Beyond the #Girlbossmoment: Erika Murdock Balbuena & colleagues own the pitch meeting!
“Four women. All with different skill sets. Pitching a big customer. It was one of those moments where you feel like time and space sucks you out for a split second so you can see what’s happening from a bird’s eye view, and then throws you back into reality. It was a moment to stop, pause, be proud, and appreciate what was happening. I work in the tech industry at a cloud communications company called Twilio, and within our industry, and especially within the Bay Area, diversity is a big topic of conversation. Women in business is a big topic of conversation and it’s something I think and read about a lot. I am the co-founder of my company's women’s group, and I believe that I have a responsibility to help the women around me do the best they possibly can in this world. And as a new mom, I'm even more aware of how we, as women, support each other, and how our workplaces support us. I'm very grateful to work at a place where I feel so valued—as a professional, as a woman and as a mother. So as I sat in this meeting, listening to each of us pitch and each of us shine, I was grateful and proud. Proud of the work I do, proud I have smart women colleagues, and happy we had a kick-ass meeting that is hopefully the start of something much bigger with this customer.”
Three pieces of advice for Girlbosses on a job hunt:
Write down your Wonder Woman moments.
Remember that email your boss sent you praising your work on a project? Or the note from a colleague thanking you for going the extra mile? Or the tweet that got the world to notice your business? Be sure you're tracking all of these. All too often, people forget to write these moments down. Then, when that recruiter calls or your dream job opens up, you have to spend hours wracking your brain for all of your accomplishments over the past months, years, etc., possibly forgetting a few. Don't let your resume sit rusty while you kick butt; keep it as a living memoir of all the fabulous things you've accomplished. Save a copy of your yearly performance reviews for yourself. Save great emails as character testimonies. Document your Wonder Woman moments not just for your resume, but for you. One day, when things aren't great, you've got a list of at least 10 reasons you are kickass.
Hone your story.
I've job searched four times in my life, all while I wasn't currently employed. While I do believe people can be more desirable candidates whey they have jobs, I'm living proof that’s not a prerequisite. Presenting yourself is about storytelling. I've been working in technology for almost five years, and before that I was a nonprofit consultant. If you read that sentence, you realize those are two very different industries. However, the skills I acquired while consulting are completely applicable to all the jobs I've had and applied for in technology (community manager, account manager in sales, and social impact). How did I do that? I picked up the keywords from the job descriptions I was applying for and the companies I wanted to work for and I went back into my history to see where those things happened. Did I have any community management experience? In tech, no, but shoot—I lived in the middle of Idaho for five months and asked an entire community to raise $5 million dollars. If that’s not community management, I don't know what is. Find the connections, weave in your experience, and then show the interviewer how all of your experience is going to do something for them. And practice your story on a few different people in your life to be sure you're telling it the right way.
Write your own cover email.
The one thing I always make sure I have when job searching is a great intro paragraph about myself. It’s a short paragraph; no more than five to 10 sentences that briefly summarize who I am, what I'm passionate about, and what I'm looking for in my next gig. I copy that into a fresh email with my resume attached and a few sentences about why I'm interested in X role at X company, and voila; I've now made introducing me effortless! Your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances are busy and they don't know exactly how you want to be introduced, what they should highlight about you, etc. Make it easy for them. Plus, there's your cover letter!