The One Statistic Women Need to Know When Applying For Jobs

12/05/2017 03:14 pm ET Updated Dec 11, 2017

When it comes time to begin a job search, one of the first things that people look at are job descriptions. We are generally under the impression that companies put everything on that one page in the form of a blurb and bullets that are required to succeed: qualifications, credentials, education, etc. This then helps inform what you put on your resume and/or cover letter.

This seems pretty straightforward, but what you may not know:

Men apply to a job when they are 20% qualified for it.

Women apply to a job when they are 80% qualified for it.

That is quite a stark difference. Why you ask?

Men read a job description and view it more as guidelines. They see themselves having the potential to learn and grow once they land the role.

Women read a job description and look for exact matches in what is written on that page and what is on their resume. Even if they know they are capable of learning on the job, they feel that lack of exact prior experience can be a barrier to entry.

So ladies, the next time you find yourself in the midst of looking for your next opportunity don’t be afraid to reframe your thinking from “Have I done this exact job before in order to succeed?” to “Do I have enough of a foundation and relevant skills that I can transfer and learn in this new capacity?”

It is also on companies to change their job descriptions to be more inclusive, as there are often gender biases in the verbiage. It’s been shown that Textio is an augmented writing platform that HR teams can use to review language and offer alternative suggestions. Their goal is to ultimately alter the composition of its workforce.

Bottom line: Don’t rely solely on job descriptions as they can be problematic, and don’t underestimate your potential to learn. It’s the most powerful tool you have to getting the job you want.

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