Confidence is something that truly does not get enough attention when it comes to personal and professional development. However, confidence can be key in your career and help you to be more effective and move up through the ranks more quickly. In fact, I can attest that confidence completely changed my career!

Let me share a bit of my story. When I first began my career, I worked very hard and certainly produced results but rarely spoke. I found myself consumed by people-pleasing behaviour and felt largely out of control in terms of my career trajectory. 

Eventually, I came to the realization that I couldn’t convince anyone else of the value I brought to an organization if I didn’t believe it myself. I had to first convince myself and build my confidence. Here are some of the things I did and ways you can build confidence in your career. 

Confidence Comes from Competence

Competence breeds confidence. As you are able to perform at work, you will feel more comfortable in your abilities. Thus, an extremely important way to build your confidence comes from striving to improve your skills and demonstrate them. 

This comes down to professional development. An essential career trait is being a lifelong learner who takes advantage of opportunities to strengthen their skills, is self-aware, and identifies the most important ways they can add to their skill set. As you continue to grow, you will naturally feel more confident. 

Stop Listening to the Naysayers

Ideally, you are in a work setting that is quite supportive. However, the reality is that many places have an employee or two that can be toxic. These people can really get under your skin sometimes, and their words can hurt your confidence. 

Having strong self-awareness can help you determine the difference between someone providing valuable feedback and someone being negative just to tear you down. Learning to distinguish these two and stop listening to the naysayers is an important but difficult ability to master. Surrounding yourself with supportive colleagues is a good way to start doing this.

Take Ownership of Accomplishments

In the modern environment, it often feels awkward to celebrate your own accomplishments. After all, people don’t want to feel like they are bragging. However, there is nothing wrong with recognizing where you’ve succeeded. In fact, a strong principle of effective management is to do just that.

Thus, strive to acknowledge your achievements. Say them out loud, note them on your resume, and discuss them in job interviews. Celebrating your wins is an important way to build confidence in your career and performance but also simply something all employees should do! After all, part of being reflective includes not only being aware of areas of growth but also acknowledging achievements. 

Develop Strategies to Help You Get Noticed

While you may not be one to talk yourself off, there are certainly ways that you can be noticed at work. Take some time to think about ways to make this happen while also staying true to your character. One way that I did this early in my career was to volunteer for roles on committees where I felt I could excel. This helped me gradually build a positive reputation. 

Another effective way to do this is to spend time on things that are important to your organization. Your work is more likely to be noticed when you do this. Building interpersonal relationships with others at work can also help. As people get to know you and see your strengths, they will likely let others know, including their bosses.

Align What You Offer with Organizational Needs

Perhaps one of the best ways to build confidence in your career is to provide meaningful work. This requires simply aligning your own skills, abilities, and experiences with what is needed by your organization. Sometimes this can mean taking on other responsibilities or even pivoting into a different role. 

At one point in my career, I had a colleague who pivoted horizontally into a role that focused heavily on assessment. He was able to use his one-on-one relationship-building skills and his analytical skills to greatly improve how the organization collected and utilized data by influencing others. This also seemed to greatly improve his confidence and made him very upwardly mobile. 

Final Thoughts

Not everyone has confidence when it comes to their career; however, everyone is capable of developing confidence. There are tons of things you can do to help build confidence, including these five tips. Spend some time working on this, realizing that confidence builds gradually over time. With effort, building confidence can transform your career as it did mine.

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