Job Search and Self Confidence

Being unemployed can certainly be a blow to your self-confidence. That doesn’t mean these feelings should get in the way of a successful job search.

The first step to feeling confident about your job search is to let go of any lingering bad thoughts from the past. If you left your last position under unfavorable circumstances, don’t let this get you down. You should certainly look to your past mistakes to avoid repeating them, but if you truly want to change, it’s possible. You’ll never find your next new job if you let a former unpleasant experience influence your view of yourself, though.
If you feel like you have lingering problems that will get in the way of successfully finding a job, consider visiting a job counselor, career center or job bank. You’ll find professionals who can give you an honest assessment of your skills and abilities. They can set you on the right track to improvement and confidence.
As you set out on your job search, consider taking a class or learning a new skill for a boost of confidence. Now, just learning something new is enough to make you feel intelligent and vital, but it’s even better if your new endeavor is relevant to the field in which you would like to work. That’s not to discount the personal growth that can come from simply becoming more educated, but the benefits are more obvious if you can take Japanese language classes and then find a job with a tech firm with offices in Japan. You’ll feel more confident, and you’ll also create another selling point for yourself as a potential employee.

1. Work on your conversational skills

Improving your conversational skills can help you feel more comfortable and confident in any social situation which will lead to larger confidence overall. If you practice maintaining eye contact and being a good listener, you will also give off a more confident aura and you can enjoy the benefits of being treated as a confident person.

Your resume is the first step to creating a confident image as it’s the first impression potential employers have of you. You have to have faith in your past education, experiences and accomplishments. While you must always be truthful in a resume, this is not the time to be modest. Bragging about yourself requires a certain about of confidence, but it’s essential to getting the job. Employers want to see specific results, like “increased sales 75%,” from your past positions. Your word choice is important when constructing your resume as small doubts can come to light as lackluster wording and passive verbs.

You also must be careful with your word choice in the cover letter. Self-confidence is essential in selecting the right words to create your best image. Don’t say that you “would like to be a part of [the company]” when you can say that you “are the perfect person for the job” because of your relevant experience. Avoid words that hedge, like think, seem and appear. Companies don’t want to hire someone who “thinks” he’s perfect for the job, they want the candidate who is perfect.

Of course, confidence is also the most valuable asset you can bring to an interview. One concrete thing you can do to increase your confidence before an interview is to prepare. If you’re in college, try to set up a mock interview through your career center, and if you’re already in the workforce, see if you can convince a friend with hiring experience to help you practice fielding questions. At the very least, find or create a list of common interview questions and think of potential answers and relevant examples from your experience.

2. Set goals

As with anything you want to achieve, building confidence will be easier if you set specific goals. Whether you want to be confident enough to be president of an organization or simply give a presentation at the next department meeting, you can then create an action plan for achieving this goal.

Once you arrive at your interview confident in your preparation, make sure your body language shows it. Don’t slouch or fidget, and make eye contact with your interviewers. Draw confidence from every little nod and sign of encouragement. If you find yourself giving the interviewers a mediocre answer or not having much to say in response to a question, don’t let it ruin the rest of the interview. Keep moving forward and do you best to make them forget your less-than-perfect answer.

3. Use positive imagery and self-talk

The road to self-confidence is primarily a mental exercise. Visualizing yourself as a confident person is one way to create a confident mentality. Positive affirmations are another way of building confidence. Tell yourself that you are a confident person and don’t give negative thoughts room to grow.

If you don’t get the job you interviewed for, don’t let it stop you from jumping right back into the job hunt. There are other jobs to be had, and your ideal position could be just around the corner. Look back on the positive aspects of the interview and the questions you thought you handled particularly well, and draw on them for confidence in the future.

4. Seek professional help

Motivational speakers make their living from helping people make the most of their lives, which often involves helping their listeners build confidence. If you can’t attend a seminar in person, many speakers also offer DVDs and CDs of their motivational performances. Numerous self-help books are also available that can lead you to helpful strategies for building confidence. Life coaches provide one-on-one help to assist customers in reaching their potential. If there are more deep-seated issues getting in the way of feeling confident, you may wish to look into counseling or psychiatric help. Depression and other illnesses can decimate your self-confidence, and simply thinking positive thoughts or attending a motivational talk aren’t enough to feel better.

5. Practice a confident attitude

You may have heard this sentiment expressed as, “fake it ’til you make it.” The truth is that you can gain confidence by acting like a confident person. Nobody needs to know that you’re cringing underneath your confident façade. Eventually you’ll no longer need to pretend. The success you experience from acting confident and the confident habits you’ve developed will lead to true confidence.

6. Try new things

New experiences can give you confidence by helping you grow as a person. You don’t have to take up skydiving or anything drastic like that. Starting a new hobby or taking a class is more likely to help you develop lasting skills anyway.

7. Be happy with yourself

Having an essentially positive attitude toward yourself is key to gaining confidence. You must be happy with the person you are, from your personality to your appearance, before you can truly be confident.

Gaining confidence requires hard work and dedication but it doesn’t have to be impossible if you take it one step at a time.

Whether you’re looking for your first job straight out of college or your fifteenth job, you’ll enjoy better job search results if you can approach the search with confidence.

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