Journalist and broadcaster Samira Ahmed has put herself forward to be considered as the next presenter of BBC’s ‘Question Time’, by listing her achievements and suitability for the role on Twitter.
In post that’s been liked more than 6,000 times, she highlighted her 28 years of experience in the industry and two awards for journalism: “I’m very well qualified to present BBC Question Time and would like to be seriously considered.”
In a further tweet, Ahmed said she’s since spoken to a senior news manager and has been assured her name is now being passed on for consideration. “Happy to go through a process based on equal opportunity, fairness and merit,” she said.
Ahmed’s somewhat unconventional job application follows the rise of the #ImmodestWomen hashtag on Twitter, where women, particularly doctors, have been proudly declaring their achievements online.
The trend of women proudly showcasing their success is something we can seriously get on board with and if you’re looking to progress your career, it could be something you can learn from, too.
Samira Ahmed’s tweet is brilliant for two reasons, according to Emma Sexton, presenter of The Badass Women’s Hour podcast.
“Firstly, she is badass enough to point out her achievements – anyone who suffers from imposter syndrome will know how hard it is to do this,” she tells HuffPost UK. “And secondly, she is making herself visible. So many times people make it into positions of influence, not because they are the best at the job, but of who they know and who knows about them.”
Sexton believes we can all learn that “confidence in who you are and your abilities is everything”. “If you don’t believe in yourself, how is anyone else supposed to?” she says.
Liz Dimmock, CEO and founder of diversity mentoring organisation Moving Ahead, which runs the Women Ahead social enterprise, says women often hold themselves back from applying for their dream job.
“The often-quoted Hewlett Packard report states that men feel confident applying for a job with 60% of the experience required, but women don’t feel confident to apply unless they have 100% of the requirements,” she says. “As Dame Helena Morrissey says, ‘If you want to be CEO, go for it!’”
Dimmock encourages women to follow Ahmed’s lead, but advises finding a career mentor if you don’t yet have the confidence to put yourself out there just yet.
“Our research backs up the power of getting a mentor who can challenge you to set ambitious goals and support you towards achieving them,” she says. “We’ve proven that mentors help their mentees grow in confidence and we’ve heard many stories of our mentees achieving promotions and pushing on through the mid-career ‘speed bump’ that can slow women down at this critical point in their career.”
Meanwhile Fiona Hathorn, managing director at Women on Boards UK, agrees lack of confidence can sometimes hold women back from reaching for the top.
“Women often fail to apply because they know that when they take a ‘stretch opportunity’ they will have less support from colleagues around them than currently – as they are likely to be even more of a minority than they are in their current position,” she says. “Equally, they are hesitant because they are not encouraged to apply.
To get to the top in any business, Hathorn says it is vital to champion your own achievements. “This is not always easy. To do this effectively, first you should know your boss and what drives them, in a bid to report in and be heard,” she says. “Second, you need to manage up and understand how to influence the key decision makers, who are not necessarily your line managers. Third, if you are struggling, have others speak for you, find a mentor and strive for an advocate.”