When we take the plunge and decide to make a change in our career, we may already be feeling vulnerable. It might be that we didn’t get along with our colleagues in our previous job, we weren’t earning enough money, or we weren’t achieving our goals. Whatever the reason, many of these contributing factors can weaken our confidence and negatively impact on our mental wellbeing. So, before we even begin to apply for our dream job, we may have low self-esteem and be feeling like we’re on the back foot.
To move forwards with confidence, it’s important to start feeling more positive about ourselves and have belief in our capabilities. Remember, the employer has already seen your CV or application form and clearly thinks that you could be suitably qualified for the job. You need to be able to build a rapport with the interviewer and prove that you not only have the right skills, but your personality suits the company.
Recognise your achievements and skillsIt can be easy to fall into the trap of putting yourself down or tricking yourself into believing that you aren’t good enough, so it’s important to dispel any negative thoughts and start thinking positively about yourself.
Make a list of all your qualities and skills and recognise how much you have already achieved. If you struggle with this, ask a friend to help you. Sometimes when your confidence is low, you need a helping hand to spot the positives about yourself. Within no time, you’ll start to appreciate all the positives and spend less time putting yourself down.
Practice relaxation techniquesWhen you’re nervous or anxious, your body may react negatively and you may feel out of breath, shaky or over-emotional. By practising simple breathing exercises or mindfulness techniques, you can help yourself return to a state of calm before the interview. Taking slow, deep breaths and emptying your mind can help you think more clearly.
Visualise positive outcomesVisualisation techniques can be extremely powerful in stressful situations and can help overcome fears. Imagine yourself in the interview and how you would like to be perceived. Do you look confident? Do you speak confidently? Do you give a confident handshake? Body language is a huge giveaway for any interviewer so the more you picture yourself acting confidently, the more likely you will feel confident.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare!There is nothing worse than turning up to an interview unprepared. Employers want to know that prospective employees are willing to go the extra mile. Research the company thoroughly and find out what you can about your interviewer/s and what they do for the company as this can help you build a rapport with them. Re-visit the job specification and your CV and make sure you highlight any occasions in a previous role where you have demonstrated the required skills and qualities.
Practise confident body languageIn our day-to-day lives it’s easy to forget how we appear to others from our body language. Observe how you act when you’re speaking with present colleagues, family or friends and make adjustments accordingly.
- Make eye contact
- Don’t slump and keep an upright yet relaxed posture
- Unfold your arms and use open hand gestures when speaking (but don’t overdo it)
- Mirror positive body language of whoever you’re speaking to
- Don’t fidget
More useful interview tips are available on the graduate career website Prospects.
If you feel you may benefit from working with a coaching professional who can assist you with any confidence issues and support you as you work towards your goals, visit our coaching page.