Firstly, what do we mean by ‘career confidence’? The word confidence refers to a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something. So when applied specifically to your career, we’re talking about a belief in your ability to succeed in your career, whether that be related to career planning, networking, job searching, getting promoted or succeeding at interviews.
What’s really interesting is that research shows that confidence can have a bigger impact on a person’s success in the workplace than competence. Being sure of yourself, your abilities, and how your job fits in to your long-term career plan can positively influence the quality of your work and how you approach workplace challenges.
Career confidence is clearly important, especially for those at the beginning of their career journey where tasks are largely concerned with exploring career ideas, making key decisions about which path to choose and promoting oneself to potential employers. The good news, however, is that career confidence can be developed. Just like going to the gym regularly can help you develop your muscles and grow stronger, there are a few top tricks that can help ‘strengthen’ your career confidence, and I want to share them with you in this post.
1) Know yourself
This may sound obvious, but a great way to develop career confidence is to have a good understanding of yourself, including your skills, strengths, values and interests. Armed with this knowledge you’ll be able seek out relevant opportunities and have confidence when talking to people and employers about the areas of work you’re interested in.
2) Be yourself
The second tip is definitely not as easy as it sounds. Once you’ve worked out where your strengths lie and what your key areas of interest are, you need to trust and have confidence in yourself. It’s very easy, particularly early in your career, to be swayed by what other people are doing or what other people think you should do. Although you may wish that someone else could tell you what you should do, if you let anyone else choose your career path I guarantee it won’t lead to the best outcome for you.
3) Take action
You may want to have your perfect career all mapped out before you take any action, however this is a sure-fire way to never getting started! Stop procrastinating and decide what would be a good next step to take and go for it. Each step will give you an opportunity to become clearer (and more confident!) about what you do and don’t want in your career.
4) Be open to opportunities
Closely linked to the previous point, it’s really important to remain open and have the confidence to explore new opportunities that may arise. It’s great to have an idea of what you want in a career, but don’t be shut off to new potential avenues. Speak to people, learn as you go and don’t be afraid to say ‘yes’ to something that you hadn’t considered previously…who knows where it may lead!
5) Challenge yourself
Another great tip for increasing your career confidence is to branch out of your comfort zone and set yourself tasks that you would find challenging. For example, you may decide to contact 3 people who work in the industry you’d like to find out more about, or you might get in touch with a company about a job you’ve seen advertised. The act of setting and completing these mini-challenges will have a positive impact on your motivation and confidence levels, leading you to set more challenges and take more action…all good for you and your career!
6) Boost your knowledge
The penultimate tip for increasing your career confidence is to identify any relevant skills you could develop or knowledge gaps you could plug. Particularly if there is anything acting as a barrier preventing you from leading the career you want. For example, if you lack confidence in interview situations or want to improve your Microsoft Excel skills then consider ways in which you could develop these skills and take action.
7) Ask for help
Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask others for help. You’re never going to have all the answers and we can all benefit and learn so much from others. If you know someone has just been successful in an interview, ask them for any advice they may have. If you want help exploring your career options then that’s what people like myself are here for! Trying to work out all the answers yourself can be frustrating and unproductive. Most people love to give advice if asked so put your explorer hat on and get out there…what’s the worst that could happen??
I hope you’ve found my tips useful – career confidence can have a huge impact on your career thinking and action so take this advice on board and start flexing those confidence muscles. I’d love to hear your thoughts and would welcome any further nuggets of advice you have for boosting career confidence!