- How many of us have an idea? How many of us have an idea that’s going to help shape a generation of women? How many of us have an inspired idea and then work our butts off to make it happen?
There is a group of women who clearly Pinterest doesn’t have an effect on, procrastination is null and void, and determination is stored by the truck load.
I met one of these women earlier this year, at a conference designed for female entrepreneurs actually- go figure!
Sarah Coull (aptly pronounced “cool”) and I had our ‘meet cute’ while waiting in line for an organic coffee. A tall young fresh faced girl, I (in my ignorance) thought to myself – bet she is in PR. Given I was at conference for entrepreneurs, I should really not have been surprised to find that she was actually doing something pretty awesome.
Earlier this year Sarah launched Girl Unearthed – a blog offering career inspiration to young women. Profiling women in unique roles across all different industries, the blog is giving girls a real life glimpse of possible careers and pathways to get there. See – awesome!
Growing up in Tasmania, Sarah herself was always a strong willed girl, destined to succeed. After making the call to relocate after completing school, she embarked on an undergraduate degree in Media & Communications across the Bass Strait in Melbourne.
Sarah has lead quite the interesting career path herself. After interning at cult teenage mags Girlfriend and Cosmo, Sarah initially thought a career in magazines might be for her but after taking a belated gap year to travel and work in a book shop back in Tassie, she fell in love with books and embarked on a career in publishing, heading back to Melbourne to study her Master of Publishing and Communications.
Whilst studying she landed a job at educational publishing juggernaut Macmillan as a Publishing Assistant and later a Junior Publishing Editor, staying with the company for a couple of years. . A redundancy and new job later, Sarah still felt like she wasn’t being fulfilled creatively and that she needed something else to work on.
Drawing on her time at Girlfriend, and the mentoring influence she saw publications like this could have on young women, she began developing ideas around careers and thinking about what was currently available for girls and women early in their careers.
“There was already so many career websites out there that have articles on things like ‘how to get a promotion’ and ‘how to become a leader in the workplace’, which is great but I thought there needed to be something that opened up young people’s minds about what was out there in terms of jobs, that you just wouldn’t know about until you’re in a workplace or until you’ve meet someone in that job,” Sarah says.
And so, Girl Unearthed was born.
By featuring profiles of women working in different jobs and detailing the paths they took to get there, Sarah is hoping to help young women identify where their skills and passions could take them, or to encourage women who are already working, that the path towards a dream career doesn’t always have to be straight.“Reading about different jobs, you might think, ‘I am really good at that key skill. I am really good at framing data to build a report and analysing things’. I want girls to be able to see different job tasks and skills in the profiles, and recognise that they’ve got these skills and that they could do it too.”
“One of our biggest setbacks when we’re young is that we don’t believe we can do something, and we underestimate our abilities when we’re younger – especially when applying for jobs! I’ve also found that being so busy, as young women we often don’t spend much time reflecting on what we’re good at and enjoy. That’s something I’d like to spend time developing on the website, articles and activities for reflecting on what your skills are and honouring yourself and what you can offer an organisation. “
Sarah has found that the interviews that have been more popular are not the ones she would have expected to be more popular.
“I had an environmental consultant who does surveys on environments for companies and reports on how their business operations are is physically affecting the environment and the wildlife around them.
She was the most interesting, outdoorsy person and had done all sorts of cool things in her job,” she recalls.
“She was, a real person. You will find that we’re generally not putting up super glamorous jobs that girls may have heard about – we want to put up real jobs for people to connect with.”
Sarah and her team of editors at Girl Unearthed aim to provide insight with every article, into that particular job and industry and to allow the readers to be able to identify what the main tasks are, what are the skills or qualifications to have for that job and to identify a pathway to it. As well as to see the fact that they are all random and unique to that person. She hopes this will allow women to not be scared of the path they may take.
Her vision is to develop the site to be an aggregate of careers-related content and events, pulling in content from the different universities, TAFEs, and other educational institutions, and becoming a real hub for knowing when different career events are on and what is out there. A site where girls can go to explore different jobs, do reflective exercises to widen their minds and explore different pathways. Encouraging thinking outside the box and being able to look down a different path, to see where they could end up.
So after hearing so many stories, and having her own interesting career – what is Sarah’s advice for anyone thinking about their future career?
“The wisdom gained is – don’t be afraid to jump into something different because you don’t think you’ve got the skills. More and more people are hiring based on skills set rather than directly related work experience to the role, “ she said.
“Good employers will look at your skills and your confidence in backing yourself in those skills.”
Sarah also recommends spending time reflecting on what you’re good at and companies and roles that interest you.
“Samantha Wills had a cool insight at the Run the World conference this year about finding your passion and your path. She said ‘Look at what you spend your free time doing – and do that.’ And I think that’s a great place to start when young women are thinking about what they’d like to do in their career. What are the things you’re most passionate about? Being able to combine one of your passions with your own unique skill set in a job role is the ultimate goal – because no one wants to be dragging their feet to work every day!’