So, you’ve been itching for a new job and even decided that it’s time to take your career to the next level while you’re at it. But, things haven’t been panning out the way you hoped, and you’re not sure why.
While you might think that the main issue is your resume or interview skills, you might be surprised to discover that the way you think (and talk) about yourself might be the culprit. Having coached corporate high-achievers in dozens of industries, I’ve seen how certain sentiments can derail one’s efforts if not careful.
Here are five phrases that might be killing your career growth and limiting your options when searching for a new job.
“I don’t have a senior role on my resume.”
Often when speaking to corporate professionals who are ready to step into a leadership role at a new company and who have the experience to do so, their biggest fear is that they don’t have a title on their resume to match their experience. Because of this, they might shy away from applying for senior positions or sabotage their interviews when they do apply for those roles.
However, the best thing to do instead is to get crystal clear on the specific examples and accomplishments that illustrate your leadership and strategy skills. Then, confidently paint the picture for recruiters and hiring managers by highlighting those examples in your resume and interviews.
“My last role was a downgrade.”
Maybe you took a role that didn’t quite fit your previous career trajectory, or maybe you took a step back thinking that it would help you move forward in a new industry, but now you regret it. Whatever the case is, allowing that to stop you from going from the next role you desire is a sure way to kill your career growth.
Instead, reframe the story that you tell yourself and others. Your career isn’t a linear path; it’s full of twists and turns. Rather than discounting your journey, take the lessons learned and the experience gained and use them to show why you’re ready to jump back on the path you once were on before. If you can downgrade, then you can also upgrade too.
“I’m too old. I’m not getting hired because of my age.”
Unfortunately, ageism does exist in the workplace, and it can be extremely frustrating for those on both sides of the spectrum. However, too often, seasoned corporate professionals tend to limit their options and approach their job search as if they aren’t experts and leaders in their field.
For example, I recently had a client who feared her 15+ years of experience was working against her. But, once we got to the root of it, we discovered that she was going after the wrong roles. Instead of leveraging her years of experience to go after more leadership positions, she was settling for mid-level roles where she was clearly overqualified. So rather than limiting or disqualifying yourself, a better solution would be to find opportunities where companies are looking for the years of knowledge and expertise you bring to the table.
“I don’t have perfect experience.”
You might be guilty of feeling this way if you’re constantly skimming job descriptions to find the one bullet point where you don’t match up to what they desire. For instance, they might ask for six years of experience, but because you only have five years of experience, you decide not to apply.
But, you don’t need to meet 100% of the qualifications to get hired. You don’t need perfect experience to take your career to the next level. You need to be able to demonstrate how the experience you do have is perfectly suited to solve the needs of the role you desire. The hiring process is all about building trust, and your job as a candidate is to communicate that you can excel in the role so that companies trust you enough to hire you, even when you don’t have perfect experience.
“I got laid off, and it’s holding me back from getting hired.”
In the past two years, many high-achieving corporate professionals experienced what it was like to get laid off for the first time in their careers. The reality of that can be confidence-shattering. However, the effects of the pandemic proved that getting laid-off has nothing to do with your experience, value, track record, or skill set. On top of that, you get to take your brilliance and expertise with you wherever you choose to go next.
So, instead of letting yourself think otherwise, map out the accomplishments you achieved in your past role and confidently articulate them when applying for the roles you desire. Focus on your track record of excellence rather than the gap on your resume.
Of course, having a compelling resume and solid interview presence matter, but it starts with how you see yourself. If you want to land a new job that takes your career to the next level, it’s important to recognize how you might be getting in your own way. Because once you get out of your own way and reframe your limiting beliefs, you’ll find that everything else improves. So, take a step back to check in with yourself so that you can move forward with confidence and finally stand out and get hired for the next-level role you desire.
Adunola Adeshola coaches high-achievers on how to take their careers to the next level. She is the author of the guide How to Go From Zero Interviews to Dream Job Offers.