I have had my fair share of career changes in my twenties so far. Of all my job changes over the years, I can honestly say each position made me question myself and my confidence at work has suffered.
Right out of college, I started working for a temp agency in the insurance field. After that, I landed a full-time position working in administration at a college. Thereafter, I decided to pursue a career in marketing at a real estate firm. Finally, I switched gears again and decided to work for a study abroad institution in their marketing department, which is where I currently work.
I’ve always been unsure of myself. Am I smart enough for this job? Do I have the necessary skills to be successful in this role? Have I earned enough experience to be good at this type of work? Do I have what it takes to be flexible, learn new things on the spot, and multi-task efficiently?
I asked myself all sorts of questions like these in each position I’ve had. In short, I questioned the confidence I had in myself and my professional abilities. It’s safe to say I have learned a thing or two about being confident in the workplace.
4 Ways To Find Confidence At Work When You’re Unsure of Yourself
Here are some ways I have learned to be more confident at work, and how you can too:
1. I did not let my resume define me.
I have had some odd jobs in my past, including working as a pizza maker at a convenience store and working as a receptionist at a massage clinic. These jobs I had before and during my college years certainly did not lead me to working in marketing today.
While I did not necessarily learn the exact skills I needed to get from my first job to my current career, I made sure to explain to hiring managers how I could be a good fit, even without having the necessary experience on my resume.
I explained my strong ability to work effectively under pressure. I outlined my skills in organization, providing exceptional customer service, communicating effectively with colleagues, and being able to juggle multiple projects at once efficiently.
Most employers don’t need you to have five years of direct experience in a certain field. However, they’ll want to see how you can use your soft and hard skills to translate into the job you’re interested in.
Pro-tip: don’t let your resume be what holds you back from the career you want. Apply for the job you desire without hesitation. Be confident in all of your strengths that you know will make you a competitive candidate for the job.
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2. I did the necessary work to be successful.
Sometimes you have to put in hours of research for a job you already have. You need to be current on all of the rules, regulations, laws, and policies in the field you’re working.
For example, when I earned my past job working for a real estate company, I had to get my real estate license. It was odd because I was already given the job in their marketing department and I had already started my role there, but my former employer had insisted I get my license.
Getting my real estate license made me more knowledgeable about the work I was doing, which in turn boosted my confidence in my field.
Pro-tip: take the time to conduct research or even take e-courses for your field. Even if your employer doesn’t require it, being up to date on all of the changes happening or news in your field will give you confidence at work because you’ll be armed with knowledge.
3. I took the initiative to learn new skills.
If you find that you have quite a bit of downtime at work, consider reaching out to your fellow colleagues and/or supervisor to see if you could take on more projects to widen your skill set.
For example, when I was working in administration at a college, I took on quite a few projects that were not originally part of my job description.
At first, it felt overwhelming because I did not know how to do much of the new work assigned to me, but in the long run it ended up teaching me a whole host of new skills. Moreover, taking on more work led to a merit raise and made me a more valuable employee to my team, which in turn boosted my confidence in the workplace.
Pro-tip: if it is within your workload, ask for more work to advance your skills and beef up your resume. You won’t regret the challenge!
4. I changed the way I spoke about and looked at my work.
Years ago, I was not overly proud of the work I was doing. I used to say things like, “oh, I’m just an Administrative Assistant” or, “yeah, I work in marketing but the company is not the right fit for me.”
The way I spoke about my work to my friends, family, and even my colleagues negatively affected the way I felt about my past jobs and the confidence I had in myself and the work I was producing.
Maybe it’s because I finally landed my current job at a company I believe in and a career I am passionate about, but I have since changed the way I speak about my job. Sure, there are tough days and sometimes I wonder if this is my forever role. But, who doesn’t? No one knows what the future holds.
What I can say is that I am confident in the work I am doing now, at the company I currently work for, and I keep the chitchat light and positive.
Talking to my colleagues about any gaps in my knowledge or skills I still lack does not have to lead to lack of confidence in my work — and it doesn’t! I speak freely about the things I still need to work on with my direct colleagues and supervisor.
To be frank, it empowers me to point out the areas where I need to improve. It shows me (and my team) that I am a work-in-progress and I have plenty of room to grow in this role to advance my skills. That in itself gives me confidence in my professional future!
Pro-tip: if you’re constantly fretting over what you don’t know, what you can’t do, or how far you are from where you want to be in the workplace, you’re not going to feel confident about your professional situation. Try to look at all the positives and handle the negatives in small chunks to keep it manageable. You’re probably worrying too much about things that will end up working themselves out. And if you really do feel like you’re struggling, reach out to your supervisor for guidance. Asking for help can actually give you confidence, too. Be assertive!
Finding confidence in the workplace is no simple feat. There are so many reasons for lacking confidence at work: maybe you’re new to the job and are still learning; perhaps you feel intimidated by the job; maybe you don’t feel like you fit into the team vibe; etc.
Whatever your situation is, know you’re not alone. We all go through ebbs and flows in feeling confident about our jobs. Do your best to isolate why you might lack confidence, and see how you can remedy the situation. If you find these tips helpful, let us know!