It can be difficult putting ourselves out there, especially in a professional sense. During an interview or at the beginning of a new job, it's typical to experience fear or anxiety. In unfamiliar situations, especially important ones like work, it's common to experience imposter syndrome (which is loosely defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud). Don't fret because we all experience doubt and insecurities in our personal life or in professional settings. Luckily, there are lots of great resources and people out there who are eager to help you build your confidence in the workplace!
1. Visit A Career Development Center
Reach out to your university's Career Development Office. They can setup mock interviews for you to practice and get feedback. They can also review your resume, proofread your cover letter, or evaluate other application materials to offer feedback for improvement. Moreover, they could also help you understand what alumni from your major or particular field of studying or doing now; in turn, they could even initiate a meeting and help form a connection with an alumni who's working in an industry or specific job that interests you. Most university Career Development Offices help alumni for free or at a reduced cost, so don't be worried that you might not qualify for their help!
2. My Personal Interview Advice
Remember: you're interviewing them as much as their interviewing you! My biggest piece of interview advice is to ask all of your questions. Asking questions is arguably the best way to determine if that position or company is the right fit for you. The interviewer should expect you to ask questions, and any good interviewer will be happy that you ask good questions. If you're not sure what to ask, here are some good ones to help you get started:
Is this an hourly or salary position? Follow up with: What is the hourly/salary range for this position?
What type of health benefits or life insurance comes with this position?
What type of schedule is expected for this position?
Is remote working an option with this position?
Can you please describe the amount of PTO or vacation time for this position?
What does the training look like for this position?
Follow up the last question with: How soon would you expect someone to be successful in this position, working independently?
If someone is successful in this position, is there room for growth? What would that trajectory look like?
If you're a parent, or a caregiver in any capacity, consider the things that are important to you and ask the interviewer about it. For example, a good question might be: if my child is sick unexpectedly, what are your policies for living early or coming in late to take them to the doctor. Also consider asking: is there any flexibility to leave early/come in late to pick my child up from school if I come into work early/stay later to make up the time?
3. Attend Networking Events
Naturally, I'm a pretty reserved and introverted person who tends to stick to myself—or the same group of people I already know well. I get really nervous meeting new people; therefore, it can really be difficult for me to put myself out there and feel confident during interviews. If you're like me, you might struggle with that too, but I want you to feel more confident in any situation when you're meeting new people. The best way to do this is by practicing! As nerve wrecking as it sounds, putting yourself in situations to meet new people will help you improve and feel more confident connecting with others.
One way you can do this is by attending networking events or job fairs. At these types of events, you'll meet new people and can practice speaking with someone you don't know in a safe environment that you can leave whenever you want. Talking to these new people who have incredibly diverse backgrounds will prepare you to answer questions and describe yourself or your experience. Plus, you can practice asking them questions to help you feel more confident doing so in your next interview, company meeting, etc.
When it comes down to it, building your confidence requires challenging yourself. Taking that first step is, often times, the most difficult yourself. I hope my advice helps you take that first step to building your confidence in the workplace or during your next interview. If you have any questions, I'm happy to connect and I'll do my best to assist. Please reach out, so we can schedule a consultation.