How Confident Are You?


Your confidence level can affect your career, especially when you are in job search mode. Employers want the complete package. They want a skilled, knowledgeable candidate with the appropriate level of experience and education. Cultural fit is important for many positions, especially managerial roles. Then there is the issue of confidence. When working with a new client I can make a strong prediction as to which clients will have a successful job search. One of my biggest indicators is the client’s confidence level.

Confidence matters.

It’s difficult to fake confidence and when someone detects your confidence deficiency, it causes doubt. I’ll share an example. A couple of years ago I visited a new eye doctor. He had graduated from an impressive school, the office was well organized, and he had the latest diagnostic technologies. The tests with his technician were fine. Then I had the physical exam with the doctor. He was very nervous and seemed unsure when he spoke. Immediately I became uncomfortable. When it was time for a follow-up visit, I saw a different doctor. She was very self-assured. I was relaxed and trusted her advice. Both were new doctors and well educated. However, they were miles apart when it came to confidence! Guess who I never saw again?

Confidence and your job search.

The same applies in your job search. Your resume, LinkedIn profile, and most of all your interview, reveal your level of confidence. Presenting your qualifications for potential employers (or clients) to evaluate is what is expected in a job search. If your default is to downplay your accomplishments and wait for others to promote you, it is time for a confidence check.

Signs you are lacking in career confidence might be:

> When working with a resume writer, you find yourself resisting any claim of expertise. “I am not sure I can really say that I am a good trainer. I have only trained new employees. I don’t think I could train experienced workers.” “I completed the project, but my manager helped me a lot, so I can’t really put that on my resume.” Or the classic, “I have done that for twelve years but am I really an expert?”

> Your LinkedIn profile or resume is full of basic functions, but few accomplishments.

> You have interviewed many times for positions for which you are qualified, but you are not called back for a second interview.

> You find yourself asking other people to validate your skills and capability before you apply for a job. “Do you really think I could be a manager?”

How can you increase your self-confidence?

There are countless articles, books, and even coffee mugs with advice about gaining confidence by simply believing in yourself. If that were true, I want to start selling those mugs! It takes more than a cute phrase on a mug. Full disclaimer here: I am not a doctor, psychologist, or mental health counselor of any kind and don’t share that type of advice. However, I have been working with job seekers for twenty years and have noticed trends among confident and underconfident job seekers. An outside person can’t convince you that you are skilled. Confidence springs from the inner knowledge that you are capable. The resume writing and interview preparation process can help build confidence because you will be gathering examples of your accomplishments. These accomplishments are concrete examples of your capabilities. If you can't accept or own your accomplishments and you find that low confidence is a personal issue that you want to tackle, consider talking to a licensed counselor.

Tips for career confidence.

> Keep a journal of your accomplishments. You might forget details and measured results, so record those things as they happen so you can use them later for your resume and interview talking points.

> Acknowledge others when they have achievements. Resentment and jealousy can undermine your confidence.

> Accept a compliment by saying, “thank you!” Too many times people reject compliments by making excuses for why they don’t deserve credit. Taking the compliment enhances your brand as a confident professional.

> Always be aware of how you are projecting yourself. Are you a problem solver and force for positivity in your office? Or, are you the dark cloud? Your approach can affect your confidence and your brand.

> Set measurable goals. Define the steps to get there and get started. Accomplishing things in and outside of your career are confidence boosters.

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