You deserve a career you love. There’s no doubt about that. But what happens when your brain tells you otherwise? By nature, our minds work against us. Those negative thoughts you’ve got playing on repeat – they’re natural. Negative self-talk is the mind on autopilot. But when you’re chasing your career dreams, you’ve got to keep the pessimism under control. This is where career confidence comes in.
Confidence is a key driver of success. Ambition is a fantastic trait to have, but if you’re riddled with self-doubt, it won’t matter. When you lack confidence, you come across as inexperienced or inadequate. It indicates that you’re not certain of your abilities. All three ring bad alarm bells!
But what happens when you glow with confidence? You radiate experience, professionalism, and an attractive I’ve got this kind of attitude. If you were a boss or a hiring manager, which would you favour? It’s a no-brainer.
Yet if you’re not where you want to be on the courage chart right now, you can work on with a little help from leading careers experts. These industry insiders show us simple, actionable, and no-nonsense career confidence tips to make it happen.
Before you start to believe that you’ll go from whispering wallflower to a powerful peacock overnight, it’s a little more complex than that. You have to really work on your self-belief, self-esteem, and self-assurance. To do that, you need to become more self-aware. Try to take a step back and see where you are right now. Really get to know yourself and put all judgements aside.
Confidence coach Mike McClement of Think Confidence suggests starting with your communication style. Think about how you come across to others, and how people may perceive you. When you develop a better understanding of your mannerisms and how you hold yourself, you can then control it. Adopting more confidence in your career comes after feeling more confident in yourself and your abilities.
You know where you are, so now you need to amp up your assurance. Career coach Christie Mims has a helpful technique to help you do just that. Considering what you’re good at is always big confidence booster. If you can understand your strengths and play to them, your courage increases.
When you do something that you’re good at and feels easy, your morale is instantly up. To work out the tasks that tick both boxes, Mims suggests writing a list of work activities that come easily to you. Go through and circle the tasks you actually enjoy doing. Next, ask someone you trust to give you honest feedback about something they think you’re great at. Then, check your last performance review.
When combined, all three act as a powerful playbook of where your strengths lie. And not just in your opinion, but your colleagues’ and boss’s too! Then be sure to add them all into your resume to help your skills really shine. You can even procure help with something like https://www.arcresumes.com/local/georgia/ to make this look super professional.
To make the most of skills, switch up your daily routine to incorporate more of the tasks that you now know are your strong points. The more you play to your strengths, the more faith you’ll have in your abilities.
But what happens when your list is a little lacking? Don’t panic if you don’t have the skills you wish you had. You’ll get them. The best career paths are the ones where you’re always learning. Personal development should always be important to you. The more you learn, the more career confidence you’ll gain. Boost your knowledge in your own time or team up with a colleague you respect to improve the skills that are important in your role.
Not sure what you need to know? Career expert and influencer J.T. O’Donnell, founder of Work It Daily, dishes the dirt on what recruiters really want. Because skills aren’t limited to speaking French and being proficient in Excel. Instead, your strengths can lie in what you can bring to the table.
If you’re going to make this work, you need a plan. Goal setting increases your confidence. Why? Having goals and being strategic about what you want to do allows you to play to your strengths and fill in the gaps to make it happen. Planning your career is crucial if you want things to play out properly. Set some time aside to think about your overall career goals and figure out the actionable steps you need to take to achieve them.
Having a plan is a practical approach to your career today, not just for the future. Planning has a huge hold over your confidence in everyday career situations. Rhymer Rigby, author of The Careerist: Over 100 Ways to Get Ahead at Work stresses the importance of preparation. Preparing in the right situation is an instant confidence booster. From a meeting at work to applying for a new position, coming prepared is a simple pathway to self-belief.
Still not all that convinced in your abilities? Then fake it. Career confidence can take years to obtain. But why wait? The age-old saying fake it ’til you make it can work wonders for you when it comes to your self-esteem. Take your past successes and focus on how they made you feel. Now harness those emotions in the present. Tell yourself that you’ve got this, that you have the skills, the experience, and even the confidence to kill it in the situation you’re in.
Rigby goes into greater detail on the topic in his feature for The Guardian, ‘If you're unsure of the ground you stand on at work, you can start by trying to adopt the feeling of somebody who is [in] control. Tell yourself you can do it – and envision success, like a golfer imagining a ball going into the hole.’
While you may feel like a fool for pretending at first, it works. As you tell yourself that you’re confident, you start to feel confident. Before long, the exercise will pay off. You’ll realise that you’re not faking it anymore.
Sometimes, your lack of confidence comes down to imposter syndrome. Ever feel like you’re not good enough for the role you’re in? Or that you’re going to be ‘found out’ as unqualified, unskilled, or unworthy (even though you’re not)? You’re not alone. Imposter syndrome in the workplace in the number one killer of career confidence. The inability to own your strengths, believe in yourself, or push your growth are all key symptoms, but there’s one thing that can iron them out – positivity.
Neuroscientist and leadership coach Tara Swart confirms that positive affirmations can kick imposter syndrome. When a negative thought pops up, simply replace it with something positive. Instead of telling yourself that you’re going to fail, say I’m going to nail this when going for an interview or preparing for a presentation. The more you focus on the positive, the more confident you’ll become.
When combined with the act as if idea, your negativity doesn’t stand a chance!
Most importantly of all, never be afraid of the challenge. Of pushing yourself, of change, or of trying something new. When you have huge career aspirations, why let yourself be the one thing that’s holding you back? Instead, face the fight. Prepare for your next step, for reaching your goals, or where you want to be. And use each of the sections above to make sure that you’re ready for it.
Part of the challenge is the journey. Having confidence in your career will come in time. But until then, in her previous role as Associate Director at Robert Walters, Sally Martin (now Head of Talent Acquisition at Resource Solutions), suggests turning to the support that senior staff in the workplace can provide. Choose role models in your industry that you trust and respect. Their experience and insight can steer your actions in the right direction for the ultimate confidence booster.
And when you finally believe you have what it takes to go after your goals, you’ll be unstoppable.
Do you struggle with career confidence? What holds you back the most? If you have any tips to help our SOCIÉTÉ believe in themselves more, share your thoughts in the comments below.
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