How Confidence Can Land You Your Dream Job

J Free

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

Want to know the secret to getting where you want to be?

It’s really no secret. A huge part of the answer is confidence.

It’s what I tell people when they ask me how I’ve achieved certain goals, both in my career and other areas of life: You already know you need persistence and hard work to make anything happen, but you also need a whole lot of confidence.

You might be thinking "Well, that's easier said than done". What if it's just not there? What if you've tried believing in your abilities, tried proving to others (and yourself, for that matter) that you know you've got what it takes, but it just hasn't gotten you anywhere?

Well, the good news is: Like many other things, confidence is a skill you can learn. It takes time and practice, but you'll get there eventually.

Think about it: If you're following a certain career path, if you've got ambitions and goals, you already have one other invaluable thing going for you: passion. And chances are, you already have many of the skills needed to succeed in your line of work. You’re most likely amazing at what you do, and you have the drive and willingness to improve in order to get one step closer to that dream job. That’s a fact. After all, you're reading this article.

But how can anybody know that if you don’t show it? Or better yet, if you don’t even believe it yourself?

I'm sure you're familiar with the saying “fake it till' you make it”. In some cases that may work, but it probably won't get you very far. Because why would you fake it, anyway? You’ve already got what it takes, so you better believe it! And you better SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS (the proverbial rooftops of career opportunities, that is)!

Here are some ways you can apply confidence in your career:

The C in "Cover Letter" Stands for Confidence

Does your job application require a cover letter? It's the part that most job applicants will admit to hating—after all, a good cover letter requires a lot of time, thought, and research. Besides tailoring your note to the specific company, role, and the required skills that come with it, there's another vital thing you need to make sure of: Don't sell yourself short.

Don’t be afraid to boast your skills, you know you’ve got them. If there’s ever a time or place to sound "stand-offish”, it’s in a cover letter. Its sole purpose is for you to pitch yourself to your hiring manager. Make it count!

Bonus tip: Even if the application process doesn't require a cover letter, you should still consider sending one if you can. A little extra effort can go a long way.

Confidently Asking for a Raise

Think you deserve a raise? (Uhm, yes, you do!)

Asking your boss for a raise is a nerve-racking, uncomfortable moment, and it's usually a regular part of anyone's career at some point. While it's safe to say that no one enjoys asking for a raise, and it does take a lot of courage, it's actually quite simple. In reality, it's nothing more than a question with two possible outcomes. What's the worst thing that can happen? If it's a no, you'll feel a little discouraged, and you'll try again when the time is right (or, you'll realize it's time for a better job!). But one thing is guaranteed: It's always a no if you don't even ask in the first place.

So, here's what you'll do: Ask, but back it up with reason and confidence!

What makes you deserve this raise? What are some of your recent achievements that you'd like your boss to take note of? Don't pop the question without preparation. Pitch yourself, just like in your cover letter. And, perhaps the most important part: Do it with confidence. You're not suggesting a raise because you're not really sure you deserve it; you're politely asking because you know that you do. If you're confident about your work performance and can convey it in a convincing manner (remember, there's no reason to fake it), then you're one step closer to getting what you want.

Before learning this, I wasted months, maybe even years, working for less money than I could have been. I always avoided bringing up the uncomfortable conversation even though I knew I was being underpaid. Once I realized it was just a lack of confidence that was stopping me, I brought it up, explained why I thought it was time for a raise, and reaped the benefits. In fact, asking and succeeding gave me more confidence.

Create Your Own Opportunities with Confidence

Want to get a step closer to your dream job, even if there’s no current opening?

If there's just no capacity for a new role at your dream company, then there's not a whole lot you can do about it. But sometimes, you can create your own opportunities.

Introduce yourself to the hiring manager on LinkedIn (or elsewhere—bonus points for finding the appropriate person's email), and tell them why they need YOU on their team! Again, there's not much to lose: The worst thing that can happen is receiving silence or a rejection. But even that can always lead to future opportunities, because if you played your cards right, you're now on their radar!

Apply for the Job

A quick and simple piece of advice: Even if you don't meet all of the requirements mentioned for your dream role, apply anyway. Make it clear that you're willing to learn, there's always room for improvement. Don't shy away from trying just because you don't bring the entire list of qualities favored for the job. You never know—you might have that *certain something* another candidate is lacking, even if their professional experience fits the bill a little more. Again, this takes some confidence on your part.

The above examples all follow a similar pattern and carry the same message: If you don't try, you can't win. And if you’re not confident in your abilities, no one else will be, either.

Put yourself out there and know your value. You have absolutely nothing to lose by being confident and trying! But you have nothing to gain by downplaying yourself and passing up opportunities you know you’re good enough for.

Friends, be your own cheerleader! Modesty is good, but confidence is better!

Oh, and don’t forget that confidence does NOT equal cockiness. You're not bragging, you're simply conveying your worth as an invaluable team member. Don’t be afraid to believe in yourself. You can be confident, kind, and humble.

Now go get that job—what's stopping you?

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