In today’s competitive business landscape, making a lasting impression is essential for career growth. Regardless of where you are in your career, we are all looking for ways to sell ourselves and our unique perspectives in a way that others find valuable. Executive Recruiter Marian Janikula of Intermountain Health understands this idea better than most. On October 17, she presented at the Business Women’s Forum to share her insights on career advancement.

Janikula began by sharing a statistic with the group: According to Harvard Business Review, men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women only apply if they meet 100% of them. This prevents many women from fulfilling their potential and working in their desired roles, which is why Janikula advised women to apply anyway and let the hiring team decide for themselves whether candidates are a good fit for the job.

“Don’t write yourself out of a process or promotion before someone else tells you you’re not ready,” Janikula said. “Don’t take yourself out of the game — put yourself in the game, and then if you need coaching and feedback along the way, that’s fine.”

This advice applies to women in all stages of their careers. Whether you’re someone who’s just getting started, someone looking for a promotion or someone satisfied with their position but wants to gain skills, overcoming impostor syndrome is always an important part of the process.

However, for those looking to advance in the professional world, resumes are a major player. Janikula explained that she has seen thousands of resumes, so she knows firsthand what works and what doesn’t.

“Resumes are typically reviewed for six to ten seconds on the initial recruiter’s screen,” said Janikula. “You are going to be competing against potentially upwards of hundreds of applicants, so make sure that yours has an opportunity to drive impact.”

In order to make your resume stand out, Janikula recommended adjusting the verbiage in the document so it doesn’t read like a job description. Recruiters, she said, aren’t interested in knowing what your past jobs have required; they want to know the improvements and projects you contributed to.

“I can see what you did day-to-day, but I don’t know what you achieved day-to-day,” said Janikula. “I need to know what changed because you came into the role — that’s what’s going to make you stand out.”

When it comes time to interview for the job you applied for, Janikula emphasized research as the most important factor for success. A thorough understanding of the needs, culture and goals of the organization or promotion is essential to being a good candidate.

“Before going into a job interview, do as much research as you can. Ask for the job description; if you’re in the organization, talk to the person who’s being replaced. Try to get an understanding of the challenges the position is trying to address.”

Finally, Janikula outlined a method for ensuring your responses to hard questions are detailed and complete. The “S.T.A.R. Method” doesn’t only work for interview questions, but also for employee reviews or inquiries about job responsibilities. It works by breaking down your response into four steps: situation, task, action and result. Janikula recommended touching on each step in any answer to any question that requires a longer answer.

By keeping these tips and guidelines in mind when advancing in your career, Janikula explained, professionals will have the best chance of accurately portraying both themselves and their unique stories. She left the audience with a final tip for mastering confidence in themselves and their careers:

“Executive presence,” Janikula said simply. “Understanding how you portray yourself is important.”

The next Business Women’s Forum is on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 and will feature Lennie Knowlton, Founder & Executive Director of Project Connection. Register for the event here, or learn more about the BWF program by visiting its website.