During your career journey – whether you’re just starting or not, confidence in what you bring to the table, your skills, abilities, and talents is the key to success.
When you apply for a job, the hiring manager or HR team is looking to be assured that you are capable of the job. When it comes down to it, they need to know that you can and will succeed at their company – and this assurance comes from the confidence that you have in yourself and are able to show them. Those responsible for hiring want and need to feel good about their decision on who they hire, and they need to believe in you and what you can offer the company.
Think to yourself – “If I don’t believe I can be successful in this role, how or why would they?” You have to truly believe that you’re capable of providing the requirements that they’re looking for, or be confident that you will be able to learn all of the necessary skills when you’re on the job.
This can-do attitude needs to come across in all areas of the application process – from your LinkedIn, resume, cover letter, and interview, to your follow up email. If your confidence is wavering, theirs might be too.
If confidence isn’t something you have in a particular area or skill, for a particular job, or in general, here are five things that you can do to increase your confidence.
1. Learn Hands-On
If it’s a particular skill that you’re not confident you could do, try doing that thing hands-on before you press apply. This could mean watching tutorials, taking a course, trial and error, or asking a peer to help you! Once you’ve done that particular thing and it’s no longer a hypothetical, you may feel better about talking about it from that perspective. Making mistakes will also help you learn rather than just reading a book on something.
For example, if you want to learn how to make a basic logo, watching a tutorial and trying it out yourself will be more beneficial than just reading about it. Try making a few more logos on your own, and maybe even get feedback from a professional graphic designer, and you’ll start feeling a lot better about applying for a job that lists that as a skill you’ll need.
2. Find Your Qualities in the Job Description
If a job title is making you second guess yourself (i.e., the word manager), and you’re thinking, ‘why me?’, take some time to carefully go through the job description and requirements, take note of everything that matches who you are. When you see that a majority of the requirements are also things that you possess, you’ll start to see that the job could be yours. Also, reflect on how you could work on the other components of the job – even if you demonstrate that you’re beginning to learn about them on your own, it may signal to the employer just how serious you are taking this. If you find that you don’t meet a lot of the requirements, then the job might not be for you, yet.
3. Reflect On Your Experiences
Sometimes we forget the things that we’ve done in our past jobs or school experiences. When we remember some of the things we’ve accomplished, – these could be concrete things like exceeding sales projections, or it could be that you’ve done well in school while going through hard life struggles. When we remember that we’ve actually done things in our career, we gain confidence from realizing that we do, in fact, are more knowledgeable and experienced than we might think.
4. Ask for Feedback
If you’re able to – ask for feedback and constructive criticism from past professors, bosses, or peers. Hearing their words will allow you to see yourself in a new light, and hopefully give you a new perspective. Sometimes they will call out things in you that you’ve never thought about before, or remind you of something you’ve achieved. In the moment, even if we’ve accomplished something, it’s easy for us to brush it off, but if someone else recognizes it, we might think about it differently. We don’t always stop to think “hey, that was impressive,’ or, “wow I’m surprised at myself”, but when others point things out, it can spark that confidence in ourselves.
5. Focus on How You Present Yourself
If you already know and believe in what you bring to the table, the next step is to make sure that every touchpoint reflects the best version of that while being honest and authentic. Your cover letter, resume, interview, and LinkedIn should all reflect how you believe in yourself and what you can offer – why are you the best candidate for a role, and why should a recruiter or hiring manager reach out to you?
Your words are important in all of these – but so is the presentation. Your cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn must look professional and cohesive. Providing a good first impression is the beginning of the journey and your words are going to give off a lot more confidence if they look like you’ve taken the time to make your application into something eye-catching.
How you interview is also your key to a great job application. While being nervous is completely normal, you need to be able to still carry yourself well. When you’re nervous, and your confidence isn’t coming through, it can be easy to forget things, gloss over things and sell yourself short. You have too many great things to say and offer to let your nerves get in the way. Come prepared with your resume in front of you and talking points that you want to touch on, so you can appear confident even when you’re nervous.
When someone is hiring for a role – they need to believe that you’ll be able to carry out and accomplish what that role requires. If you come across as wavering, they might not be so sure either. It’s not necessarily about having done everything the job requires, but demonstrating that you’ll be able to catch on quickly and learn while you’re on the job. Working on improving your confidence will serve you well as your career journey continues.
There will always be moments that you question yourself and your value – but remember what you’ve already accomplished and what you are capable of doing as you move forward in your career.
Have more questions about how confidence and your career success are linked? Book a virtual career meeting with Style Nine to Five’s Founder, Christie Lohr. These meetings will help you gain clarity on your next steps, and learn how your cover letter, resume and LinkedIn profile can work together to achieve your career goals.
By Jenna Yeomans – Jenna is a marketing grad based in Hamilton, ON with a passion for storytelling, creativity and supporting small businesses.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock