13422 Clayton Road, Ste. 220
Town and Country, MO 63131



Sometime ago I had the opportunity to work with two top IT executives from the same employer; a female boss and her male subordinate. I interviewed her first and was interested to find that she couched all her achievements in soft skills – developing people, communicating authentically, encouraging achievement, facilitating teamwork, etc. The male subordinate expressed his achievements in terms of concrete business results. Which strategy will have greater influence on a hiring authority?

Here’s a tip: the boss gets to take credit for what subordinate(s) deliver. This is presumably so because the boss directs the subordinate’s priorities and performance goals and is ultimately accountable for the subordinate’s performance or lack thereof.

Once the female boss had the opportunity to see her direct report’s resume, she called to say she wasn’t happy with what I had written for her. Since I had saved my notes, I shared that I used the information she had provided and explained that she could (and should) take credit for many of her subordinate’s achievements as well. Now she was able to reframe her accomplishments in terms of concrete business outcomes.

It is no secret that women lack confidence and therefore don’t take credit for their achievements. Taking credit for what you do doesn’t have to be boastful. When you are competing in the marketplace, expressing your value is essential if you don’t want to be overlooked . . . or taken advantage of when it comes to negotiating salary.

Ellie Vargo, MRW