Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fake it Until you Make it! The Art (and Necessity) of Faking Confidence.

I have two daughters that are 2 years apart. The older daughter is brimming with confidence – bordering on arrogance. The younger daughter has almost no confidence. Same parents, raised in the same household by my husband and I, but they are so very different. I work every day on helping my younger daughter to believe in herself and find her identity because as a professional I know how important confidence can be to success.

Confidence is critical in the workplace, whether you are employed or looking for a job. When you have confidence, people automatically assume you are competent. If you are unemployed and you lack confidence you will find it even harder to land that dream job. Most likely, if you lack confidence your job search is lacking in the following areas:

Networking. People who are unsure of themselves are less likely to take risks, ask for assistance, and go out of their way to meet new people.

Communicating your value. Whether you are writing your resume and cover letter or talking about yourself in an interview, you must focus on your strengths and accomplishments.

Improving your career from job to job. No matter the state of the economy, if you have confidence and a firm grasp of the value you can add to a company, you can improve your job situation by effectively marketing your skills and benefits. The people who lack confidence often take the first job that comes along because they don’t believe a better opportunity will present itself.

Negotiating salary. People who lack confidence are hesitant to negotiate salary because they do not accept the value they bring a company. Identify your strengths, skills, and accomplishments to define the benefits you can offer a company, then ask to be compensated accordingly.

So, if you are lacking confidence the first step is to ask yourself why. The next step is to do something about it. Here are some tips to get you on the road to self-confidence.

* Fake it until you make it. Confidence can be faked when you meet someone. Hold your head high, look them in the eye, shake their hand with enthusiasm, and stand up straight. Body language goes a long way toward projecting confidence. Chances are when you start “faking” your confidence, you may just start to believe it yourself.

* Take the time to identify your strengths and give yourself credit for your accomplishments. By making this list, you will not only boost your confidence, you will also prepare to speak confidently about yourself in an interview.

* Accept who you are, admit your mistakes, and move on. Do not compare yourself to others, simply accept that you are unique and have a combination of talents and strengths that no one else has.

* Surround yourself with positive people and situations. Job searching is challenging enough without the support of friends and family. You may need to seek the support of a career coach or resume writer to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses.

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