In The News: Talking About The Gender “Confidence Gap”

Illustration by Hannah Minn for Refinery29.

Illustration by Hannah Minn for Refinery29.

Recently, I was interviewed by Ludmila Leiva, a writer at Refinery29, about a problem I see and hear about a lot – the tendency that most women have to only apply to jobs when they meet 100% of the qualifications listed in the job description. In contrast, “men apply for jobs when they meet 60% of the qualifications.”

This phenomenon has a name: the “confidence gap.” It’s one of the many ways in which women are socialized to be less self-assured than men when applying for jobs. Confidence is key to landing a job (or a promotion or a contract) and my goal in doing this interview with Refinery29 was to remind women that, if we don’t apply to the jobs we really want – even if they feel like a stretch for us – then someone else will, and all too often the person who ends up hired will be a man. Which does nothing to challenge the status quo.

When we lack confidence about our qualifications for a particular job, we have to navigate an internal negotiation between the part of us that self-defeatingly thinks, I can’t apply for this job because I’m not 100% qualified, and the part of us that can constructively problem-solve: How can I best present the things that I’m good at and have experience in, given what the job posting says? While negotiating this, we must remember that job postings and the requirements in them are usually more idealistic than realistic. It’s your job to show the interviewer that you are a good fit and the right person for the job – not the most perfect, superhuman applicant to ever submit an application that checked off every single box for them.

So here’s the bottom line. You should 100% apply for that job that you think you’re not qualified for, and you know what? You just might surprise yourself and get the offer. Sometimes, we have to fake it till we make it. Don’t bet against yourself. And don’t rob your future employer of the opportunity to see that you are exactly the candidate they need. Apply.

Read the full article HERE.