A few months ago, I attended a networking event organized by the Young Women in Digital. It was the first YWD (who doesn’t love acronyms?) that I attended and absolutely loved it. Their events are often focused around a specific topic and that day it was Women in leadership.
Be a Learner
We were lucky to have three wonderful panelists. They spoke about their experiences, their careers, how they got to where they were and the various obstacles that they have faced so far. After listening to them, we had the opportunity to ask questions. This girl in the audience, asked the very classic question of “what do you look for the most in a candidate?”.
However, the answer we heard wasn’t common (or at least, not to me). One of the three panelists said “a learner”. She explained that a candidate that has an amazing resume and/or diploma is great, but there are tons of people out there. What is really going to make a difference, is someone that is not afraid to get dirty and look for new ways to do things. Someone that is curious to always know and learn more, to keep up with technology.
When she was saying all that, it struck a chord. Over those past few months I had been applying to jobs and having phone interviews, but I would rarely get to the in-person interview stage. I had been having a very hard time selling myself. There were many factors to that. My studies and experiences were good (great even), but not out of the ordinary.
Basically, the only real thing I could come up to differentiate myself was the fact that I spoke three languages. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great skill to have, but it isn’t always something an employer is looking for. When I heard that answer, I immediately identified to the description she was giving. I am a learner, I have taught myself so many things (photoshop, final cut pro, WordPress,…). That day my mindset shifted. I went from being insecure in my job search to being super motivated. I felt proud of who I was and believe me, employers noticed.
All this is to say a couple of things. The first one is that networking events are invaluable, not only because you are meeting other people, but because you might learn something about yourself that might surprise you. I also find them to be very inspiring. The second thing is that you are worth a lot more than you think. If you are currently going through difficult times at work or looking for a job, it’s very easy to get discourage and forget what we’re good at and what we’re worth.