I recently received some strange, blunt, yet very helpful career advice.
I was in the process of redesigning a company’s logo and sent an e-mail to my boss with five different drafts. Instead of commenting on the drafts, my boss commented on my work style: “Are you confident in your work?” He explained that by sending over so many drafts, I appeared to be unsure of my work. He would have rather had me exercise my knowledge and best judgment, take creative liberty, make a decision, and send over one or two drafts.
While other employers may not agree with my boss completely, his advice about the importance of confidence makes sense. If employers can sense that you’re not confident in your work, then they will be wondering why they should be confident in you. Confidence is among one of the most important soft skills a job seeker can have. Employers gravitate toward job seekers that can produce their work with certainty and only ask for help when they truly need it. Non-confident employees, on the contrary, require a lot of supervision and repeated feedback. (Sounds like a lot of baby-sitting to me.)
Lucky for us job seekers, becoming more confident in the workplace is a soft skill that we can actively work on. Check out these tips:
- Stop comparing. There will always be someone “better” than you, which can often leave you feeling not good enough. But considering others’ skill sets is completely irrelevant to you improving your own professional abilities. Instead, just focus on yourself and capitalizing on your own strengths.
- Know your opinions and voice them. Have you ever completely disagreed with your boss’s opinion but said that you agree anyways? By doing so, you’re essentially telling yourself that your opinion is not good enough to be voiced and that it doesn’t matter. Practice forming your own thoughts and opinions. They don’t have to be “right” or perfect. They don’t even have to be complete ideas yet! But just the act of sharing these things out loud will empower you to be a more confident individual.
- It’s okay to make mistakes. We’ve all been taught since kindergarten that everyone makes mistakes and that we shouldn’t be ashamed of them. But think about how many people actively try to cover up their mistakes in the workplace. To improve your self-esteem and confidence, try owning up to them instead. By doing so, you’re accepting yourself as an imperfect person instead of living in fear of people knowing about your imperfections.
- Fake it ‘til you make it’. Pretend to be confident until you are genuinely confident. If you practice thinking confident thoughts, making confident actions, and believing in yourself, you will eventually come to believe this façade of confidence.
If you really want to impress an employer, utilize these tips in creating a video resume. Showcase your confidence and let employers see that you won’t be an employee that needs babysitting.