Written by Emily Lemaire, LLB Law graduate from King’s College London and Communications Assistant at King’s Careers & Employability
Self-confidence [,sɛlfˈkɒnfɪd(ə)ns/] noun: a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgment.
How does self-confidence affect your career? Put simply: a lack of self-confidence can hinder your ability to obtain opportunities and lead you to make career choices you do not necessarily want. Self-confidence informs each decision and act you take towards your career, and many employers actively look out for some degree of confidence in their candidates. We’re not talking about cockiness here, but rather the ability for an individual to back themselves and the skills they have to offer.
There is no doubt that you’ve heard this saying before: often, you are your worst enemy. Being negative about your achievements and skills can be a vicious cycle. Of course, it is perfectly normal to have wobbles here and there – you’re only human! Maybe you’ve received a rejection from a summer role you were really keen on and you’re now feeling low, or having a hard time to muster the confidence to go into your next interview. We’ve all been there at some point: it is natural to feel like this but we want you to know how to pick yourself up and present the best, most confident version of yourself even when the wobbles strike.
So, here are 4 ways you can increase your self-confidence:
Take a few moments to look over what you’ve done in the last few months, year or even the duration of your degree so far. What better way is there to give your self-confidence a helping hand than by recognising what you’ve achieved? Notice the developments you made and the times you tackled challenges thrown your way. This could include finally securing that work experience placement you wanted, winning a university competition or simply putting yourself forward to be a committee member of a student society. Everything counts – from tasks and skills you’ve gained while doing your coursework, to your part-time job at a retail store or volunteer activities you take part in each month.
By reflecting in this way, you necessarily recognise your accomplishments AND your strengths, many of which are transferrable to skills valued by employers. At the same time, you might be able to identify areas where you have weaknesses. Here’s a trick: rather than beating yourself up about your weakness – whether it be interview skills, public speaking, and so on – make a plan on how to improve that skill. We guarantee that thinking in this way will be more effective than being hard on yourself.
- Be open to opportunities
It can be easy to shy away from activities that are unfamiliar and therefore scary. Every so often, challenge yourself to see these as opportunities rather than extra burdens. For example… say ‘yes’ to that networking event you didn’t want to attend alone – who knows, you might meet someone who will offer you amazing advice for your future! It’s about changing your mindset, being open to opportunities, and even seeking them out. The more you stretch out your comfort zone, the more confident you become in yourself.
- Stop the comparison game
“Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt.
We totally agree! Whether you’re feeling confident or not, the worst thing you can do for yourself is to compare your marks, career or skills to another person’s. Remember that everyone goes through their own challenges – what you’re seeing in another person’s situation is likely only the positives, whereas you know the ins and outs of the difficulties you’ve faced. Instead of comparing yourself to someone else: focus on your own career journey – no one else’s matters as much!
- Talk to someone
When all else fails – or even before that – share your worries with someone else:
- Talk to other students in your course – chances are they are going through the same difficulties as you.
- If you want more guidance, why not meet with your personal tutor? While they may have gone down a different career path than you aspire to, they will still have many years of experience and with that, advice to give.
- Alternatively, for an unbiased view of your situation, book an appointment with a Careers Consultant. They will be able to listen to your worries and point you in the right direction. To make an appointment, head to King’s Career Connect.