The transition from college to the workplace is tough. You’re very much on your own now – at least it can feel that way. Searching for a job can be overwhelming, especially when you haven’t yet gained confidence in yourself. But confidence is the key to professional success.
Let’s address some of the fears you may be experiencing in your job search. Starting a new job is life-changing. With any great change comes anxiety, fear and uncertainty. So, naturally, there’s a lot of pressure to find the perfect job. Pressure comes from elsewhere as well. You’re still untested in the workplace; you aren’t sure how well you’ll do in the real world. It’s easy to doubt yourself.
And I don’t mean to neglect those of you who’ve been out of college for a while. Maybe you’ve decided to change careers or just lost your job. Maybe you’re moving and starting anew. These are anxiety-inducing situations that may cause flagging confidence. You, too, may doubt yourself.
But everyone feels this way – every sane person, anyway. It’s natural to feel anxious about starting a career, to question if you’re good enough. But it’s irrational. Think of the millions that have come before you – the millions with similar backgrounds, education and training – that have managed to start from the bottom and rise to the top. You’re just as good as them.
“But I’m not a robot,” you may say, “I still feel the way I do.” Fair enough. We’re only human, after all. We can’t help but feel the full gamut of emotions. But you can conquer the anxiety and fear you may be feeling about your job search. You can conquer it with confidence.
Empower Yourself Through Education
How do you build confidence? There are a number of ways. Start by educating yourself – you’ve taken the first step already by reading this. Education empowers people. There are a few things you’ll want to learn about.
Psychology: the study of the mind and behavior. Studying psychology helps you learn a little bit about your brain and why you feel the way you do. How will this help you find a job? You’ll be able to understand your emotions better, and this will allow you to better analyze yourself and recognize your talent. You don’t need to be a psych major to learn this stuff. There are plenty of articles that explain how learning about your brain benefits you in your personal and professional life.
Next, make sure to keep up on your field of interest. Any career path your on has countless websites, podcasts and videos that cover the latest news about the industry. And don’t neglect social media. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are full of professionals doing what you want to do.
Pretty quickly, you’ll find that you know a lot about your industry. Your knowledge will give you an advantage over the people applying to the same jobs you are. You’ll dazzle professionals already in the field with your smarts. You’ll feel pretty slick – pretty confident.
The internet is full of resources. Use them. I hope this article is only your first stop. Continually educate yourself throughout life; your education can’t stop after college if you want to be successful. If you study any titan of industry, you’ll find that they never stopped trying to learn more about their business. And who’s more confident than these titans?
Reach Out to Your Network
Perhaps you aren’t feeling so titanic yet. Maybe you’ve tried browsing the web’s resources and educating yourself but still lack confidence in your abilities. Then try a different resource: your network.
Not sure who to contact? Look over your connections on social media. You might see an old friend or coworker you haven’t spoken to in a while. Don’t be afraid to send people a message online. Most people, even if you don’t know them that well, are willing to respond and help. All you have to do is ask.
That said, you’d probably be surprised by how large your network already is. Don’t forget about your family and the friends you have now. They’re all in your network, and they all care about you. They probably felt the same way you do now when they were first launching their careers. In the case of your friends, they could be in the same boat as you.
Reach out to these people. They’ll give you access to their networks. And discuss how you feel with your friends; they need you as you need them. They have networks, too. Access to your network’s networks will be helpful, but it isn’t the main confidence-builder you’ll get from reaching out. The main benefit you’ll get is the comfort of knowing you aren’t alone. What a relief it is to learn about our common experiences.
Here Are Some Goals to Boost Your Confidence
But let’s not lose focus. What are some practical goals you can set for yourself to start building confidence?
1. Subscribe to one relevant blog or podcast. Consume its content each week. This is an easy first goal. It relates to building confidence through education. Most blogs and podcasts are easy to consume, short and updated frequently. Your knowledge of your industry will empower you. You’ll be able to talk shop with others in your field.
2. Talk with one person in your network about your job search. Talk with someone you haven’t spoken with yet on this subject. You’ll probably glean new insights from your conversation. Do this every week. This will help you feel comfortable with reaching out to people, which is an important skill for your job search.
3. Start Applying! Maybe you’ve been browsing the job boards, and you’ve seen a position that piques your interest, but you don’t apply for it because you don’t think you’re qualified. For example, a lot of companies ask for prior experience, even if it’s an entry-level job. Don’t be scared off by what employers want. If a job interests you, apply for it. Apply to one of these “reach jobs” once a week.
Get Started! Be Confident!
These goals will jump-start your job search and make you more confident. Remember, though, they’re a place to start, not a shortcut to finding the perfect job. But they are certainly helpful and should shore up your confidence. Hopefully they encourage you to take further action.
And with that, you are ready to get started toward building more confidence and finding a job. Educate and reach out. Set out to accomplish the three goals I’ve laid out for you. If you need additional resources, check out BD-PRo’s blog. It’s helped me out a lot. And, please, don’t be afraid to leave any questions you may have for me or the BD-PRo team.
You may not feel confident now, but you have the ability to change that. Know that you’re competent, and confidence will come.