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Do your decision makers really know what you are capable of?

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

Sometimes in life we need to create those moments of opportunity to be seen. I remember being the young girl temping in accounts in London, it was back in my backpacking days when I bought a one way ticket to having a little bit of fun, travel and working along the way.

I vividly remember applying for roles as a Business Manager once my travel funds were running low. I realised I didn’t have time to wait for the perfect opportunity and took a temporary accounts role to start the motion of cash coming in.

What unfolded over the next few weeks was quite natural to me, although I didn’t realise it all stemmed from the confidence I had taken from many small steps along the way.

You see, I was in the industry that was my comfort zone and had worked my way all around the business in Australia, so I had quite an impressive CV for a twenty-five-year-old Aussie backpacker. Although the moment I realised the decision makers didn’t know all about me and what I was capable off was the moment I needed to be a little strategic.

After getting myself in the door I observed how the organisation ran. Who managed who, what Regional Manager visits we had and then soon realised whom I needed to build the relationships with.

We had fortnightly visits from our Regional Manager, and he typically always stayed for quite some time & often had lunch in the tearoom. This was my moment to pluck up to courage to strike up a conversation and share a little about me. Thankfully he was quite inviting to make conversation and as soon as I dropped into the chat, I was training to be a Business Manager in Australia he was suddenly even more interested, and we were on the road to discovery about my options.

The timing was impeccable, I choose not to use the word lucky, as this would undermine, I was the right person for the role. Although by having the courage to share a little about me then this fast tracked my career into the hot seat.

This didn’t come super easy, being the resident Aussie, also knowing there was someone else in the organisation that wanted the role I was handed. This did ruffle his feathers when I became effectively his boss and created a little conflict.

I was soon to learn it was my personality and can-do attitude that landed me the role. Along with knowing I was able to build relationship within the business and that people were welcoming of me. On paper I was still learning the role, I was provided the training and had an incredible human already doing the role that mentored me through the trying times.

That mentor was taking an extended break, and with his complete backing and belief in myself this opened the opportunity for me to sit in the hot seat and prove my worth. After a panicking start to this moment of expectation, I was able to fill those shoes with success, following my placement it landed me a permanent role within the organisation three months later.

Lesson's learnt:

  1. Build networks and observe the company dynamics

  2. Have an elevator pitch, although it could be in the tearoom.

  3. If you have a good attitude, are seen as coachable, people will want to take you under their wing, engage with a mentor or coach

  4. Take on acting roles, they could lead to a permanent placement or a try before you buy.

Deb Elliott


Evolve Women's Development Academy

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