It doesn’t matter what industry you choose to work in, building a successful career can feel overwhelming at times. If you struggle to speak up at work or you’re reluctant to put yourself forward for projects and promotions, you might be lacking in career confidence. Similarly, if you worry about your performance or your capabilities as you climb the career ladder, ‘Imposter Syndrome’ might be limiting your enjoyment of your success.
Even if you feel confident in other areas of your life, it’s not uncommon to feel unsure or even out of your depth when it comes to professional matters. However, you needn’t feel this way forever. With these eight top tips you can develop career confidence and begin to truly enjoy your professional success:
1. Find a Job You Love
If you’re stuck in a job you hate, you’re unlikely to have many positive feelings about it! As well as affecting your quality of life, these can fuel feelings of discontent and low self-esteem too. You might believe that you haven’t achieved your potential, for example, or that you’re missing out on the opportunities you deserve.
In contrast, finding a role you enjoy can transform the way you feel about work and yourself. Not only will you be rightly proud of yourself for finding your niche, but you’ll also feel motivated to consistently expand your skillset and hone your performance.
Even if you can’t transfer directly into a job you love, you can take steps to move towards your preferred industry or role. By doing so, you’ll feel happier, more confident and infinitely more fulfilled.
2. Obtain Advanced Qualifications
Developing your skills is one way to increase your career confidence and obtaining advanced qualifications will certainly boost your self-esteem. When you study a subject or niche area that’s linked to your future career aspirations, you can ensure that you’re prepared for upcoming promotions and job opportunities.
If you’re building a career in marketing, for example, an online Master’s in digital marketing from Emerson College will give you the advanced skillset and knowledge you need. What’s more – an emphasis on data analytics ensures you’ll be at the cutting edge of the industry and able to navigate whatever the future holds for your sector.
Advanced qualifications give you an edge when you’re applying for new roles, as they can help you to stand out from the crowd and outperform other candidates. However, they also change the way that other people view you, which means you may notice that your opinion holds more sway in the workplace. Most importantly, the confidence boost you’ll gain by obtaining a master’s degree will change the way you see yourself in a professional capacity and enhance your self-esteem.
3. Plan Your Future
If you’re not clear about what your future holds, it can leave you feeling hesitant and unanchored. Similarly, you might lack motivation or feel underconfident if you aren’t sure where you’re headed next. To combat this, you’ll need a long-term plan that enables you to fulfil your goals. Of course, you’ll need to identify exactly what your professional objectives before you get started!
Don’t simply aspire to a particular role because your peers do, or assume that taking on more responsibility equates to professional success. Instead, spend time thinking about what you really want to get out of your career.
Once you know what your goals are, you can create a comprehensive strategy to help you achieve them. It might take months or years to reach your ultimate objective but don’t let this dissuade you. By setting yourself smaller targets, you can keep yourself on track and feel your confidence grow as you consistently achieve them.
4. Know Your Weaknesses
Everyone has weaknesses but not everyone is able to admit to them. However, identifying your weaknesses actually proves that you have the confidence to assess yourself objectively. Furthermore, it tells you exactly where you need to make improvements if you want to increase your confidence and feel more capable.
Asking for feedback from your supervisors can be an effective way to help you identify what your weaknesses are. However, you may already know which areas you want to work on. If you detest public speaking, for example, this might be a skill you want to improve upon so that you can feel more confident in the workplace.
Having weaknesses isn’t something to be ashamed about, but knowing what they are and how to work on them can transform your professional success and make you feel more confident than ever before.
5. Know Your Strengths
If you thought dealing with your weaknesses was tricky, now you’ve got to tackle your strengths! When people are underconfident, they’re often self-deprecating or struggle to see how talented they are. If this applies to, you might find it hard to acknowledge your strengths or even realize you have them.
To remind yourself of how talented you really are, make a note of all your strengths, particularly those that related to your career. Are you a hard worker, approachable in the workplace or a team player? Perhaps you’re a great listener, a problem solver or you have a keen eye for detail? These are strengths that are highly valued in the workplace, so don’t overlook them.
Keeping a personal record of your professional successes and using feedback from your employers to collate a list of your achievements can help you to realize just how talented you are and how many strengths you have. When you feel your confidence ebbing, take a look at your ready-made list for a burst of inspiration and self-esteem.
6. Take Part in Extracurricular Activities
Performing well at work isn’t solely about how you act in the office. If your workplace has regular social events, be sure to take part in as many as you can. Getting to know your colleagues outside of work gives you an opportunity to make connections and increase your confidence. Team-building activities or days are a great way to do this, so make sure you sign up when events are announced. If your workplace doesn’t already have a social calendar, why not suggest implementing one? Or, better yet, take ownership of the project and begin arranging events for your colleagues.
As many businesses now operate with distributed workforces, it might not be possible to meet up with colleagues face-to-face. However, this needn’t prevent you from building strong teams by taking part in virtual team-building events. There are a variety of companies that offer bespoke virtual services, but you can supplement these with regular informal ‘virtual catch-ups’ too.
7. Hone Your Leadership Skills
Being given more responsibility often signifies your rise up the corporate ladder, so honing your leadership skills can be a good way to prepare for future promotions. Knowing how to manage a team or an entire department will make you a great candidate when employers are looking for people to promote but being able to lead and inspire people will also do wonders for your confidence.
There are many attributes that fall under the umbrella of leadership skills but some of the most important ones include:
- Active listening
- Written and oral communication
- Conflict Resolution
You can work on your leadership skills alone but be sure to do so strategically. Alternatively, you might find it easier to take part in workshops or courses that are designed to help you become a more effective leader.
8. Focus on Out-of-Work Pursuits
When you lack career confidence, it can often affect your personal life too. You might find yourself worrying about work over the weekends or working excessive hours to try and ‘keep up’ with colleagues. Unfortunately, this approach can wreak havoc on your self-esteem and may even lead to executive burnout.
Due to this, it’s important to balance your personal and professional life so that you’re not hyper-focused on your career. By maintaining an interest in other pursuits, you can ensure that your life is well-balanced.
Seeing friends and family, attending social events, playing sports or dedicating time to whatever hobbies you choose will help you to prioritize your personal life and give you the freedom to focus on other areas of your life that you enjoy. By optimizing your overall happiness, you can enhance how you feel about your career too and let your positivity and confidence lend itself to your professional life.
Becoming Your Own Cheerleader
It isn’t always easy to engage in self-promotion, particularly if you’re wary of sounding vain or conceited. While no-one wants to come across as smug or superior, there are ways to be confident without being condescending. By learning the art of successful self-promotion, you can use this technique to get the recognition you deserve in the workplace.
What’s more – it will force you to recognize your own talents, capabilities and skills as well, which will boost your self-esteem and give you the career confidence you need to be successful in your chosen profession.