You know that confident guy or gal who always seems to be at ease, who always gets the job or promotion, and who does great in every meeting and on every presentation?
You can be that person. All it takes is a little practice and a knowledge of do’s and don’ts that can help you appear and feel confident in yourself.
First, we will examine common reasons why resumes are rejected or job interviews don’t go as planned. You can work to avoid these while also considering the tips on how to improve your self-confidence that follow.
Avoid Bad Impressions
It might be unfair, but we usually only have one chance to make a good first impression. When you’re applying for a job, your resume does this in part, and you conclude your employer’s impression of you at the job interview.
There are a few things you should never do on your resume or at a job interview. Don’t lie about your qualifications; even if you get hired, your mendacity will become apparent. Don’t speak negatively about your former employer or workmates; this sends up a red flag that you may be lacking in interpersonal skills.
You should also dress appropriately and prepare well. We’ll discuss these in the following sections.
Dress for the Job You Want—Not the One You Have
It’s important to dress to impress when going to a job interview. What does this mean, exactly? First, let’s consider what it doesn’t mean. You don’t need expensive clothes, and you should never dress in a sexually provocative manner.
Instead, determine what professional attire might be expected at the company. Even if they have a relaxed company culture, be careful not to under dress. Make sure your clothing is clean, wrinkle-free, and not sloppy. Think, not just about the position you’re going for, but about where you might be in a few years. How might someone in upper management be expected to dress?
When in doubt, slacks and button-down shirts work for both men and women.
What if your interview is conducted remotely by video conference? Still give attention to your appearance—not just yours, but to your background as well. Choose an area with good lighting and make sure the room is clean and free of distractions.
Choosing appropriate attire goes beyond the job interview as well. Whether you’re a new hire or a long-time employee seeking advancement, dressing professionally will help others view you as such.
Practice and Prepare
It’s been said that practice makes perfect, and that is true from the job application to advancement within your company.
If you’re on a job search, have you updated your resume? You should update your resume at least once a year even when happily employed. If you’re currently applying to multiple positions, carefully research each one and adapt your resume to the needs of the position and the company culture.
Next, practice for your job interview. Get to know the company by reading its website and/or conversing with current or former employees. Think about how you would answer common interview questions such as, “Why are you interested in this position? Why do you think you’re a good fit for this company?”
Make good preparation a habit. Once you’ve secured a job, read any employee manuals you are given. Keep up with relevant developments communicated via email, meetings, Slack, or however your company chooses to collaborate.
Prepare well for the presentations you must give. Don’t wait until the last minute to assemble presentation materials or to compose what you plan to say. Practice your presentation out loud.
The tips discussed above were designed to both make you feel more confident and to impress your employer with your poise. Your skills can be similarly leveraged.
Never stop learning. Seek out employer-sponsored training. Take online classes, attend conferences and seminars, and work on personal projects. Include certifications and relevant experience on your resume and LinkedIn profile. When you increase your skills, you will feel more confident in your abilities, and so will your boss.
Celebrate Your Wins
If you’ve employed any of these tips, you’ve worked hard to boost your confidence. But in this flurry of activity, don’t forget to celebrate your wins, even the small ones.
The celebration can be tangible, like a cake or going out with friends. But it can be as simple as taking a few moments of silent contemplation. Consider keeping a success journal. Write a brief note about every accomplishment, personal or professional. When you need to brace your self-confidence, flip through your journal to remind yourself of how far you’ve come and the amazing things you’re capable of.
There are simple, concrete steps you can take to improve your confidence in yourself as well as your employer’s confidence in you. Prepare well, dress appropriately, improve your skills, and celebrate your wins. You’ll be feeling more confident in no time.