career

The secret to getting noticed for all the right reasons for executive women

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I was not rescued by a Prince. I was the adminstrator of my own rescue
— Elizabeth Gilbert

A funny thing happened to me on a webinar the other day.  I was in the middle of introducing the Gold Standard of Executive Branded - proactive, intentional, future focused and strategic when someone asked me a question "Isn't it disingenuous to do this? Surely if we're doing great work people will notice us?" 

My heart stopped.  It was such a great question.

I then took a deep breath and thought deeply before I responded, because I knew exactly where she was coming from.

Let me explain.

My new book From Invisible to Invincible - a self-promotion handbook for executive women (advance orders available here) was originally going to be called Noticed: For all the right reasons. 

Oh, how I loved that title. It was punchy. It was going to have a sealed section with all the wrong reasons (and no, not those sort of wrong reasons). This book was about being noticed by the right audience, at the right time, in the right place with the right key messages in the right currency.

But when I reflected on the issues that many women face: a lack of agency or a tendency to rely more on waiting to be noticed than creating the notice, I simply could not go to print with that title. It would convey the wrong message and keep us stuck once again playing small.

THE SECRET

The secret to creating a career that really counts is that success comes soonest to those who create it themselves - deliberately, proactively, strategically and in a future focused manner.  Not to those who wait around for it to happen to them or for someone to hand it to them.

The socialisation of young women and girls is comes from fairy stories and romance novels where the female protagonist waits to be rescued. Even if we didn't consciously buy into that narrative, it was all around us - television, advertising, magazine articles, our mothers, grans, aunties, female cousins, babysitters or childcare workers who reared us with those same stereotypes in mind. 

After all -

  • Men sweat, while women glow

  • Men go on quests and adventures, while women are required to stay at home waiting and keeping the hearth fires warm

Our history is flooded with images of women sitting passively and looking amazing, without a hair out of place as though as though we didn't break a sweat, Mona Lisa style, while imagery of men is all guts and glory, of men riding, lifting, heaving, throwing, running, creating and leading.

This creates a tendency towards a lack of agency for women. We subconsciously end up imagining that someone needs to tap us on the shoulder, for us to wait to be invited, for it to be worthwhile; that being discovered like Australia’s Top Model is the holy grail (thank you NOT Dolly Magazine of the 70's and 80s'); and this somehow perpetuates a mixed up mess of, if you actually create your own success then it isn't as valid.

Logically this doesn’t even make sense, but it’s so ingrained in the thinking of yesteryear that it’s hard to decode or dismiss even now.

In 2015, I was attending an International Women’s Day function and was seated at a table with a mature-aged (75+) business woman renowned in the dispute resolution sector. She had just published her first, much awaited, book. When I asked her why she waited so long to write the book, she replied ‘No-one had invited me to write one before, so I didn’t think it would be the right thing to do’

This exemplifies much of what many of us still hold to be true. We're still waiting to be invited because we think it's the right thing to do. 

But the new rules for women are - if you don't have a seat at the table, BYO chair. 

This takes focus, striving, strategy, influencing others and right effort.

So to answer the question? No this is not disingenuous. We women simply got the wrong memo. This is the secret ingredient that we've only recently stumbled upon. The men and women winning all the glory are quite simply, creating it for themselves.

Instead, we need to stop waiting and get on with the business of being great then create a world we want to inhabit.

As television producer Shonda Rhimes famously said ... 'I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don't call me lucky. Call me a badass'.

YOUR THOUGHTS?  Have you had your badass moment yet?  Or deep down, are you still waiting?  Drop me a note and let me know.

#Icreatesheroes #womenofimpact #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

 

Share if you dare, to inspire another woman somewhere!

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

How to create career wins with 'on brand' LinkedIn posting

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Have you ever shared something on LinkedIn, only to watch it  ………. fizzle?  

Nothing. Nada. No real engagement.  What the!?!

Maybe it was …..

  • the latest piece of research on leadership or gender equity, or

  • a high profile event highlight, or

  • a challenger piece to shine a light on an industry problem.

Then for some reason it goes no-where and you wonder what’s going on.  What’s worse, you watch while someone else’s far more lightweight content seems to do far better.



IT TAKES PRACTICE

I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.
— Mark Twain


My own posting and publishing journey began five years ago.  I was terrified of sharing my opinion on LinkedIn, so I didn’t say much at all. If I did, it was a sales pitch, or someone else’s idea.  My brand? My voice? My results? Non-existent.

There had to be another way.

I then worked with a ghost writer (Claire) to help me build my publishing muscle.  She took me fromwoeful to world class in just a few months and helped me find my voice. 

Since then I’ve consistently shared content to inspire executive women the globe over. This helped grow my confidence and I'm delighted to announce I have finished writing my 2nd book - this time on self promotion for executive women (Invisible to Invincible) due out September. 

Obviously I've learned a thing or two along the way and key is that if this is possible for me, it’s also possible for you - and just takes practice.


CONSISTENCY TRUMPS FREQUENCY & EVEN "VIRAL"


Brand building via posting and sharing content is not just for influencers and experts, and doesn’t happen overnight. While viral might be the holy grail of growth hacking ….  quietly, consistently, quality content in alignment with your career goals will deliver raises, recognition and better opportunities in the long run.  

For the purposes of this article let’s look at content and the 7 Ps of producing consistently good, on brand, quality content that will help advance your leadership career – with easily implementable tips and tricks from influencers and experts.

1. Proof reading is going to be your new best friend. Not just for typos. That’s a given. This proof reading is for checking that your post has impact.  Content with no impact simply sinks to the bottom and no-one ever sees it.  #prioritiseforimpact 

2. What’s your Purpose? Does your piece of content fit with your long term goals? Is it in alignment with your leadership brand? If not, how can you make it more so?  Purpose is one of the three pillars of self-promotion – and one of the secret ingredients that help depress the Modesty Norm for executive women.  Check your content for purpose before you press play – and you’ll feel far better about what you’re doing plus it will deliver more bang for your buck in the long run. #onbrandonpurpose 

3. Does your content Pop visually and/or conceptually? Does your first line or opening sentence stand out? Is it dramatic enough? Does the opening line or image convey emotion? Does it entice people in to want to read more?  Consider #hashtags, 🤣s, @name, questions or challenges.  

Don’t start with sentences such as – "I was attending the xxx event today and this is what I learned".Instead start with a strong statement about what you learned, and then explain that you were at the xxxx event and that was the key takeaway from the speaker.   

According to Microsoft, the human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds (shorter than a gold fish).  Grab attention with a powerful opening line so people are keen to learn more.  #replaceblandwithbold 

4. Is your language Powerful enough? Turn up the volume by doing the following

  • don’t start sentences with "so", "and" or "just"

  • remove passive language and weasel words

  • ditch things that make it seem as though you don’t have an opinion or you are hedging you bets.

Instead, back yourself, your ideas and your perspective.  Challenger posts with a strong voice, no holds barred and no hedging your bets, get far better results both in terms of views and also with people reaching out to want to learn more.  #ownyourownawesome 

5. Is your post Personal enough? Where is the context? What’s your perspective? Where is your voice? Can the reader get to know you?  No more hiding behind -

  • too much jargon

  • annual report rhetoric

  • formal sounding language that doesn’t flow

Making meaning and sense making are what your audience are craving – that unique intersection between your expertise, your experience and the things you are most passionate about.   When you are able to layer in your personal perspective you’ll do far better.  #findyourvoice 

6. Does your post Persuade? Do you provide a rationale and evidence, that helps people see your point of view? Why should we care? Be sure to explain the obvious so people don’t have to work for it. According to research, persuasion is said to be one of the top 10 leadership skills required in 2025. Start practicing now.  #learntopersuade 

7. Is your post too Passive? Make it obvious how you need people to engage and take action (calls to action). LIKE/COMMENT/YOUR THOUGHTS - Remember engagement is where it’s at - you want people to engage, converse. to contribute. Not only does engagement provide social proof but the algorithm loves it too and your post will do better. Make it easy, if not compulsory, to engage. #eliminatepassive

CASE STUDY
One of my smart 'n savvy executive clients had been buried in her organisation for many years. No-one outside the giant corporate remembered she existed professionally any more. She started sharing consistently, on brand, in alignment with her new career goals, even tailoring her posting towards the roles she was applying for. I'm delighted to announce that after 6 months she landed a phenomenal role with relative ease. How do we know her LinkedIn posting helped?  Because the interview panel all went to her profile several times during the recruitment process to check out and engage with her activity. 

BYO  Chair with Amanda Blesing Executive Coach Women of Impact.png


Many of my executive clients are leveraging LinkedIn to build their confidence and leadership brand.  Several have been picked up by international publications, others have been invited to speak or been considered for career opportunities as a result of this work. Did you know your LinkedIn activity also contributes to Award judging decisions? With a plan and some practice you can create a winning strategy too.


YOUR THOUGHTS?  Have you had a win with your LinkedIn posting and publishing? Or are you simply  getting nada, nothing ...... a fizzle? Drop me a note and let me know

#executivewomen #leadingwomen #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes 

Share if you dare, to inspire another woman somewhere!


 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

When winging it will only get you so far

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Winning, but not winging it

We’ve all heard that confidence trumps competence when it comes to success.


We may not like it, but it’s hard to dispute.  

Picture this. 

An emergency alarm sounds in your building. Everyone is looking around wondering frantically what to do next.  Who are you more likely to follow?

  1. The person who tentatively appears to be in charge, maybe hesitating, maybe with a quiet voice, or

  2. The person who stands up, grabs attention and says “follow me” confidently, even if they're making it up as they go along?

Unfortunately, we’d rather follow a seemingly confident person, than the under confident person who may be better informed but doesn't shout it out from the rooftops.   It’s human nature and an important point for leaders.

We have a great example right now in politics in the current leader of the free world (whose name I shall not mention). He’s winging it and everyone knows it. He is making it up on the fly, even changing the rules as he goes along, yet still people follow.

However for the rest of us, winging it will only get us so far and preparation is the answer.

Every day I speak with executive women who are winning but not winging it in their careers. I'm coaching them through presentations and interviews along with influence and negotiation plans.  I frequently ask them the following question -
“When was the last time you got a great result doing this? And what was it that helped you get that great result?”

"Doing the work and preparing. It's just that I've learned to make it look easy" is their answer.

There will come a time in your career when winging it won’t work any more because it leaves far too much room for: 

  • Making mistakes that have considerable negative impact on others

  • Making half assed attempts with excuses for failing ("it wasn't meant to be ....")

  • Imposter Syndrome to take hold with the very real threat of being caught out.

Preparation will mitigate those risks.

Winging it might get you a seat at the table, but it won’t keep you there. You’ll need to do the work. 

Does this mean you never wing it? 

Heck no! There will still be ample opportunities for winning winging tactics. Sometimes my best ideas come out of conversations where I was making it up on the fly.

But if you’re serious about your career and leadership aspirations be sure to only wing it on the things that can’t derail you. 

Then prioritise your preparation on the things that matter most.

#womenofimpact #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #winningnotwinging

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

One great technique to help you meditate your way to the top

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I don't think I would have landed, or lasted in, a CEO role if I didn't meditate.  In fact, I know I wouldn't have. Between board responsibilities, ambitious growth targets, staffing, reputation management, AGMs, Awards and audits, life had the potential to be incredibly stressful. 

Meditation kept me clear headed, less reactive and better able to manage the constantly changing demands. 

What’s interesting though, is that I used to hide my meditation and yoga. I was embarrassed that people would think it was light weight and not leaderly enough, not cool or career minded enough, and that I was lacking in some way. 

Spring forward a few years and times have sure changed!  Meditation and mindfulness is considered the new black. It’s not just good for you but it’s uber cool as well.

If Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn, Ariana Huffington, CEO, Huffington Post and Oprah Winfrey, CEO, The Modern World (LOL) can do it, so can the rest of us. 

Multiple research studies have shown that meditation has the potential to decrease anxiety, thereby potentially boosting resilience and performance under pressure.

It has also been shown to

In the attention economy, focus is the currency. Fight for your focus
— Repa Patel
  • reduce stress

  • boost immunity

  • increase concentration and focus

  • improve sleep quality

  • help you make better decisions

  • increase memory and

  • enhance creativity

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....... all of which are highly beneficial to leadership.

Let's nip scarcity mentality in the bud 
It doesn’t have to be complicated or perfect. Tiny two minute meditation moments several times a day are not to be sniffed at. After all, the meditation that you do is far better than the meditation that you think about and don't do.

An abundance meditation is my go to at the moment. Designed to nip scarcity mentality in the bud in a few minutes. Literally. And scarcity mentality is not only one of the biggest barriers to women in leadership, but also to you and your own success.

  • "There won't be enough top jobs to go around"

  • "There won't be enough opportunities for us all"

  • "I'm not good enough"

  • "I'm not confident enough"

  • "There are only a few places so why would they give one to me?"

You've probably heard one of the above. You may have even said something similar to yourself.

The abundance meditation is really simple. When I do it I feel stress melting from my body - like ice-cream on a hot summer day (she pined wistfully). 

It’s great for those days when you have a bucket load of competing priorities, then worry that you won’t have enough time, energy or focus to get there.  

Deep down too, you’re afraid because the person you’ll let down the most is yourself and maybe .... today is the day that others will find out you're a big ol' fraud.

So what do you do?  Instructions below

  • Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. You can be sitting or lying. Rule of thumb - if you accidentally fall asleep, you probably needed it. Don’t get too pedantic.

  • Start breathing and allow your diaphragm to gently expand into your belly as you breathe

  • With a light touch, count how many counts it takes to inhale, pause at the top then count how long it takes to exhale

  • Repeat for about 1 minute and see if you can effortlessly extend your breath count each time

  • Then mentally repeat the following four phrases to yourself with your new slow breathing - about four times through

- "I am safe"

- "I am worthy" 

- "I am loveable"

- "I am enough" 

  • Remember you are not in a rush, take your time

  • If you have the time, or want a variation on a theme, take it one step further and repeat the following different four phrases for a couple of minutes

- "I have plenty of time"

- "I have plenty of energy"

- "I have plenty of focus"

- "I am enough" 

  • Finally, sit in silence for a minute longer and gently bask in the space this creates.

Then get on with your day!  

Remember, some days it's a dance. Other days it’s a juggle. While some days it feels like a tornado hit!

You being able to carve a calm pathway through is going to make all the difference between an indifferent or invincible 'brand you'. 

Let me know how you go. 

And yes, it is possible to meditate your way to the top.

Share if you dare, to inspire another woman somewhere!

#executivewomen #leadingwomen #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

6 Curious Facts About Decision Making That May Be Holding You Back

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Decision making is something I struggled with as a young woman. I'd agonise and procrastinate, always waiting for a better offer or for a more perfect opportunity to come along. Meanwhile the things I was meant to be deciding on passed me by and life got on without me. 

Who was I kidding? I didn't just struggle - I was lousy at it.  

My work around was to schedule my life within an inch of its life so that my calendar and work commitments forced me to make decisions by the very nature of a looming deadline.  

'I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.' ~ Douglas Adams 

Spring forward 25 years and I'm now married to a decision making expert. 

The irony.

The pressure!

Yes, the gods must truly be laughing.

But things have definitely changed. With the wisdom of age I now practice the art of defencelessness, letting go of the need to be right. 

As a result I've become far better at decision making, far faster with less agonising and with far more comfort about course correction as needed.  After all, as my resident decision making expert says "any decision, even the wrong decision is better than no decision".  And I've learned he is right.

In fact, one of the reasons I'm really interested in gender diversity came from my own struggle with decision making. This drove an interest in male and female brain biology which, combined with data that demonstrates that organisations make better long term decisions with equal numbers of men and women on the leadership team, has shaped this significant part of my career.

WHAT HAVE I LEARNED?
Many people and organisations struggle with decision making. Despite the negative stereotype that women change their mind more than men, paralysis by analysis is not limited to women.  I'm hoping the following six curious factoids, based in research, will help you make decisions more easily. 

1. Decision overwhelm is a thing. Ever gone onto Airbnb thinking you'd spend a quick 15 mins to book your weekend away, only to give up 60 mins later because there were too many properties to choose from?  That's decision overwhelm, where you are presented with too many options so it's far harder for you to make a decision. 

We live in an era where we're spoiled for choice, but quite possibly it's slowing us down and making us less effective. The fix? Give yourself only a few options to choose from. You'll have your holiday booked in no time, with no regrets as well.  You can thank me later.

2. We make better easier decisions in morning. Yes, we are prone to decision fatigue. It impacts on the quality of our choices as well as our ability to make a decision. That's why it's far easier to make healthier choices in the morning, and far easier to sit on the couch drinking red wine, eating dark chocolate and watching reruns of Jane the Virgin, when you know you should be out working on your networking strategy! 

So what does this mean? If you've got a big decision to make in the evening, make a decision to sleep on it!   Make the big decision the next morning instead. Schedule important decisions or options in the morning when your decision making muscle is stronger and your willpower isn't wilting. You can thank me in the morning when you've slept on it.

3. Gender, decisions and stress - under intense pressure, women tend toward safer decisions and men tend towards riskier decisions.  Fascinating. Two things spring to mind here

  • Proactively manage your stress and wellbeing so you don't have to deal with the impact of stress on your decision making. Prevention is always better than the cure.

  • Keep this in mind next time your significant other makes a decision that appears either outrageously cautious or outrageously risky to you.  It may not be their fault, but the fault of their biology instead.


4. Time limits increase likelihood of making a decision 
- hmmmm, apparently I was onto the right track as a young woman. I've always known I performed well to a deadline.  After all, work expands to fill the time allocated, so when you give yourself time limits you'll be able to make a decision more easily. I love the Pomodoro technique as a tactic to tackle projects far more efficiently. 25 mins on followed by 5 mins rest x 4 cycles. Work. Rest. Rinse. Repeat x 4.  Because when we know time is short we're able to prioritise far more effectively and in just under 2 hours we can get far more done than we might do in a full day with no deadlines. Time limits will help you prioritise. Prioritising will help you make decisions more easily.

5. We tend to throw good after bad if we've already heavily invested - whether that's time, money, energy or ego.  This is called the sunk cost fallacy.  When we're heavily invested, we're more likely to keep going in the direction well past what might be sensible to an outsider. For example, you've already invested heavily in a particular direction in your career (you've told your boss, you've spent money, you've exhausted yourself every weekend doing it and wasted a year already) so you might as well keep going, even though you're desperately unhappy and potentially making a silk purse out of a sows ear. 

The fix? Get another perspective, and practice that defencelessness I mentioned earlier. Being aware of the sunk cost fallacy will help you make better decision anyway. And remember, it's okay to change your mind despite the negative stereotype. Sometimes you simply have to cut your losses and move on. 

It’s not failure, it’s data
— Dorie Clark


6. Things that are undecided take up mental ram and emotional energy - yes this sounds a little woo woo, but those who make more rapid decisions, move on more rapidly too. They're already scaling the next mountain, and we haven't yet bought a ticket to Katmandu because we couldn't work out which airline to go on! 

When we procrastinate on undecided items, it causes friction and slows us down, personally and professionally. The freedom of a freefall, that comes from making rapid decisions, is liberating. Because it provides more data that helps you progress far more easily. You can always course correct later as you need.

There is an old saying - action precedes clarity.  Combine this with the fact that success is really closely correlated with more rapid decision making and you begin to get the picture.  When we replace perfecting, proving, pleasing and polishing with purpose, passion and progress, life becomes a whole heap easier anyway.

And that success you are searching for?  A whole heap closer.

Your thoughts? What helps you make more effective decisions?  Drop me a note and let me know.

PS you might have noticed I've had a fabulous new photoshoot. The header image features "the bees knees" and other fun ways of reminding yourself that you're actually doing okay. Looking forward to sharing more with you in coming months. Why not follow me on Instagram as well?

#executiveimpact #leadingwomen #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes


Share if you dare, to inspire another woman somewhere!

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

18 Powerful Cover Letter Tips That Cut Through The Clutter

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I've been vetting a bunch of cover letters this week. Well done to everyone who gave it a crack! It's hard I know. Writing about yourself as though you are the best thing since sliced bread, when sometimes you don't feel like that. 

But the higher up the food chain you go, the fewer and further apart are opportunities. Plus data tells us that people stay longer in c-suite roles so it's going to be even more competitive. 

Your cover letter skills will have significant impact on your ability to land an interview, in addition to working your network. 

But the differences between 'killer cover letters' and the 'works in progress' are extreme.  Works in progress include passive language, compliant statements rather than confident positioning, going above and beyond.  Ask yourself, what would a confident more leader-like version of myself do? How would she apply?

As a result, here are a bunch of thoughts in no particular order to help you get your cover letter mojo back on.

  1. The purpose of your cover letter is to get your CV read - not to win the job, or even necessarily to win an interview. But to get someone to go "Wow, she sounds ideal. I need to read her CV". 

  2. Think of it as a business case - helping you develop the justification for your application. Why should someone invest in reading your CV? Not because you deserve it, but because your experience and expertise sounds like it would add value, that you have the potential to be awesome in the role and here's why....

  3. It needs to tick off on key criteria in the advert - don't just provide examples from your work that you like or that sell the sizzle. Provide examples of your work that match the criteria they're asking for. Don't worry, you can do the value add near the bottom of the letter. Don't start with the value add or they'll think you're over qualified or not the right fit

  4. It needs to address any big elephants in the room (ie you live in Sydney but the role is in Melbourne and you're keen to relocate). 

  5. You need to help the reader to see why you're ideal for the role with as many exact match credibility builders as you can (without going over 1 page, or cramming too much on the page via a smaller font or too wide margins)

  6. You also get the opportunity to add a FEW non critical assets in that you think might sway the argument your way - Boards, Awards, Accolades & Opportunities, Global blue chip experience, high profile brands you've worked with or MBA/PhD or equivalent. Don't stack the cover letter with these. But one or two that help the business case.

  7. Matchy matchy - use the exact wording of the advert or PD. Don't get creative and find different ways of saying it. They're either in a hurry skim reading, or sending it through a software scanner so it needs to be exact

  8. Buzz word bingo - don't be afraid to play buzz word bingo with the acronyms, key terms or vernacular expressions that are required in your industry

  9. Captain Obvious - you may feel like you're explaining the obvious. What might feel obvious to you, may be totally mystifying to a reader who doesn't know you, your current company or the sort of work you do. Don't make people read between the lines. Don't be cryptic.

  10. Sound confident. Confident is mistaken for competence. Confidence is queen. Ask yourself - what would the confident Rockstar me do? How would the confident Rockstar me write this cover letter? What examples would she use?  Nice is not enough. At this level of your career it needs to next level.

  11. Avoid trying to sound funny - research tells us that funny doesn't work for women when someone doesn't know us. It works for us when people know us, but not before. 

  12. Avoid trying to sound privileged - privilege works for men, not women. (Private schools, prestige clubs etc - I know, it's unfair but until times change don't run the risk) The assumption is that if you're privileged you'll not be hungry enough so you are more likely to "lean out" or take career breaks. 

  13. More is not necessarily better - Keep your business case succinct. If you get to interview, then you can expand on your examples. White space on a cover letter makes it easier to read as well

  14. It must include relevant factual examples from your career history - a credibility booster

  15. Anchor examples with time, job title and company - this builds credibility even more. We're addicted to time and place narrative form (once upon a time in a land far far away). It makes us feel safe. So the reader will feel far safer if you include these anchors in your cover letter.

  16. Don't be apologetic or start negative. - don't start your cover letter saying that while ouu don't have XYZ experience they ask for, you do have ABC experience. 

    On that note I want you to remember my brother. A couple of Xmases ago he sent an email home to mum saying he couldn't be there for Xmas. Of course that's the bit that mum read and remembered. She had an initial disappointed reaction. It was some time later that she went onto read that he would be there for the 5 days prior to Xmas. 

    You don't want a reader to do that with you or they might simply dump your business case/cover letter before they get to the bit with the good news.

    So start with the positive and the good news before you get address the elephants.

  17. Always be sending cover letters - even if you need to use PDF Pro to add it to the front page of your CV to submit via a web portal.

  18. Keep it professional - no need to refer to hobbies or other activities in your personal life unless it's something they've asked you to address or enables you to demonstrate a great fit - ie they're asking for someone with grit and determination and the best example you have is your recent ultra-triathlon win. However use sparingly.

I'm sure there are more, but this should give you a great head start.

And good luck! 

#womenofimpact #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #career

Women of Impact Winter Leadership Retreat  Macedon Ranges Resort & Spa, Victoria  31 July to 1 August

Women of Impact Winter Leadership Retreat

Macedon Ranges Resort & Spa, Victoria

31 July to 1 August

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Do you save these critical skills for that perfect moment?

Do you save these Critical Career Skills for the Perfect Moment.jpg

How often have you gone for your dream role, where you knew you could not only lead but succeed, only to be told that someone else blew the interview panel out of the water and so you missed out?

I don’t mind losing as long as I see improvement or I feel I’ve done as well as I possibly could.
— Carol Dweck

Yet we all save up our most critical career management skills for special occasions, treating them just like our Sunday best outfit. 

Instead, as part of your career strategy, these skills need refining, honing and testing regularly, just like every thing else we do.

Winning and landing roles gets far easier with practice. This may mean throwing your hat in the ring for a role every now and then, even if you aren’t sure you really want it.

Given that the literature tells us that women self select out of high competition opportunities far too soon, this is important. We're not giving ourselves enough practice runs. We're saving it all up until we find the perfect opportunity. Then we shoot ourselves in the foot because of the process or performance, not because we wouldn't be great in the role.

To help convince you that it's not a waste of time, here are six great reasons why you should dust off these skills at least once a year and get some practice runs on the board.

1. It keeps your career toolkit up to date: There is nothing so terrifying as a late night CV update for your dream role. While a good deadline does galvanise action, why not be prepared in advance? Make success your only viable option by applying for a one or two key roles every year. This way you are forced to update your toolkit regularly. 

2. It helps you practice the process: You are building and refining your job application skills and process - from socialising the idea, to reaching out via our networks to learn more or to gain some visibility into the process, to crafting a cunning cover letter that cuts through the clutter, to upgrading then tailoring your CV, actually applying, then possibly interviewing, follow up and more ..... Phew! It's overwhelming! Better to do this more frequently so it's not such a mammoth task all in a rush for the job of a lifetime where the stakes are so high that you run the risk of underperforming.

3. It builds your interview muscle (if you should get so lucky): If you win an interview, you get to develop your Interviewing muscle - not only to get back in the saddle and remember how to talk about yourself and your achievements, but to remember how to manage stress, gauge the responses to your answers, to flex, respond and reframe in the interview as required. And if you don't win an interview, that's evidence you need to go back and refine step 1 and 2. It's great data. Do the work.

4. It’s a signal:  By throwing your hat in the ring, especially for an internal promotion, this signals to the leadership team that you are keen for more. Perfect for when your boss resigns, and you may not want the role, but you want to demonstrate you are hungry for advancement. 

5. Reinvention: If you do have an opportunity internally, yet you are not sure you really want it, consider this - by applying and going through the process, you have a great opportunity to reinvent yourself and challenge others perceptions about what else might be possible for you. In a nutshell, you get to tackle any misconceptions about you head on with the interview panel. Decision makers get to see you in a different light and if done well, this is a great door opener.

6. Test your value: If you don't value yourself, no-one else will either. Your career strategy quite possibly has some alignment with salary, commensurate with the value of your expertise and experience. By testing your value in the market regularly you find out more. You are fact finding.

Stay strategic

You don't want to be doing this every month or every week. Once a year is a great rule of thumb. I heard a story of an HR Director who had this annual process. He had been with the company 10+ years. They had not only been happy years, but he had delivered some great initiatives as well. When the time was right he was perfectly poised to move on - his career toolkit sharpened and honed, ready to springboard him into the perfect opportunity. So he did. In one easy application and interview process.

That's not disloyal. That simply smart.

Stay curious

Even if you are in a great role, stay curious, dust of these skills at least once a year and give yourself the chance to learn and improve. The higher up the food chain you go, the opportunities are fewer and further in-between so the competition will be stronger. Unless (as one client said to me after 20+ years in the one organisation) you want to be “taken out in a coffin”, you'd better get some practice runs in when the stakes are lower.

It's not a waste of time either

What’s the worst thing that can happen? You might land the role and have to graciously decline. The opportunity wasn’t quite right for you at this time, but you’d love to talk to them about further opportunities more in alignment with your ultimate goals down the track.

And graceful rejection is also a great skill to refine.

It’s not a waste of time. It helps both sides of the equation work out what they really want and who they really need, now and in the future. And maybe next time, you will be the one to blow them out of the water.

Your thoughts? Drop me a note with your thoughts on this. Do you save these skills up like your Sunday best? Or do you take them out for a test run every year? Let me know.

#winningwomen #womenofimpact #feminineambitionrocks

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Funny, not funny - how humour is good for men but bad for women at work

Funny is good for men but bad for women?!? 🤣😱😳 

Yet another way that sexism can suck the fun out of being a woman at work! 

A recent study showed that women are penalised for being funny at work especially by those who don’t know her. 

“This is the most annoying study ever” ~ to quote Jessica Stillman on Inc magazine 

Humour can be viewed 

  • as "functional" or 

  • as "disruptive" 

The clincher? ALLEGEDLY men's humour is perceived as functional and women's as disruptive. 

Despite most women being conscientious, diligent and more compliant, the stereotype is that we’re more easily distracted, and given career breaks, less dedicated to our career. 

We’re busy “barely coping”, while men are perceived as more strong, dedicated and determined. 

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“When a woman cracks jokes, therefore, she's judged to be less dedicated because that's what many people are primed to see” 

There is an upside. 

The study assessed how strangers view women's humour. 

However, when it comes to dealing with a team over time, being hilarious may be a real asset. 

YOUR TURN - Have you seen humour help or hinder? And no, this is not an April Fools Day joke. I'm happy to be a disrupter 🤣 

Photo: Amanda Blesing - via Louise Williams Photographer 

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Develop a Possibility Mindset

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Mindset is such a critical part of self promotion and career advancement, that I include it as the first in my Seven Vital Components to Subtly Powerful Self Promotion keynote

If you think you can or you think you can’t, you will definitely be right.

Embracing a possibility mindset is the only way forward.

I challenge you to accept the POSSIBILITY that you'll be able to self promote effectively and powerfully without feeling like you are bragging, within the year.

There are four provisos:

  • Be prepared to make mistakes

  • Be prepared to feel uncomfortable (remember that's where the magic happens)

  • Be prepared to do the work

  • Be prepared to get out of your own way.

It's not just self promotion where a possibility mindset is helpful. Your entire career success may just depend upon it.

What tactics do you use to keep yourself self promoting strategically and powerfully?

#executivebranding #selfpromotionmatters #standoutcareer

Need help? Curious - check out the events page for an intro session near you or book in for a 30 min intro call to learn more

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Why asking for help is a super power, not a weakness

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Never apologise for asking for what you need. If you don’t ask - the answer will always be no.
— Rachel Wolchin

Why is it that asking for help is so hard? 
 
As someone with a fierce, independent blueprint, I frequently don’t know I need help, nor how to ask for it, until it’s almost too late
 
This leaves me overwhelmed, ready to throw in the towel or running on empty.
 
I'm not alone. Many strong, amazing, ambitious, executive women share with me they also feel this way. Examples include:

  • feeling as though we ought to muscle through the work life juggle all on our own

  • when we land a new role and bury ourselves, head down, backside up, as we attempt to prove our worth

  • when preparing to negotiate for an increase in salary

  • when we're stuck in a role that we've outgrown or with a boss we've bypassed and we don't know how to navigate through

  • when we're in over our head with professional and personal commitments because we don't know how to say no

  • or when we've simply run out of puff at the end of a big week and started to believe that we're simply not enough.

When we leave a problem too long it can escalate or turn into a crisis, which could have been averted far more easily.  

Or we miss out on what's potentially available because we couldn't see the wood for the trees.
 
And that’s a waste.
 
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, ignorance, laziness, that you aren't independent enough, or that you are lacking in some way.
 
It could simply mean you are smart and know how to leverage time and resources well.  
 
Research also tells us that we underestimate how willing others are to help out by a whopping 50%

“There's basically nothing human beings do that's more rewarding and gives them a bigger boost of self-esteem than being helpful” says researcher Heidi Grant

Being strong independent women who are proud to celebrate #IWD2019 doesn’t mean we have to go it all alone.  In fact, when we all work on this together, we’ll get a better outcome anyway. 
 
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness - it’s a sign of strength
 
Learning to ask for help in the right way, might just become your new super power
 
YOUR THOUGHTS? Why do we hate to ask for help? Or is this your super power? Drop me a note and let me know ablesing@amandablesing.com 
 

And happy International Women's Day on Friday.  

#IWD2019 
#BalanceforBetter

#executivewomen #womenofimpact #lookoutCsuitehereshecomes 

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Efficient vs effective, are we getting the wrong end of the bread knife?

Why doing things right, hard and well keeps you playing small.jpg
Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard
— Caterina Fake

Efficient vs effective

Legend has it that a great Aunty on my father's side of the family (think German heritage, farming woman, salt of the earth) used to slice the bread across her stomach with the knife facing inward.

I know. Go figure!! 

This particular story was used as a cautionary tale to teach us kids to be careful around knives. 

It worked.

We were also told she used to prepare and eat breakfast the night before, so she didn’t have to wash up in the morning. 

#FakeNews maybe, but a cautionary tale none-the-less. 

She was infamous in our family because she was so very efficient, when effective might have been far better.  A different approach might have delivered a better result. Breakfast in the morning would have been one good outcome for sure!

But do many of us muddle efficient with effective? Maybe not to the same extreme as my Aunty, but is this a default setting for you?

The new KPMG Women in Leadership report was released in January 2019 - Women at Work: Playing to Win? Or Not to Lose? 

  • 73% of women still rely on "working harder" as the main strategy to get ahead

  • 45% think they need to be more detailed oriented

  • 45% think they need to rely on being highly organised

“This tendency – to focus on behaviours that are task-oriented over those that are self-assertive – is a pattern that repeats itself throughout the survey findings.”  
“When it comes to their careers, many women find themselves in a bit of a bind. They’re trying to preserve their gains, so instead of playing to win, they’re often playing not to lose – whether hesitating to take perceived big risks, or feeling the need to take outsized chances” says Michele Meyer-Shipp, KPMG's Chief Diversity Officer.

In a nutshell, by focusing on doing things well, rigorously, thoroughly, properly and appropriately, we are playing not to lose, rather than playing to win.

#executivewomen #womenofimpact #lookoutCsuitehereshecomes 

Your thoughts? Does this resonate for you? Drop me a note and let me know

OR SHARE TO INSPIRE ANOTHER WOMAN SOMEWHERE!

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

How comfortable are you taking a position?

What do you stand for Amanda Blesing.jpg
When you stand for nothing, you fall for everything.

When it comes to self promotion, it's much easier when you have a platform to stand on.

No, I don't mean your soapbox, or your high horse. I'm talking about a cause, a purpose or a mission.

Research tells us that, for women in particular, when we self promote around a cause, a purpose or a mission, we more easily depress the impact of the modesty norm which normally makes us feel self conscious. 

Additionally others are far more forgiving of us if we get it slightly wrong or if the activity is perceived to be not as per the feminine stereotype. This means we more effectively circumnavigate negative judgments and social penalties or even the backlash effect.

A definite win win!

In a nutshell, we're more likely to get out of our own way and flagrantly self promote when it's for a cause, a purpose or a mission. 

Your UVP
Another way to self promote is around your unique value proposition - and that means you need to be able to take a position. You need to back yourself and your own ideas and claim that unique space between your experience, your expertise and those things you are most passionate about.

So my question to you is - how comfortable are you in taking a position?  

Most of us cringe remembering the uncomfortable conversation at a dinner party once where someone dominated the conversation with their dogmatic "position".  

Let's not even go there. Simply remember the Buddhist principle of care deeply, hold lightly and you'll be fine.

Although, at the other end of the spectrum there is the person who is almost like wallpaper, fading into the background, and people wonder why they are in the room.  

As a leader, or aspiring leader, being able to stake a claim in the sand and to take a position, is part and parcel of your journey because it will help set the vision and bring others along on the journey. 

How can I work out my position?
Here are my four go to questions that help you work out what your position is on any issue

  • What do you stand for?

  • Why is this important? 

  • How does this add value? 

  • What's in it for the intended listener/audience?

In fact, you could even create a presentation or a LinkedIn post around those four bullet points alone, and it would go a long way to helping others remember you! 

Once you are comfortable articulating all four, self promotion becomes a breeze.

Is it even worth it? Surely there are no new ideas left
Yes it is worth it. Remember it's not what you know or even who you know, but it's who knows what you know.  You cannot sell a secret so you do have to share your ideas with others.

Sometimes a new voice can bring a fresh perspective and helps to solve old problems in new ways.  Diversity works, because of diversity - of ideas, of thinking, of approaches, so don't even begin to think your position doesn't have any value.  

Digging deep into your sense of why will help you do this. Why do you turn up to work every day? Why do you work in this industry? Why do you do good work? Why is this work important? Why is this perspective important?  

Asking yourself why is nearly always a game changer.

Letting go of the need to be right
Another key element of position taking, is the practice of defencelessness. When you let go of the need to be right, or even letting go of the need to know everything, expressing your opinion is far easier.  

Jane Caro, media commentator, comedian and speaker taught me this as I was about to head on stage one day and debate against some extremely clever PhDs and journalists on the topic of gender salary. The best bit? Her advice was fabulous. My team won the day ... by being funny, not necessarily by being right. 

Quick and Easy Wins
Some quick and easy tactics for you to try once you've worked out what you stand for ...

  • Take a stand and express your opinion in meeting where you normally let others do all the talking

  • Craft a compelling argument in an online forum

  • Providing smart and persuasive commentary at an event or ask a smart question from the back of the room

  • Comment "on brand" on LinkedIn on other people's posts

  • Publish or share "on brand" on LinkedIn 

  • And does your leadership team and/or Board, not just know about you, but know what you represent and how that adds value to the organisation?  If not, go create an opportunity for decision makers to see that you have value to add. 

When the rubber hits the road
Now that you've worked out what you stand for and have a roadmap for helping yourself to stand out for all the right reasons, go and put an appointment with yourself in your calendar to make sure it starts happening today.  Practice makes perfect and you have to start somewhere. 

Then remember Avril Henry's rallying cry ....
"No-one cares as much about your career as you do. So do something about it"

YOUR THOUGHTS?  When do you find self promotion easiest?  What challenges you the most about self promotion?  What have you wished you could be given the opportunity for but no-one else knows and you haven't told them about it either? What can you do differently?
Drop me a note and let me know how you're going - ablesing@amandablesing

AND SHARE IF YOU DARE TO INSPIRE A WOMAN SOMEWHERE

#executivewomen

#womenofimpact

#executiveimpact

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months