8 answers

How do you stay confident?

Updated Los Angeles, California

I know that having confidence is very important when you are interviewing with potential employers and for when you are interacting with your peers. However, I find that sometimes I lose confidence when something negative happens, such as being rejected from a company, or doing poorly on a midterm. I try not to let it get to me, but sometimes it does and I feel very timid. How can I learn to stay confident even when something bad happens? Any help would be great.

Thanks in advance! #college #career #career-counseling #career-choice #interviews #interviewing-skills #personal-development #job-application

8 answers

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas

Hi Albert! Confidence really develops over time. It comes from studying/rehearsing, so you get good at what you do. It comes from performing (such as going to an interview) and having both failures and successes. When you truly did the best that you could, there is no reason to be ashamed. And, even if you made mistakes, you will grow from them, so that is a good thing! You might want to consider getting into activities that require you to "perform." This could be something like track & field, acting, debate team, etc.

Letting you in on a few secrets. Most people who act confident really are not. They are just better prepared to deal with a "disaster." They are the ones who, if they were running a race, and tripped over their own feet and fell down, would stand up, take a majestic bow, and then continue to run. Secondly, when interviews go bad, it's sometimes the other person's fault! Not everyone is an expert at interviewing - perhaps it is their first time conducting interviews! When I teach classes (to jobseekers), I think I project confidence because I know my material and speak very candidly. I don't try to talk like a bureaucrat. People can tell that I am speaking from the heart, and they respect that.

Now, this might surprise you. I used to be a police officer. When I showed up, people listened. The uniform made that happen. When I retired, I was terrified! I had zero self confidence! But when I say it will come over time, this is what I mean. When I started teaching, I was scared. What if... What if the computer failed in the middle of the presentation? Yup, that has since happened. I lived through it. What if I had unruly people in my class? Yup, that happened too. Dealt with it. The more you experience success, the more confident you will be.

In the meantime, don't be too hard on yourself. Nobody has a perfect interview. If you did "okay," consider that a success! The power of positive thinking will carry you a long way!!

As to your peers, don't put yourself down in a bad way, but sometimes it is okay to joke about yourself in a light-hearted way when you do something goofy, you know?

Feel free to stay in touch! Kim

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Hi Kim, thanks for the advice! I think you make a good point when you say that confident people are just "better prepared to deal with a 'disaster'". I think it might be because they learned from their mistakes that the next time around they feel that they can handle it. I will keep that in mind in the future. I would love to stay in touch! Would it be possible if I added you on LinkedIn?
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I'd be honored to connect on LinkedIn! Also, you asked about what to do when you are feeling down. Two suggestions. One, is exercise. The other, is to do something for somebody else. When you do an act of charity, from the heart, it can really lift your spirits! I'll be looking for your invite!
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Great! I just sent you an invite. And thanks for the awesome idea, I just went out for a jog last night, and I felt much better when I came back. I never really thought about it, but exercise does help!
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Hi! It did not come as an invite, just showed that you viewed my profile, so I sent you an invite. They've made a lot of changes over the past week or so, not sure what's going on!

Carole’s Answer

Updated Rancho Palos Verdes, California

Hi Albert

Confidence is a very important word especially for job seekers. There are several reasons why confidence is very important: 1. If you are prepared for your interview and know something about the company, your confidence will show in your interviewing process. If you get nervous or scared think of something that you succeeded in and that will help regain your confidence. 2. If you have nothing to hide as far as your employment records, then you don't have to worry about any past negatives within your employment record. If there is something negative in your files when they do a background check, they will probably bring it up. Have an answer and don' lie about it. 3. Make sure that you are dressed appropriately, so that you are comfortable and look good too! 4. If you study some interview questions and have a friend or family member ask you the questions so that you get used to answering these questions with someone that is familiar to you. 5. If you have a phone interview you should know the day and time they will call. Make sure you are dressed nicely even though you are not in person, it helps you to feels more confident. 6. If you know someone who works at this company, ask him if he knows the person that will be interviewing him, or any other question that might be important to you. This could help a little to become more at ease. 7. Come prepared with a list of reference (do not put on your resume). Also bring a couple copies of your resume to pass to others in the interview. 8. Try not to fidget when answering questions, interviewers can pinpoint the nervousness, that is why it is so important to do some research on the company before you feel uneasy about answer. If your research is detailed then you have no worries.

Confidence is part of you as a person, but it comes from inside you and makes an impression on others. For instance some interviewers like to start out by asking "tell me a little bit about yourself". Some people freeze on this question, but it is a very good question and not that hard. You are the only one who can get this right or wrong. Practice this question with a friend or family member and listen to what they say about what you said. Another question might be "What kind of skills do you have that would apply to the job description and how and why would we hire you over another person with the same skills?

These are questions should not scare you but make you think about how you would answer them to make yourself look good and also to let them know that you would be an excellent employee because you can make this company a better place, this is the idea (use the reason that you think of). Also have a reason for why you want to work at this company (not for salary) but they might have a good insurance policy, or upward mobility, bonuses, This is why you research the company.

If you follow some of these points I think you will feel more confident about who you are and how you want them to see you. Remember that confidence shows a level of maturity and sometimes it take several interviews to get this point. There is a book titled "The 250 job interview questions" by Peter Veruki. This is a good way to learn how to be Prepared, and build confidence.

I wish you the best in building your confidence. I know it isn't easy but since you recognized that you need more of that, I think these suggestions might help. Learn something after each interview that you have, and keep a journal of some of the things you are feeling. That will also help you confidence because every interview builds more confidence.

If you have any other question please let me know.

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Hi Carole, thanks for the advice! I will keep the suggestions in my mind as I prepare for my next interview.

Debra’s Answer

Updated Indianapolis, Indiana

One of the recommendations that we suggest to our clients who want to work on their confidence is to join their local chapter of Toastmasters. This is an organization that helps you to become confident in public speaking. They offer support to all members, and will help you with tricks of the trade for us "shyer" people.

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Thanks Debra, I will keep this in mind!

Daphne’s Answer

Updated Fort Collins, Colorado

Staying confident can be challenging and it is awesome that you are asking this question. One way to stay confident is to recognize and be thankful for your passions and your strengths. These do not have to be herculean passions and strengths, any degree is sufficient. Once you remind yourself of these passions and strengths, you can envision how these passions and strengths can contribute to our society in a positive way and the influence you can have in the world. Once you consider how you can contribute and the impact of the contribution, it will give you confidence. Keep being thankful for your gifts and talents.

Steve’s Answer

Updated Dallas, Texas

Great question! It's something that everyone from a starting job to an executive has to work. Things that have helped me in my career (and life) are to learn as much as you can about what job you're interviewing for. Immerse yourself in the knowledge of the company, field, and people that work in the space you desire to be in. Also - good daily habits around the learning is important. Be principled in your approach to learning and you'll naturally become more confident in learning the field you aspire to be. If that doesn't, there are numerous resources on-line and in the self-help section of bookstores or amazon that help with confidence building. I hope this doesn't sound flippant as it really did help me in reading about how others have tackled this and best practices. I also was skeptical until I incorporated reading about confidence building on a daily basis.

Another thing to note - I used to hate to speak in public. In college and the earlier part of my career I avoided it like the plague. I realized however that once I learned more about my field, got to know the people within the industry, and continued with my daily habits around confidence building, I didn't avoid opportunities and in fact started to seek out opportunities. You also realize it's a great way to differentiate yourself against your "competition".

I hope this helps! Just know that most people want you to succeed and are rooting for you. Avoid those that don't. :)




David’s Answer

Updated San Francisco, California

Hey Albert,


The other answers on this thread are terrific, so I just want to add my 2 cents.


This is a great question and, quite honestly, is something that I've dealt with before and still do sometimes today.


I've been in quite a few situations in which I've found myself losing confidence when something negative happens, e.g. doing poorly on a midterm (or a whole class), competitive sport, or interview. It usually came accompanied by thoughts like "I'm not qualified," "I'm not smart enough," and "why do I bother?". And it sucked because I became even more fearful of failure the next time around, which would make me more nervous.


A couple years ago, I read a book that completely changed my perspective on this. It's called Mindset by Carol Dweck. At a high level, it talks about 2 mindsets.


The first, the "Fixed Mindset", is one in which you believe that talent is innate and 'fixed'. If you're good at something, then great! You're gifted! If you fail at something, then there's no use trying to improve because there's only so much you can do.


The second is called the "Growth Mindset." Those with a growth mindset believe that ability is not innate and that, with hard work, they can improve. They dedicate themselves to their goals.


I'd encourage you to think more about the Growth Mindset and try to adopt it. You're bound to make mistakes, but it's what you do with them that makes the difference. Examples: fail a midterm? You could grab a tub of ice cream and binge watch Netflix. OR you could go to office hours for your professor and/or TA with your midterm, solve the problems you got wrong, and find out where you can improve for your final. Get rejected from your dream company? You could slink away embarrassed and lower your standards. OR you could ask the hiring manager and/or recruiter about what you can improve on, and what they're looking for in an ideal candidate, and spend the next couple months improving so that you're better prepared when you reapply.


As a personal example, I started looking for a new job last year because I wanted to move cities and try something new. From previous experience, I've always known that I struggled with nerves and confidence during interviews, which would cause me to not think straight and not convey my thoughts properly. And if I had interviewed right away, I'm pretty sure I would have bombed them. After thinking about it, I realized a lot of my confidence issues stemmed from not feeling prepared. So I set goals. I studied on weekdays before and after work, and all day on weekends. For a long time. I reached out to friends to help me prep. And when the time came to interview, I walked into interviews knowing that I did the best I could up until this point. If they didn't go well, I'd see where I could improve and try again the next time. One of the first ones didn't go very well, but it helped me realize an area that I needed to brush up on. I ended up getting offers from 5 of the top tech companies in the Bay Area.


Mistakes are the stepping stones to success. When they happen, keep your head held high and treat mistakes as learning opportunities, because they may teach you more than your successes will.


Best of luck and go Bruins!


BTW - Carol's also given a Ted Talk on the Growth Mindset. It's a great video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X0mgOOSpLU

Cecília Iacoponi’s Answer

Updated Bargersville, Indiana

Hello Albert.


First of all I want to tell you that we all go through this feeling in our lives.


Being confident all the time requires practice, exercise, and the ability to overcome challenges.


In your life in general the most important thing is to make sure that you are on the right track, doing the right thing, that you know and like what you do.


It will fill you with joy and confidence.


Confident is a state of mind that is well connected with the joy of doing well what we like.


In a job interview be true, show your skills and abilities, your goals and your results, even if they are from the school that you have finished graduating, no problem, the important thing is to show that you know what you are talking about, and has experience and likes.


Do not try to please by saying that you know everything, that you have seen everything, that you can do everything. This will lead you to a difficult path, a lack of confidence, because you will be charged for it.


We are not good at everything and we do not know everything.

Do what you know the best way. This will strengthen your confidence.<img alt="https://res.cloudinary.com/careervillage/image/upload/v1522428889/46238.svg" height="60" src="//:0" width="60">


Patricia’s Answer

Updated Tampa, Florida

I can tell you to always answer what you know and don't be afraid to say that you don't know an answer, but that you're always willing to learn.  Stay positive.  People looking at applicants know you don't always have all the answers but a positive outlook will go very far.  Also, if you have a specific company you're trying to work for, do some research so you know a little about the company.  They'll be impressed that you took the time to be thoughtful.  Once you are hired, maintain that positive attitude and find a mentor who can help you make good career choices.