It’s better to define confidence by describing some of the qualities confident people possess. Self-confident people are deliberate and intentional in their actions. They act with a degree of certainty in everything they do. They’re confident in their speech which makes people think they’re right, even when they’re wrong. They have good posture, walk with a pep in their step, and speak clearly and audibly. Confident people are typically accomplished in their own right. They are rarely wrong because they do their due diligence to make sure they know what they’re talking about. They take risks. They know what they want out of life and get busy getting it. People don’t become confident by happenstance, but life experiences and a lot of preparation leads to their becoming confident.
I was fortunate enough to develop confidence early in life. As a youngster, my uncle would take me and my twin brother to the mall. Whenever we would walk past a mirror, he would make us pause and say, “damn, I look good!” Going to the mall with my uncle was one of my earliest memories, so I had to be about five or six years old. As kids, we were embarrassed because we didn't want to curse, and we thought it was ridiculous to make any mention of how good we looked. Our uncle didn't allow us to leave from in front the mirror until we said it. We would say it in the lowest voice possible, which was good enough for him. He didn't do this to be callous or cruel, but he did it because he knew we needed to become more confident if we wanted to get ahead in life. Mall after mall, mirror after mirror, we said “damn, I look good.” We said it so much we started to believe it, and, eventually, didn't need to say it any longer.
Self-confidence is necessary throughout the entire job search process. When you’re persistent in looking for jobs, you display confidence by taking the risk of being rejected. Conversely, you display a lack of confidence whenever you play it safe. When it comes to interviewing, confidence is the name of the game. Why would a company hire you to represent them if you can’t represent yourself with confidence? You even display confidence when you’re negotiating your salary by knowing your worth and being willing to fight for it.
The good news is that there are ways to build confidence so it comes naturally. Below are five tips to help you build confidence that will prove beneficial throughout the job search.
1. Accept your imperfections
This is the first step in becoming more confident. We must understand that no one is perfect. Even the person who looks like they have it all figured out are usually far from it. Being confident is not reserved for people with a specific body type or who look a certain way. Some of the most confident people I know are morbidly obese but no one notices because they are extremely comfortable in their own skin: they've effectively accepted their own imperfections. Of course, if there’s something you don’t like about yourself, you can change it in due time, but for now, OWN IT and move on. Don’t overcompensate for your shortcomings by being bodacious in other ways, it’s easy to detect.
2. Be prepared
To a great extent, your confidence lies in your preparation. Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” Whenever I interview with an organization, I’m extremely confident because I’m well-prepared. I can recall from memory my answers to the top 50 interview questions, as well as the examples I use to support those answers. By the time I interview, I've gathered as much information as possible about the organization in the event they try to test my knowledge about their products, services, customers, or competitors. As a result, I walk into any interview with supreme confidence and am rarely caught off-guard.
I was caught off-guard once, though, when I had a phone interview. The interview was scheduled to last 30 minutes and the interviewer told me we would use that time to answer any questions I had about the role. This was the first interview in which I was asked no questions. I wasn't prepared to ask questions for 30 minutes, but this experience didn't shake my confidence because I anticipated the unexpected. Now, I have at least ten questions to ask the employer during any interview. The more prepared you are for the curve balls life throws at you, you’ll step to the plate with confidence.
3. Dress to impress
Jerome Bettis said it best, “when you look good, you feel good; and when you feel good, you play good.” When you go to an interview or networking event, or anytime you come in contact with a recruiter or someone with the power to hire you, your attire should represent the best you. You’re always interviewing, so you should always dress to impress. Invest in nice clothes; but be careful not to confuse ‘nice’ with expensive.
During interviews, or in any other situation in life, there’s no such thing as being overdressed. In addition to my preparation, I’m confident during interviews because I know I look good in a suit. I make sure it’s a good fit, I make sure my shoes are polished, and I do my best to look presidential, which is why I only wear white shirts and blue ties to interviews. When employers see me during an interview, I want them to envision me representing their organization. If I’m prepared and well-dressed, it’s easier for them to create that mental picture.
4. Win, Win, Win
To build confidence, you should do things you’re good at, or things you can become good at. Anyone can become good at exercising, for example. When you exercise on a regular basis it’s impossible not to notice your progress. Even if you don’t notice a difference on the scale, you’ll feel much better about your overall health and well-being. Exercise is a sure way to build your confidence; it gives you energy and makes you look and feel more youthful. If you’re good at shooting pool, you should find the time to play a couple of times a week. If you’re good at writing, write. Winning begets winning. When you win at one thing, you understand the formula to win in other areas. You have no choice but to be confident because you know you can win time and time again.
5. Think positively
Before you become confident, you must think confidence. Before any act of confidence was displayed, a confident thought preceded it. Confident people typically have a very positive outlook on life. They’re optimist who create opportunities as opposed to waiting for them to happen. It’s hard to convince someone else that you’re worthy of being hired when you habitually think of yourself as small and common. Overcoming negative thoughts about yourself is the key to becoming more confident.
I fully acknowledge that it may be difficult for some people to grasp this concept but here’s a good place to start: when you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, say “damn, I look good.” After a short while, you’ll start believing it and confidence will saturate your life.