It’s not necessarily a ‘skills gap’ but our humble northern nature holding our career success back.
I hear rhetoric around a “skills shortage” but find it is often an internal and external stigma that prevents us from striving. I know as someone who initially struggled to get on the media career ladder through lack of confidence, contacts and, also grounded conditioning to ‘keep your head down,’ and ‘graft.’
Not to mention the fact that as northerners and particularly as a woman we often ‘downplay our potential.’ We are more likely to avoid applying for jobs and business opportunities as a result of feeling ‘inadequate’ and undersell ourselves. Many seldom heard communities adopt this mindset subconsciously because there is an over-use of terms that we are “under-qualified,” “unskilled” and in many cases, employers or clients don’t even know we exist because we embody this narrative.
I have been embedded in this culture but I realize that my own ‘skills gap’ has been ‘selling’ what I do and having the self-esteem to share let alone ‘promote’ my skills and lived experience. Fortunately, after a decade of sporadically securing every qualification possible for my work in multi-platform journalism in a desperate attempt to feel ‘enough’ and, still struggling to get anywhere, I made the leap to build my resilience, confidence and acquire the techniques and support to address this deficit specifically.
My journey began when I started an online blog called ‘Verita Magazine,’ 10 years ago meaning ‘truth’ whilst studying at university to showcase my work and other community voices. This won me awards to finally get me ‘seen’ in the media world and paid work with national news. After 10 years of flogging myself as a freelancer, I have come almost full cycle but now with the knowledge that I needed an understanding support network to pitch myself, build my resilience and strong relationships with other professionals who will speak up, and share one another’s skills until we have the confidence to ‘big up’ what we do.
After connecting with a fellow freelance writer I met in my blogging community in Lockdown, who had also dreamed of starting a platform to shine a light on other northern women’s stories. After seeing a need to act as cheerleaders for one another. We ourselves have and are open about being on this journey. We decided to address this self-promotion gap’ by creating a glossy magazine with journalistic quality stories of female entrepreneurs who often are over-skilled but under-sell themselves. It can be hard to “go back to basics” but we need to start with ourselves so I sought support again from AD:VENTURE a free business support hub that had launched my film-making business when I first started out. I may be overqualified but I too believe in life-long learning and addressing our own issues and for me it was for how to charge for my services as a professional and also create a magazine that would get noticed by its professional quality appeal yet hearty roots, often expressing stories of overcoming such adversity! It’s important to be honest with ourselves and authenticity is appreciated more than ever… so is cheerleading, collaborating and forging strong communities! Something that will never change but has come to light in recent times with so many of us re-writing our professional profiles for the first time in years.
AD:VENTURE are now sponsoring the magazine so we can not just share these stories but we will realize our dream and match the style these incredible entrepreneurs deserve.
I am proud not ashamed of the fact that without realising I have almost come in full cycle but as an evolved professional to starting an online magazine again sharing stories but this time I know that with the sisterhood, support and also finding my purpose to share such transformational stories by harnessing my own skill-set that together we can navigate and lead a purpose-filled life and enterprise which helps ourselves and others. No woman or ‘man is an island,’ together we can steer a sparkly future up north! More niche magazines in the pipeline…
For more information and to champion one another, go to https://sparkleupnorth.com