If you’re seeking to make a career change in 2020, you’re going to need something pretty important. Super important. Mega colossal important! And I’m not going to bury the lead on this any further.
You need to build self-confidence.
Despite the title, you might have thought I was going to say “a good resume.” And yes, that’s totally important when you’re making a career change and we’ll get there. But the foundation of your resume, your cover letter, your networking conversations, your interviews, and your negotiations comes down to self-confidence.
For others to feel good about hiring you, you need to feel good about yourself and what you have to offer the world.
To make your case about why you’re a great fit for this new exciting job, you need to believe your case.
So let’s talk about how some strategies for how to build self-confidence in the new year so that you can propel your job search forward.
How to Build Self-Confidence for A Successful Job Search
I can’t make you feel good about yourself. That’s now how self-confidence works.
But there are tried and true ways to build self-confidence that are completely within your control. We’re going to focus on your strengths, get by with a little help from our friends, feel good in our skin, get you feeling good on paper, and help you bring your confidence into the interview room.
Deep breath, annnnnnnd go!
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How to Build Self-Confidence Strategy 1: Phone a Friend
If your lack of self-confidence is dragging you down, a little external boost could help get you on track.
In The Miracle Morning, author Hal Elrod set about to make some big changes in his life and sought feedback from his family, friends, and coworkers about how he could improve. In a big group email he outlined his goals for self-improvement and asked everyone to give him three things he could work on in his life. Most everyone responded with helpful advice but also included three things they thought he was already great at.
That’s the part I want you to focus on, the stuff you’re already awesome at.
Constructive feedback is crazy helpful, but building your self-confidence from a strengths-based perspective can help you build momentum and feel good about engaging with new people through your job search.
So pick up the phone, send a text, or write an email and ask some of your family members or friends what they think you are good at.
I bet you’re going to get a lot of warm fuzzies that will help you see from an outsiders perspective how awesome you are!
You can even ask your kids. I just asked my three-year-old what Mommy was great at and she said “being my Mommy.” In fact, I’m her “best Mommy in her whole life.”
Strategy 2: Take a Look It’s In a Book
I’ve written about Jen Sinceros book, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, on a couple of occasions in regard to career development and personal development. And you bet your bottom dollar she’s making an appearance here!
Read You Are a Badass you are going leave the pages feeling pumped up on how much you have to offer the world.
Another book to add to your bookshelf is StrengthsFinder 2.0.
Using the Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment you can identify your top strengths and use the book as a guide to help you understand how to utilize your strengths. Again, it’s important to work on your weaknesses, but you’re going to get a lot of bang for your buck and build your self-confidence by focusing on what you already do super well. It will also help you craft your interview answers in a way that feels genuine and super relevant to the person on the other side of the table.
Read a full review of StrengthsFinder and my experience with the assessment.
Or pull out some of your favorite children’s books that tell your kids how great they are. Building self-confidence isn’t just child’s play, my friend. Let Dr. Seuss tell you that you can move mountains and feel that one deep down in your soul because he was totally right.
Strategy 3: Feel Good in Your Skin
A lot of folks are going to be making resolutions to get in shape for 2020. If you’re in that boat, awesome. Good for you! You’ve got this! Feeling good physically can absolutely help your self-confidence and change how you feel putting yourself out there in a job search.
But you 110% do not need to lose weight or have Michelle Obama arms to make a career change or feel good about yourself.
Maybe your body has changed since having babies, or it’s been difficult to fit in exercise with your work schedule, commute, and kids’ activities. Whatever the reason, your body looks different and staring in the mirror excepting it to look like it did in that decade challenge picture you found of yourself from 2010 isn’t realistic.
So if you aren’t feeling good in your own skin right now, maybe it’s time for a new pair of pants that fit the body you have now. Or a shirt that makes you love your body just as it is.
You don’t need to go on a huge shopping spree for this. But find clothes that fit your right now body so that you don’t feel the need to hide away from networking events or interviews until your body looks like the version of you from 10 years ago. (Who by the way, didn’t have nearly as much wisdom, knowledge, or valuable life experience!)
Strategy 4: Use Your Words
I promised we would talk about resumes and here we are!
Focus on Key Accomplishments and Skills
Your resume is not a list of your past jobs, it is a marketing and personal branding document that explains to potential employers why you’re amazing. But for most people, their resume doesn’t help them shine as brightly as they could. Instead, it’s filled with bullet points that downplay accomplishments and responsibilities. Don’t do that!
Instead, think about your peak experiences at each of your previous roles. What project did you really love? How did you add value to your team? What would your teammates say about your work? Now look at your resume and see if that is jumping off the page.
Using Resume Action Verbs
For most people the great stuff they have done isn’t jumping off the page. But one simple fix is to think about your Action Verbs. How you talk about your work matters and can help you build self-confidence in your job search.
For example, a bullet under your tech company customer service role might currently read:
Answered phone calls and emails from potential customers.
But how do you feel when that bullet point highlights some of the key skills you utilized while in job instead? Like this:
Advised small business owners over the phone and via email (approximately 300 potential customers weekly) as they sought project management tools to fuel company growth. Determined business needs and directed customers to the appropriate technology solutions.
See the difference between “Answered” and “Advised”? Adding the scope of the work and the context helps too!
Keep in mind that we aren’t making stuff up here! We are simply showcasing your key skills in a way that shows an employer that you’re confident in what you have to offer, while also giving yourself a self-confidence boost. It feels good to look back on what you’ve done with pride!
Strategy 5: Practice Makes Better
If you are planning on going in for interviews in 2020, remember that practice makes better. We’re not shooting for perfect here. Perfect, smerfect remember! But we do want you to feel good about yourself before an interview so that you can wow them!
So here’s what I want you to do.
1. Think about how you are going to nail that very important first question. “Tell me about yourself.”
2. Remember the SOAR method for answering interview questions and plan out your behavioral interview question answers with effective stories.
3. Find your Power Pose that makes you feel super strong and confident before you walk in the door.
4. Download a list of common interview questions and tips for answering them. Then get to practicing your answers. Don’t overdo it with scripting yourself, but definitely get prepped so you building your self-confidence heading into the interview.
So, how are you feeling? Lizzo and I both really want to know! And we both hope that you really are feeling awesome in your mind, your own skin, and on paper.
All that fierceness, it’s going to be kicking doors WIDE open! Go get ’em, rockstar!
With a hair toss, check my nails,