This is “Prerequisite 1: Confidence”, section 2.2 from the book Job Searching in Six Steps (v. 1.0). For details on it (including licensing), click here.

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2.2 Prerequisite 1: Confidence

Learning Objectives

  1. Define confidence in the context of the job search.
  2. Learn different strategies to build confidence.

You Must Be Confident Your Job Search Will Be Successful

If you are waiting until you get a job as proof that you can get one, this prove it attitude will kill your search. You will appear negative and unattractive to employers. You will get derailed by the inevitable obstacles and drop out along your search. You may not even get started if you believe that your efforts will be futile.

Having confidence in your job search means two things:

  1. You believe you will get a job. You know with 100 percent certainty there is a job somewhere out there for you.
  2. You believe you will get a job you want. You have a positive attitude about working. You are excited at the prospect of doing the job you are targeting, in the industry you are targeting, and for the companies you are targeting.

You have to know you will be successful, and you have to want that success. If you have just one of these two things, this is not sufficient to project enough confidence in your job search. If you believe you will get a job, but don’t believe it will be something you want, you will appear anxious, frustrated, and full of dread. If you are excited about what you want to do, but don’t believe you will get a job doing it, you will appear as if you are not good enough for your prospective employers.

A confident job seeker is someone who is energized at the prospect of finding his or her dream job. A confident job seeker may not be an expert on résumés, interviews, or other job search tactics, but he or she has an innate knowledge that he or she will be able to figure those things out.

This is not arrogance. Prospective employers will shy away from arrogant job candidates who appear to be high-maintenance divas and poor team players. You don’t want to come across as someone who thinks you are better than your future boss or colleagues. Confidence is a healthy, positive attitude.

You Can Proactively Build Confidence into Your Job Search Strategy

Ideally, you have confidence before you start your job search. If confidence has been a struggle your whole life or if you feel overly depressed or anxious about your job search specifically, you should seek help from a guidance counselor, therapist, or other professional resource. You want to rule out any medical conditions, such as depression, as the root cause of your anxiety. If you have some nervousness, but not in a crippling way that keeps you from your job search, you can plan to proactively build and maintain your confidence throughout your job search by surrounding yourself with positive influences:

  • Pair up with a job search buddy. Pick someone with a can-do attitude, and agree to support each other during your search. Maybe you can meet once a week or call each other right before a big event (e.g., job interview or career fair).
  • Start a job search group. A larger group will have more energy than just one person. A group also has a range of personalities and perspectives that can contribute alternative points of view. A group will also have people at different stages of the search, enabling you all to see different outcomes unfolding.
  • Enlist the support of a coach or mentorA trusted source for advice and feedback.. A more experienced person can be a great sounding board for ideas and a champion for when you need a pick-me-up.
  • Read about successful people. When you see other people’s achievements over adversity, you are able to see your own potential.
  • Keep a journal that focuses on the positive. Write down things for which you are grateful. Write down past successes and wins. You will see that you have been successful in other areas, and this can give you the confidence that you can succeed in your job search as well.

Key Takeaways

  • Confident job seekers know they will get a job.
  • Confident job seekers are excited at the prospect of working and getting jobs they want.
  • You can build and maintain confidence by surrounding yourself with positive influences.

Exercises

  1. Are you confident your job search will succeed? If not, why not? Which of the suggestions for building confidence will you try?
  2. Make a list of people you know who have a positive attitude. Highlight people who might be a possible job search buddy, member of a job search group, coach, or mentor.
  3. Make a list of past successes and wins. It might be helpful to organize by blocks of time in your life, such as elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and so forth. These don’t have to be specific awards. You should include all instances where you felt proud of your accomplishment.
  4. Read a biography of a person you admire or a successful person in an industry in which you are interested. You might read a biography of Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America, if you are interested in education. You might read a biography of Warren Buffett if you are interested in investments.