How to invest in yourself
“If you can afford to spend money on a designer handbag, you can afford to invest in yourself. After all, you are your best investment.” This is a thought that took me a while to realise. Let me rewind…
It was a conversation in a restaurant that got me thinking about this. On a busy Sunday afternoon I went to an Italian restaurant. While enjoying a creamy and delicious tiramisu, I happened to overhear the conversation of the women at the next table. The conversation was animated and lively and I tried to listen in to what they were discussing. The conversation was about handbags and makeup.
And a thought crossed my mind. Why can’t us women talk about finance the way we talk about handbags and shoes?
A month back and I was facing my own dilemma. My job was about to come to an end and I was trying my best not to panic. One evening, I was pacing in my bedroom, walking past my turquoise Coach handbag, back and forth and a thought occurred to me:
“If I can afford a designer handbag, I can afford to invest in myself.”
The job market in London was bad and with the uncertainty of Brexit, I needed all the extra help I could get to land my next position. I had heard about CV/resume writing services before, but as they can be expensive, I pushed the thought out of my head thinking it was only for rich people.
So I took the plunge. I researched online and found a company that writes CV’s/resume for chief executives. My thinking being, if they can help chief executives, they should be able to help me.
I asked them to make me a new CV/resume and a new LinkedIn profile.
After that, everything moved really quickly. An agency contacted me about a role and I asked them to use my new CV instead of the old one. The agency sent three CV’s to the hiring manager but I was the only one asked to come in for the interview. Within hours I was offered the job. I left my old job on the Friday and started the new one the following Monday. I even negotiated my new salary, asking for an extra £1,500/$1,950 on top of the original offer.
How did I get that offer?
Well, I thought the original was too low. I had several years’ experience in my sector and that this was a deal breaker for me. Rather than losing me (and going through the hiring process again), they upped their offer.
This is why I am sharing my story. I want other women to have the courage to ask for more. The gender pay gap is very real and the disparity between what BAME and non-BAME women earn, is shocking. It can be as much as a 30% difference.
Know your worth + ask for more.
Below are some practical tips on how you can invest in yourself:
- Hire a CV/resume writing company to re-write your CV/resume and your LinkedIn profile. Read the testimonials and pick someone who has 20 years’ experience and really knows their stuff. A good one will be able to pick apart your CV and find where all the questions are or gaps. They can then go about closing those gaps for you to give you a better chance of getting short listed for interviews. If you are in your late 30’s or want to progress into management, a custom CV will help to pull out your experience more clearly.
- Join LinkedIn groups relevant to your industry and keep up with the development in your sector. Don’t get left behind. Two years ago I was unemployed for a year and after filling in so many application forms, you won’t believe how many times I read the same question in job application forms: must be up to date with new developments in social media and new technologies.
- Attend workshops or do an online course to increase your technical skills. It’s these skills that will set you apart from the other candidates.
- Ask for a raise. Taken on more responsibilities than stated in your contract? Ask for a raise? Have X numbers in your industry and you know your worth? Ask for a raise. The worst thing that can happen is that they will say no. But if you don’t try, you will never know.
If you are interested in coaching with me, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org