Last month, Forbes published an article on differences in men and women’s thought process during the job search process. According to a Hewlett Packard internal report, men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the qualifications versus women who only apply for a job when they meet 100% of the qualifications.
Some experts attribute this difference to a lack of confidence among women but Tara Sophia Mohr, a women’s leadership coach, was skeptical of this explanation. Mohr suspected this disparity was due to more than a lack of confidence. To test her hypothesis, Mohr surveyed over 1,000 men and women and asked them, “If you decided not to apply for a job because you didn’t meet all the qualifications, why didn’t you apply?”
The survey findings confirmed Mohr’s suspicion: both men and women believed they would not be hired because they did not meet the job qualifications and did not want to waste their time and energy. Mohr also found two interesting gender differences in her survey results. First, women did not want to “face failure.” Almost 25% of women surveyed did not think they would get hired because they did not meet the job qualifications and did not want to apply if they were likely to fail. Interestingly, only 13% of men felt this way. Second, 15% of women said they did not apply for a job because they were “following guidelines” versus only 8% of men.
What does this mean for female students in health professions applying for jobs? Mohr advises women to apply for jobs for which they do not have all the qualifications when they are really enthusiastic about the position. Mohr explains sometimes “qualifications” are more like experiences that are desirable or preferred, but not required and these qualifications may change during the interview process. “Take whatever opportunities you have- the cover letter, a short phone call or the interview itself- to explain why your work experience is relevant to the job, Mohr recommends.
Post by Ava Phisuthikul, a second-year Master of Public Health student in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education Department
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