At age 14, Tiffany Pham, the Founder and CEO of Mogul, already knew exactly what she wanted to do in life. Pham made a promise to herself that she would do everything she could to carry forward her family legacy within technology and media, and started hashing out a plan. With that motivation, she moved onto Yale, then Harvard Business School, and started creating a platform that brought women together through information access, economic opportunity, and education. She taught herself how to code, and developed the first version of Mogul. The platform and app now reach millions of women from over 196 countries and over 30,000 cities worldwide. Named one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” in Media, Pham is now launching Mogul’s “Invitation Only” Platform — a subscription tool for businesses trying to find diverse executive talent, and for senior women looking for new and better opportunities at the C-Suite and Board Member level.
Pham shares with Thrive her most effective tips on starting a business, how to stand out in a job interview and get the secret to the perfect resume.
Thrive Global: In a landscape where landing a job is highly competitive, how can people stand out?
Tiffany Pham: Unemployment rates in the U.S. are at the lowest they’ve been in a long time, so there are many wonderful jobs out there, but it is important to find the right job that aligns with your values, so you can reach your full potential. 85 percent of the current workforce are both unengaged and unhappy with their current jobs. The best way around that is to search for companies that you really want to work for and be a part of their mission. Then learn everything about them, and find out how you would mutually benefit by your joining.
TG: When people post resumes in response to a job, many people get ignored or never hear back. Why is that? Is there an algorithm as to which resumes get seen?
TP: Most large companies and many smaller ones use automated tracking systems (ATS) and software to screen resumes, weeding out up to 50 percent of applicants before a human even looks at a resume or cover letter. In order to overcome this challenge, I recommend searching for companies that align with your values, and reaching out to friends or connections there to refer you or connect you directly to the hiring manager. However, if you are applying to a role online, you can always reach out to the hiring manager in addition to your application. Tapping into your network is crucial when you’re trying to break through during a challenging job search.
TG: What makes a great resume?
TP: Your resume is the first thing hiring managers look at, and unfortunately they do so for only six to 10 seconds before deciding to move forward or not. After all, your resume is your key to a new and exciting opportunity. To make it great:
- Proofread!: For hiring purposes, most companies today are using an ATS. Any grammatical errors or typos will keep you from moving forward in the process.
- Relevant Keywords: Great resumes always contain keywords and phrases that mirror the language in the job description and also the field/area of specialization to which you are applying.
- Length: Your resume should always be concise and relevant for the position.
- Summary: You should consider having a short paragraph at the beginning of your resume explaining your most important skills and experiences immediately noticeable to hiring managers.
- Readable: Make sure your resume is easy to read and the formatting isn’t confusing to follow.
TG: What is the best advice when you land an interview to really shine?
TP: A job interview is the first step towards your future. Like most first impressions, you have one shot to make an impact, and with the right preparations, you can be the best candidate that’s interviewed. How can you make sure you stand out from the crowd?
- Talk more and develop a connection with the interviewer: The interview is your time to shine and highlight details that the hiring manager hasn’t already seen from your application.
- Discuss what can you bring to the table: Share how you’d add value as an employee.
- Ask the right questions: Never forget that you are also interviewing the company.
TG: What is prohibiting more women in senior leadership roles?
TP: Workplace bias takes many forms, but the result is always the same: Parts of the workforce are unfairly excluded from experiences and opportunities for which they are qualified. The most common type of bias in the workplace is implicit, or unconscious. It operates at a level below more obvious, conscious prejudice, and affects our decisions in a much more subtle way. This has directly impacted women and people of color from progressing in the workplace and reaching their full potential.
The challenge also remains that 90 percent of senior positions are attained through networking, while 85 percent of this network of senior positions are men. Gender parity initiatives aren’t focusing enough on helping female employees reach the top. Men hold 62 percent of managerial positions to women’s 38 percent, and the gap increases higher up.
TG: What makes Mogul’s “Invitation Only” different?
TP: “Invitation Only” is a world-changing subscription tool that provides otherwise confidential senior opportunities to top female senior executives, and provides our partners comprehensive, direct, and consistent access to this top talent globally. These female senior executives are across the Big Three Consulting Firms, Fortune 500, and Top-Tier Growth Stage Startups, and comprehensively hold VP, President, C-Suite, and Board Member positions. With “Invitation Only,” businesses will be able to feature VP, President, C-Suite, and Board Member-level jobs to Mogul’s high-profile network of 15,000 senior women currently holding executive roles at Fortune 500 companies, Top-Tier Growth Stage Startups, and Consulting Firms. That means businesses will now be able to use “Invitation Only” to directly, regularly, and comprehensively reach the most senior women worldwide rather than use expensive executive recruitment firms that can cost up to several millions of dollars a year to fill these same executive roles, and senior women and diverse talent will now have access to these companies who are actively looking to hire them.
Mogul is in a unique position to address this issue in the world, with prominent female leaders on its Board of Advisors that include Warner Media Chairman and CEO Ann Sarnoff, NowThis News Chief Content Officer Tina Exarhos, former Hearst Magazines Chairman Cathie Black, and personal finance icon Suze Orman. Mogul is the owner of one of the most comprehensive databases of senior women worldwide, and one of the largest networks of 60,000 H.R. leaders from world-class clients like IBM, Amazon, Bain & Company, CBS, Home Depot, Western Union, and more. By bridging these two networks together, Mogul’s new initiative aims to propel senior female leadership, transparently connecting them to executive job openings and further increasing diversity and inclusion at the top, thus paving the way for further diversity and inclusion across all other levels.
TG: It can be challenging for people who are more senior to get jobs — perhaps they are too expensive? Do you think we need to take pay cuts to get a job? What sacrifices are worth it?
TP: Most senior roles never get published on job sites, and are not announced publicly until the role is already filled. Speaking up, reaching out, and tapping into your network and outside of that could lead to newer and better opportunities at the executive and board level. You should consider taking a pay cut if you are making a career change, looking for a better work-life balance, or the opportunity is better than what you had before.
TG: What are some of your top tips for women looking to be business leaders or entrepreneurs?
TP: Value your voice. Your voice matters. We need businesses run by leaders of diverse backgrounds and perspectives to service the world and create a positive impact for all, so it’s important that your voice be heard and you speak up.
- Get experience in a variety of fields: If you’re going to run a business, try to familiarize yourself with every facet in advance through internships, jobs, and side hustles.
- Treat every small task as a chance to excel: Overdeliver on every task, no matter how small. Your passion and dedication to all will be noticed.
- Fail forward: Failures can be successes — so long as you’re learning, you’re succeeding. Keep persisting, keep going after that yes. After all, any “no” you receive is ultimately a “not right now” that you can turn into “yes.”
- Be kind, authentic, and generous: Give, give, and give, because that’s the energy you’re giving off, and that is the energy you’re going to get back.
TG: From a business perspective, why is diversity important not only throughout the organization but crucial for leadership roles as well?
TP: Diversity is equally crucial in leadership roles as it acts as the best tool to attract, retain, and eventually hire diverse talent. “We can’t be what we can’t see,” and diverse leadership inspires young talent to continue pursuing growth and L&D opportunities at the company. In addition, a workplace that is representative of all offers more than exposure to employees from different cultures and backgrounds. Employees learn from co-workers whose perspectives vary from their own. Finally, the next generation of talent — millennials and Generation Z — want to see diversity across all levels, because that helps them to determine not only whether they want to work at that company, but also if they want to shop there. Future talent is equal to the future consumer, and so diversity across all levels affects the bottom line.
TG: Why do you think businesses aren’t hiring women?
TP: I’ve found that a lot of companies struggle with hiring women — not because they don’t want to, but because they don’t know where to look and access diverse female talent. Mogul created our software tools, such as “Invitation Only,” to connect diverse talent and corporations to reach optimal potential and productivity.
TG: What were some of the biggest lessons you learned while creating a business?
TP: I realized at an early age that your dreams can come true, with all your hard work, passion, and dedication. I coded Mogul in my apartment, and now it’s one of the fastest-growing platforms and ecosystems for women, reaching over 30 million women in 196 countries around the world. Anything is possible. When you have an idea, just get started and go for it. Don’t be afraid to take on a new skill and find your passion, even if it’s not perfect at the beginning.
TG: What is your best advice for someone wanting to start their own company?
TP: Always grow and evolve. As entrepreneurs, success comes from continuous learning, humility, and a whole lot of tenacity. The keyword here is learning. To pave your own way and craft your dream career, you must continue to want to learn. It is the key to powering a good life, both personally and professionally.
TG: Top tips for searching for a job?
- Have a target job: Be clear on what you want, why you want it, and what qualifies you.
- Create a plan: Identify a few key features, such as, why is finding a new job is important to you? What is your ideal timeframe for finding a new job?
- Brand yourself: In today’s digital age, it’s important to have an online profile.
- Informal interviews: The best way to get a meeting with decision makers and hiring managers is to ask for informal meetings with them.
- Network with everyone: The most effective networking is the informal kind which happens in daily life.