“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” 
― Sheryl Sandberg

Asking For a Friend | Chapter Nine

Asking For a Friend | Chapter Nine

Advice from Babe to Babe

AFAF _ 1 (15).jpg

I always suggest going with your gut. It might sound cliché, but during which interview did you feel most comfortable and like yourself? These are people you’re going to spend the majority of your time with (don’t think about this too long, because it’s borderline depressing), and because of this it’s important you like your coworkers. I always weigh these feelings and intuitions with how much opportunity there is for me to demonstrate my skills and grow, as I believe these are the two areas to focus on when looking for a new gig.


The best part about the interviewing process is that you get to use it as an opportunity to discover what you’re looking for. I always try to come to table with my own set of questions based on the things I loved and also didn’t love about past experiences. I always ask potential employers what their company culture is, what they value and how they would describe the work environment at their company. How these answers align with the type of place I envision myself investing in help me decide whether or not it’s a good fit.


I think you can narrow down your short list before the interview. I’ve always done a significant amount of research ahead of time, via coffee chats and informational interviews with people who currently work where I want to work or do what I want to do. There’s a lot you can glean online, but the internet can’t tell you what the environment and culture is really like day-to-day. You’ll spend over a third of your life in a professional setting, so my goal with this activity is to see if I can genuinely connect with people in that company, see if I gain any clarity into their office environment and understand if I could sincerely be a good fit.

During these coffee chats and informational interviews, I ask what people like most about what they do and where they work. I want to know why they stay, what makes them successful and what they would be doing if they weren’t in their current role. I ask questions like, “How do you spend most of your time?” and “Where do you go with questions?” It gives me great insight into what my life would look like at that company. If I walk away feeling like I was able to connect with that person, it’s probably a good sign I’ll fit in where they fit in. If I gain clarity into the culture, I’m better armed to ask strategic questions during my interview that can give me more details to narrow the scope even further. I use other factors such as career growth potential, total compensation and location to make my final decisions.


The first step is identifying your values and what you’re looking for in a company (whether thats flexibility, benefits/PTO, creative collaboration, etc). It helps to write these things down and to be specific. For example, instead of simply stating good culture, really dig deep to figure out what that looks like for you. Once you have these items on paper, include a question or two that relates to each one so you can then ask these in your interview. Something I try to remind myself when job hunting - you’re interviewing them just as much as they are you. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions you need in order to get the information that will help you assess whether or not this is the right move. Lastly, trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right it’s probably because it isn’t. Pay attention to how you feel in the interview, both before, during and after. How does the space make you feel? Are the people inviting? Can you envision your workspace? Above all, take your time, and don’t take a job just because you think you won’t find anything better.


AFAF _ 1 (16).jpg

Start by finding someone in the field you’re hoping to join and brainstorm ways your current position and hopeful career overlap. It may be as simple as the ability to bring a positive client-facing attitude while under stress. It could be that your previous position meant making use of memorization skills, extensive software or programs understanding, or even learning and improving on outdated processes. Find these commonalities and make them your differentiators. You can also look beyond your professional work experience and highlight volunteer work, education or any other experiences that may have given you insight into your future career. Not funneling directly into your goal career straight from high school can be a huge bonus for employers. Many want to hire mold-breakers with fresh ideas who will bring in new clients and solve evolving problems.


I’ve got two words for you: transferable skills. I’d suggest looking up a skills-based resume and using it to help frame your work based on the skills you built, rather than the industry you worked in or roles you held. There are several templates out there that can help you think through the various ways to present your skills in a clean and professional format. Next, look into the skills you’ll need after you make the switch and start outlining ways you’ve currently shown those skills with the work you do now. Anything you’re missing, you can start to work towards while you’re still looking.

Once you’ve got your resume template set up and the list of skills you still need to build, start looking into creating a value proposition, instead of a cover letter. This is a great way to show how you will bring value to the company from day one, so they can’t take the easy way out by saying, “but she’s got no relevant experience.”


When I made a minor career switch, I updated my resume to highlight to skills/experience I had in previous roles to fit the career I wanted to get into. I also did the opposite as well. I reminded the interviewer that my unique skill set could be of use and bring an interesting perspective.

This may not work for every career switch, but I was surprised to see how valuable a totally different job could make while selling myself.


AFAF _ 1 (17).jpg

In my experience, when a coworker turns negative that usually means there’s an underlying issue that is causing that. If you’re in a management position, I would suggest asking questions to dive deeper into what that might be, and then help them find ways to work through it. Doing a little extra investigating can uncover a lot about what they value which can then help you as a manager get them on a more positive path. It can be difficult to avoid letting their feelings get to you. Negativity is just as contagious as positivity!


These people are called “energy vampires” and they really suck the energy right out of you with their pessimistic outlook on everything. I always find it best to call out the elephant in the room and tell them exactly how I feel. I subscribe to the Brené Brown method of being both vulnerable and steadfast. Be honest and compassionate by trying to understand where they’re coming from, but let them know how it’s affecting you and your work. If they’re someone worth keeping around, they’ll listen. They may not always know how to improve, but listening and trying to improve is the key.



Until Next Week,



Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!

Name *
ex: "xoxo Gossip Girl"
BABE #219: TESSA DUVALL - Enterprise Reporter/Director of Engagement, The Florida Times-Union

BABE #219: TESSA DUVALL - Enterprise Reporter/Director of Engagement, The Florida Times-Union

BABE #218: ASHLEY LANNI HOYE - Freelance Illustrator; Co-Host, The Short Box Podcast

BABE #218: ASHLEY LANNI HOYE - Freelance Illustrator; Co-Host, The Short Box Podcast