Building your courage and increasing your self-confidence is an important topic and something everyone can benefit from, not just job seekers. But, there is no doubt that searching for a new job requires a high level of confidence, resilience, and yes, even courage.
It is not uncommon for job seekers to face many “nos” and rejections before they finally land a job. Often, you’ll send out a resume only to hear crickets in return. Is it you? Do you lack something? How do you stack up to your competition? The doubts will creep up, but you still need to muster the confidence and courage to continue with your search. You’ll need to put yourself out there repeatedly, even when it is uncomfortable and you find your self-confidence flagging.
If this sounds familiar, these job search confidence hacks will help. The end goal is for you to have a bag of tools to help you continue to become more confident, and hopefully to give you a boost of courage and self-confidence.
1) Start By Looking Back To See How Far You’ve Come
Realizing how far you’ve come and how much you can actually accomplish when you put your mind to it, is always a HUGE confidence booster and our first recommended job search confidence hack. As a job seeker, looking back on your past wins is especially helpful as it will give you material to write about in your resume and talk about in interviews. Even if you have lost your job and are unemployed, you can look back on your past accomplishments. You might look back 5 or 10 years if you have been working for some time, or even just a few months if you have only recently entered the workforce. You’ve probably done something over the past few days, weeks, months, or years that you can be proud of. If you are like most people, these successes fade quickly in your memory and you don’t think of them often. It’s time to change your perspective and focus on the wins and how far you’ve come already.
The simplest way to make sure you see and notice what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come is to get in the habit of spending a few minutes either in the morning or right before bed for reflection and gratitude.
When you wake up in the morning, before you jump out of bed, while you’re drinking that first cup of coffee, or during your quiet time in the evening, think about what you’ve accomplished and what you’re grateful for. Consider not just what happened TODAY, but also think about past accomplishments. Make it a daily habit and watch your confidence grow.
This is a great time to give journaling a try. Spend a few minutes each day writing down your wins. The act alone will help you feel more confident and whenever you need an extra boost of confidence read through your past entries.
2) Pick Something You Are Scared of and Do It Anyway
As the second job search confidence hack, pick something you’re scared of (or worried about, or putting off because you’re not sure you can do it) and do it anyway. I challenge you to start doing this today and then continue it as often as possible. Going forward, you should be doing something that scares you several times per week.
Obviously what you pick to do will be very individual and different from person to person. That being said, it helps to look at some ideas to get started.
Maybe you thought it had to be a big scary thing that I’m asking you to do and by looking through the examples below you realize that it can be something much smaller that you can actually see yourself doing. Maybe you like the idea of doing something you’re scared of, but can’t think of a single thing you could do today. The list of ideas may spark a thought for something unique to you that you can do.
– Pick up the phone and call a leader in the industry you want to work in, and ask to schedule a 15-minute informational interview
– Spend an hour with a friend and practice answering tough interview questions
– Call a colleague you haven’t talked with for 5 years, just to catch up
– Ask your boss for a raise
– Go introduce yourself to the new vice president in your company
– Reach out to an old boss and ask for a written reference
You get the idea. Hopefully this inspires you to make your own list. Now, go make it a habit to regularly do things that scare you a little. When you make yourself do them, and work through that fear or resistance, you’ll come out stronger and more confident on the other side. Doing what you’re scared of is a great courage building habit, plus it will help you reach your career and job search goals even faster.
Here is a job search confidence hack that will take you only a few minutes to implement. A power pose is a particular way to stand or sit that gives you an instant boost in confidence and courage. Research done on power poses even suggests that your body language or the pose you strike influences your hormones.
You can strike these poses standing up or sitting down, and use them anytime you need that little extra confidence boost. The easiest power pose is the “Wonder Woman”. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips. Look at a picture of Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman and you will understand why this pose is nicknames as it is.
When you’re at your desk, lean back in your chair, put your hands behind your head, and put your feet up on your desk for another strong power pose. If you don’t want your feet on your desk or are in an environment where that isn’t possible, lean back in your chair, keep your knees apart and rest your arm on the back of the chair or put it behind your head.
Simply standing up tall, or standing at the table during a meeting with your hands on the table, leaning in slightly can have a big impact. The most important thing is to not hunch over and don’t cross your arms in front of your body.
You can strike these power poses whenever you need to. It’s a good habit to spend two minutes in the morning before you get your day started doing your favorite power pose. This will set a confident tone for the rest of your day. Strike a pose throughout the day any time you feel less than confident. For example, you might do this before a job interview or before a networking meeting. You can do these poses just about anywhere for a quick confidence boost break. Head to the bathroom if you feel silly standing like a superhero in the middle of the room.
4) Write Those Job Search Goals Down and Check Them Off
Think about what you want to get done today. Maybe this includes making a job search plan for the week, spending an hour calling network contacts, or updating your resume. Maybe it’s sending out a job application. Maybe it’s following up on the job application you sent last week. It doesn’t matter how large or small, write those goals down on a small notepad that you can carry with you or leave at your desk or kitchen counter. Then, as you accomplish each small goal, check it off. You can put a check mark next to it or cross it out. Try them both and see which one feels better.
It’s very satisfying to check items off your job search goals or to-do list. Each time you check something off, you get a mini boost of job search confidence that will help motivate you to tackle the next task, and the next one. Mix and match goals or tasks that are very easy to accomplish, and those that take a little longer or require a little more will power on your part.
Play around with how much you put on your list to check off. If you find yourself overwhelmed with too many tasks and goals, limit it to no more than five things. If you find that you can’t possibly make it through your entire list and that not finishing gets you down, make sure you add no more than what you can comfortably finish. If on the other hand having quite a few extra items on that list motivates you to see how much you can check off before bedtime, load up that goals list. Make it work for you and see what system gives you the biggest boost in confidence and courage.
5) Do What You Are Good At and What Makes You Happy on a Regular Basis
We all have things we want to do and look forward to as well as those things we dread doing. Helping your middle-schooler on her science project may be something you enjoy, while cleaning the toilet doesn’t make that list. While it would be fun to only do the things we enjoy, that isn’t feasible. What we can do, is use the things we’re good at, the things we enjoy doing, and the things that make us happy to boost our confidence so we have the energy and will-power to do the things we don’t like as much, but that also need to get done.
It’s draining when everything we need to do each day are things we don’t enjoy. Our entire attitude is negative and it feels like an uphill battle. We feel defeated from step one. We’ve all had those days, or even times in our lives and it’s not a good feeling. Job searching often ranks among those less enjoyable tasks. It’s important to make sure you do something regularly that you’re good at, take pride in, and that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be your favorite activity on a daily basis, but it should be something that you can do without too much effort.
For example, you may be good at putting together reports and compiling complicated data into an easy to read and digest format. It may not be your favorite thing in the world to do, but it’s something you know you’re good at. That can be a good daily task that will give you a boost in confidence.
Having a favorite hobby and making time to do that is another great option. Maybe you take a lot of pride in your garden, or love the feeling of finishing a woodworking or family history research project. If that gives you a boost of confidence and makes you happy, carve out some time for it regularly. Maybe you can work on your project for a half an hour before bedtime, or maybe you dedicate an afternoon to it on the weekend.
It’s important to incorporate these tasks and activities because they give you the energy and drive to tackle the job search stuff you dread (like cold-calling that employer you’ve been wanting to connect with). Start by thinking about what you’re either good at, or what you really love to do. Write it down so you have a short list of activities to work from that will boost your confidence on a regular basis. From there it’s simply a matter of making sure you incorporate at least one of them each day. Get in the habit of doing that and you’ll quickly start to notice a measurable improvement in your attitude and self-confidence. Use that positive energy to carry you through the job search tasks you don’t enjoy as much.
6) The Power of Being Prepared
We all have times when we don’t feel confident or are worried about what we’re supposed be doing. Often the reason for the worry is that we’re not certain what we should be doing. For example, when you first find yourself unemployed for the first time in a decade it’s hard to feel confident, particularly if you don’t know much about what you need to do next. The same goes for other new or unusual tasks as well. The less we prepared we are, the harder it becomes to feel confident. The solution is simple. Be prepared.
Do what you can to be prepared for the situation. The action of preparing will make you feel more confident. Of course the new knowledge you learn and the skills you’re acquiring while you’re preparing doesn’t hurt either.
Start by learning more about the job market and what you will need to do to land a new job. Talk to a person you know who is responsible for hiring in their job, chat with past colleagues, book an hour or two with a job search coach.
You can do this same “initial information gathering” in any other situation where being more prepared will be helpful. If you’re going for an interview, read about the company online, check recent news reports, check your LinkedIn connections and see if you know anyone who could provide information about the company. If you’re getting ready to update your resume contact a professional resume writer and inquire about current standards. You get the idea.
Another good way to look at this is to figure out what you don’t know yet. Once you have that information, it becomes easier to determine what you need to learn, and then start studying and gaining experience. The fear of the unknown is much greater than when we sit down and figure out what we don’t know precisely. Once you know what you don’t know, you can start to take action and that’s always one of the best confidence boosters.
Give it a try the next time you’re in a situation where you don’t know what to do. Instead of letting fear and worry take over, take charge by figuring out what’s expected of you and start learning as much as you can about it.
7) Make Yourself a Promise and Keep It
This job search confidence hack is simple. Make yourself a promise and then make sure you keep it. That’s it. If it sounds simple, it’s because it is. But like some of the other hacks I’ve shared with you already, it’s more powerful than you may think.
By making yourself a promise, you’ll accomplish several things. The first is that you define what you need to do. You can’t make a promise if you don’t know what you’re promising. The second is that you are committing yourself to taking action. To keep the promise, you have to do something. Which brings us to the last part of the hack. You have to make sure that you keep the promise you made yourself. By getting in the habit of doing that, you won’t let yourself make up excuses or put things off. Start right now by making yourself the promise to give this a serious try. I want you to promise yourself that you will keep the promises you make to yourself. It’s an important part of this hack and what will help build your self-confidence.
Think of it this way. Who do you feel is more reliable and who are you more confident in? The person that makes big promises, but doesn’t always keep them, or the one that will keep his promise no matter what when he’s given his word? It’s the second one. It’s no different when you’re dealing with yourself. With this one little commitment and shift in thinking you can greatly boost your confidence in yourself. Best of all, each time you keep another promise to yourself, you’re reinforcing that confidence.
There you have it! Seven job search confidence hacks that will help you build your self-confidence and courage to conduct a successful job search. Remember, confidence is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. And, that’s why I encourage you to put the hacks in this article to use today. The sooner you do, the faster you will find your self-confidence growing and the faster you will land that next job.