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Use the androgynous approach to enhance job search

icons of a woman and a man

Credit: Wiktoria Pawlak/Shutterstock

Victoria wanted a job that would enable her to use her creativity. After assessing personal traits and exploring compatible options, Victoria decided to establish her own boutique.

When Murray lost his job, he started searching immediately for a similar position.

Although there are individual differences, these stories underscore some of the traditional differences between how men and women tend to manage career transitions and job search. To make a satisfying transition, combine the strengths of both genders. Use the androgynous approach.

Self-Appraisal. Women usually take more time than men to process feelings, understand themselves, explore options, and clarify goals. Many men don’t want to waste time.

A balance between contemplation and action usually works best. Men could benefit from taking time to reassess personal characteristics and explore compatible career options to determine whether they’re in the right niches. While self-appraisal is necessary, women shouldn’t delay job search too long.

Both genders need time to express feelings and thoughts. It’s helpful to write about your concerns and plans. Meet with others to vent anger, generate ideas, and receive encouragement and feedback. Reassess needs and strengths you want met in your next venture. Explore options and clarify goals.

Developmental issues. Age seems to affect values men and women bring to the decision-making process. The 20s are times when both genders focus on building their careers. During the 30s, women and some men begin placing more value on quality of life than career advancement.

Women in their 40s are more willing than men to confront stressors and honor important values and goals. Men often delay this process until the 50s or older. Societal programming, family obligations, or high career aspirations often influence men to focus on career advancement at the expense of emotional and spiritual development. Men, who plunge ahead without reappraisal, are susceptible to depression and illness.

For developmental issues adults face throughout the career and life cycles, please refer to Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life:

Regardless of gender or developmental challenges, it is essential to periodically reassess values and goals.

Expectations. Women tend to look for positions that will enable them to balance personal, family, and career obligations. Men are more strategic, objective, and tend to focus on career progression.

Before accepting positions, both genders would benefit from ensuring the potential position will meet desired needs. Know the company’s mission and identify potential challenges. Learn about new products, markets, technology, systems, and procedures.

Networking. Women tend to develop more lasting networking contacts than men. While motivated to establish job leads, women are also willing to exchange ideas and help others. Men tend to use a network. They make contacts, get needed information, and move on.

Women often hesitate to ask for help from senior executives, but excel at follow up after meetings and sending thank you notes. Men tend to be less considerate about following up, and remove people from their networking lists when they have nothing to gain.

Expand your network. Attend professional meetings and volunteer. Learn about people’s career needs, and find ways to help.

Clarify goals, and develop action plan. Break your plan down into small steps, indicating completion dates, activities, and required resources.

Keep abreast of new developments in your field. Ask for introductions. Develop a support group. Refer to Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life for additional tips.

Maintain a positive attitude and persevere. Believe this is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life!

Dr. Carole Kanchier, career and personal growth expert, is author of the award-winning, best seller, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life (2014). A registered psychologist, coach, speaker, and columnist, Carole Kanchier practices in Calgary:


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