. And maybe people themselves aren’t willing to do what’s required to make the change. So the message I try to convey is, you have the permission to try something new.”To effectively launch into a new area or try a different field as women leaders, you have to know your history.That is Power Tool #1 from Take The Lead co-founder and president Gloria Feldt’s 9 Leadership Power Tools To Advance Your Career.Knowing your history and being willing to try something new, does not mean you are winging it. Preparation is still key for a job interview as well as a job search. Do the due diligence and rehearse your responses. These strategies will help you go farther on your path as women leaders.[bctt tweet=“Knowing your history and being willing to try something new, doesn’t mean you’re winging it.”]Kat Boogaard writes about interview prep in Zip Recruiter: “In order to come up with a response, you first need to lay the groundwork. Take some time to think about what your plan actually is. Whether you’re taking some time off to just recharge or travel, you have a few leads on some great gigs, or you’re still actively job searching, determine what you actually want to share with those people who keep prying into your personal and professional life. That will be helpful in actually crafting your go-to response.”Payscale rounds up some key advice on job searches including tips from Meghan Biro on doing a digital detox during the stressful job search period. Biro writes in Talent Culture, “People change when they’re disconnected. They become relaxed and present. They maintain eye contact again and build deeper relationships. They become more empathetic, kinder, more focused, and they definitely sleep better. And these benefits spill over into their performance at work.”Having some offline time does not mean that you ignore the necessities of using the latest tools to help you look for the best job for you at this time.It helps to take advantage of the tools that will make your job search (and life) easier. Comparably offers a free service that allows you to see the going salaries in different fields, major cities and with what level of experience among many other factors. You can type in location, work experience, gender, ethnicity, age, education level and company size (plus more) to see where you stack up. And as anyone negotiating salary will tell you, coming into that conversation with some ammo is highly beneficial.Comparably also allows you to see how your co-workers rate your Company and add your anonymous rating with Company Employee Reviews.  There is an anonymous #Talkpay Community forum to talk about salaries and an Equity Calculator to see what various roles in Tech get paid.What Comparably found recently in its Gender Pay Gap in Tech report from 1,000 employees in the tech industry is also great information when walking into an interview.“Women entering the tech workforce have the largest disparity with their male counterparts.  While women over 50 have the least,” the report states. The average woman 18-25 years old earns $66,000 per year in tech, while the average male earns $85,000 per year, a gap of 29 percent.Geographically, the largest gender gaps in pay are in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The smallest gender pay gaps in tech are in San Francisco, Dallas and Salt Lake City.Starting over in your career, while daunting, can have some serious benefits. And if you are looking to find a career from scratch or shift into something new, Forbes lays out a list of the 20 fastest growing jobs in America, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.Many jobs are in the healthcare sector with optometrist and physical therapist among them. But cartographer and translator may be surprises. Personal financial advisor is also a top job, but the fastest growing job title is wind turbine service technician with projected growth rate of 108 percent.Regardless of sector, some job seeking tips are universal. Writing in, Damian Radcliffe has keen insights about what works overall.“Use your grasp of where the sector is going to shape your continued professional development (i.e. the new skills and tools you are learning), or to ‘wow’ a hiring manager with industry insights at the interview. Too few people possess these abilities. Those that do, go places.”Radcliffe also suggests: “Consume, read, develop your critical thinking skills.” Networking is also super important. “For some people, networking is a dirty word. It shouldn’t be. If you are curious about this business, you should want to meet people doing interesting things. And you should want to keep in touch with them.”It’s always good to know about the industry, company, and individual employer with whom you’ll be interviewing. Having a clue about the hiring process not just from your side of the interview table, but from the vantage point of the employer may also help. The hunter—or the person charged with finding the right fit for the position—is looking to you to fill a specific role.“Hiring a candidate who shares similar passions and values is not only important for the small business but also for their own professional growth, productivity levels, and morale,” writes Amir Kazemi in HireRight.And while you know you are under stress looking for a job, the hiring manager is also under stress to find the right person. “Finding the right candidate is usually a pain point for small business owners, “Kazemi writes. “In fact, the average job posting receives about 250 applications.”So be empathetic and understanding that this is a chore on both sides. Try to make the search and interviewing process as enjoyable as you can, learning from your mistakes as well as your successes. As women leaders, consider this one position on the ladder, one step.Comstock of GE illuminates more of the process from the POV of the employer and what he or she is looking for in the perfect candidate and ultimately the perfect hire.“I’m big these days on the quality of being able to figure things out. So if I’m interviewing someone, I like to understand their method for doing that. If I’m bringing them into a centralized role, they have to be able to navigate the company. There is no rule book for that, and they have to figure it out.”This may be stressful and may cause some tension in the interview or even on the job. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. You want to express your potential and your confidence as a leader.[bctt tweet=“You want to express your potential and your confidence as a leader.”]“Leadership is about navigating tension,” Comstock writes. “Tension is actually good. If everybody on the team thinks something is good, it’s probably not that good. Leadership is about understanding that things are never going to be perfectly balanced, and understanding how to use that tension to move forward.”