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Promotions - is it skills I lack, or confidence?

(9 Posts)
GrapevineDodger Thu 23-Feb-17 19:59:27

I often see internal vacancies advertised at work which appeal to me, but when I look at the detailed role requirements, they seem to need skills and experience I just don't have. I don't then put in an application because it seems pointless.

However, on three occasions over the last year, colleagues in the same role as me and with (as far as I know) a similar background, have applied for jobs I've believed I'm not at all skilled for and been successful.

I find it difficult to think of a way to ask for the secret of their success without it sounding disparaging or like sour grapes - but I don't know whether they're genuinely better skilled than I am, or just much better at presenting themselves.

For context, I've recently seen an internal role I really like the sound of - at a higher grade - but as usual, I'm not convinced I could confidently give examples of all the required skills.

Should I apply anyway, or instead try to find opportunities to gain experience of those skills in my current role in the hope that another similar job will come up later?

I wondered what others' experience of this type of situation was - is it usual to dismiss the idea of applying for jobs unless you can claim to hold all or most of the skillsets?

Is there a way I could ask for advice from someone who has been successful without risking offence?

Any advice or opinions would be gratefully received.

yorkshirepuddingandroastbeef Thu 23-Feb-17 21:24:20

I'd say it was confidence if colleagues in the same role as you are applying when you think you lack the skills.

I would look at the skills and really rack your brains. Are there other areas of your life where you are using them (i.e. volunteering, hobbies, etc.)? You might be surprised if you think outside the box. If not, can you mug up online (i.e. pc skills, industry knowledge).

Historically (not so much now!) I have been successful in my area but I think part of that was applying jobs and pretty much punching above my weight.

PastysPrincess Thu 23-Feb-17 21:33:12

This sounds like a lack of confidence to me. When you say you dont think you can give examples of the skills required are you sure you aren't minimising the experience you have? I have done this in the past because I feel if I've managed to master it, it can't be that hard.

GrapevineDodger Thu 23-Feb-17 22:11:18

Thank you for your replies. Pastys yes, I often feel that I don't really do anything that anybody else couldn't do. I've been in my current role for about 4 years, so I think I do quite a lot of things on auto-pilot - I wasn't formally trained in the role, and had to pick it up as I went along, so I find it difficult to pick things out as transferrable skills.

Yorkshire I've always felt (possibly wrongly) that unless I'm applying for an external role, outside workplace skills don't count - I suppose because they can't be backed up by my appraisal documentation (i.e. I could be making them up!) That's probably paranoia on my behalf and there are skills I use outside work that would be relevant to this role (one of the reasons it appeals to me) so I will think about whether I could incorporate them in a convincing way.

I often suffer from the feeling that I'm already punching above my weight and I think this makes me come across as not very dynamic or memorable.

yorkshirepuddingandroastbeef Thu 23-Feb-17 22:25:29

I think you need to feel the fear and do it anyway.

I would say that four years in one job is probably long enough. Otherwise you may be perceived as lacking ambition.

I, on the other hand, have the completely opposite problem.

PastysPrincess Thu 23-Feb-17 22:56:33

At my workplace I am being encouraged to apply for a job that everyone knows I have a slim chance of getting. Why? Because I will get to see how far away I am and what I need to improve upon.

You sound like you would benefit from a mentor if that is possible in your organisation.

I use excel a lot at work. I'm often asked to get some kind of data together for a presentation. I have had no training and worked out most of the formulae via google. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence and access to the internet could produce what I have...but no one else has. I'm the one who came up with the ideas and resesrched it and made it work. Now, I'm the one management come to when they need something. Should I not get credit for that just because everyone else in my office COULD have done it but didn't.

GrapevineDodger Fri 24-Feb-17 07:20:59

Yorkshire I have been guilty of letting my career stagnate in the past - I've gone through a couple of restructures where I had to reapply for my own job, and afterwards felt so relieved to have hung onto it that it disguised to me the fact I hadn't actually progressed. I do need to do something before I just blend into the background.

Pastys I know I would benefit from a mentor - I had one in my previous role, but at the level I'm at now they're more difficult to come by. I know in one sense I have nothing to lose (and if I can get feedback on my application, everything to gain in terms of solid development points to work on) but I have a constant fear of making a fool of myself.

I think I'm going to have to pluck up the courage to speak to one of my former peers - there's one I see quite often in passing - and see if I can get some informal advice and hopefully a bit of reassurance that a role at the next level is accessible with the skills I have now.

PastysPrincess Fri 24-Feb-17 07:37:49

I might also suggest some counselling, often lack of confidence can be traced back further than our immediate circumstances. If you can find the root cause and deal with it, you'll be better equipped to manage your current situation.

yorkshirepuddingandroastbeef Fri 24-Feb-17 09:31:51

The thing is, I think it's normal to feel like a bit of a fool.

In recent weeks I was turned down after a telephone interview for one job and turned down after a first interview for another job. As usual, I was thinking I should have said this or that and shouldn't have said this or that (cringe!).

I try to remind myself that I applied and was successful to get that far from a pool of applicants. I just need to keep going...

I've just read a very good book called Find Your Power by Chris Johnstone. It might be relevant to you at the moment.

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