Career confidence

What does it mean to be confident about our career? We can define confidence as 'a feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one's abilities or qualities' (Oxford Dictionary).


So how can we apply this to our career? 

Think about how you feel about it right now - do you feel that you appreciate your abilities and are feeling self-assured? What is your level of confidence currently, or how would it feel if you were to change direction? You might be looking to change jobs, returning to work after a break, looking to get a promotion within your current position, or just wanting to feel more confident in your role.

Top tips for gaining career confidence

1. Know what you want to achieve

It is worth asking ourselves "Are we happy where we are, and what do we want to achieve by holding this position?". Is it the sort of role you envisioned for yourself? If things are going well, have you thought about how it aligns with your values and whether there are any adjustments you might make for further self-development and fulfilment.

2. Make a skills inventory

If you make an inventory of the skills you have, then this is a really helpful tool. A skills inventory can aid in putting that CV together, but also so that if an opportunity presents itself in supervision, in a meeting, or maybe in discussion with a friend, you have your skills at your fingertips. Nowadays it is often more about who you know that can help you to get a promotion or change roles than anything else. If you know your skill base and how they can be transferred, you are ready for that conversation. When you make your inventory, you might also like to consider if there are any new skills you might want to develop.

3. Seek feedback

If you receive feedback from others, this can be a really useful way to validate yourself and your achievements and get you thinking about your career. Others can often perceive areas that you might not have thought about, and their feedback can start the process off by helping you to recognise new opportunities. I set up my coaching business, for example, when my coaching supervisor suggested I had in-depth knowledge of coaching that could be used to establish a private practice. I would not have realised this at that stage in my life had it not been for this constructive feedback.

4. Develop your impetus for change

We can become very comfortable in a role. We can want to stay within 'our comfort zone'. We know the projects or understand our job description; we feel comfortable within our team and know how the coffee machine works. To make changes, it may involve changing teams, making new friends, or setting up a business from scratch. None of these options can feel comfortable. If you work out what exactly it is that tips the balance for you to take that new challenge with your career, then this will be key to keeping you motivated to make that change!

5. Recognise the positives of a change to the contract

A job for life is a rare commodity these days. I went to a presentation at my young people’s school which detailed how the average person would have several contracts, maybe 14 or more, in their lifetime in the future. If we see ourselves as developing by taking on new contracts, rather than doing what we always used to do, we are making ourselves more marketable for the future. If you have children then it can be helpful to role-model how we manage new contracts, as it will increase their confidence for the future.

6. Move sideways

We often feel that a promotion has to be a hierarchical move, however, moving into a sideways position can be helpful to our careers. It might be worth keeping your eyes out for a new role that you can undertake or a position that is the same 'level' as yours which not only utilises your skillset but also provides a new challenge and stimulus.

7. Consider a promotion

There might be an obvious path to a promotion within your organisation, however, there may be other ways to secure it. You may be able to offer to undertake a new project, apply for a position in a different region, or even establish your consultancy which acts as a promotion with your current skillset.

8. Set up your own business

To consider whether it is a good move to set up your own business, it is worth doing your market research. Clients are often found through referrals and word of mouth, so start asking around if the services you want to provide might have a take-up. If you want to try it out with less potential risk financially, then you could consider reducing your hours in your current position. As long as you ensure that your new business does not interfere with your part-time role, this is a good way to 'put your toe in the water' rather than your whole leg!

9. Network

Whether you are changing job roles, establishing a start-up, or wanting to increase responsibility within your current position, then networking is very important. The days of sending off a CV to apply for a position are dwindling, and it is more the case of who you know nowadays. Think about which network might be helpful and use meetings and training events to start finding out more about available opportunities.

10. Training

Training events can help us to feel more career confident, and there are a variety of online courses too that might fit in with your busy schedule. What new skills and competencies might you gain? Work out the best place to acquire them.

11. Influencing

Consider who are the people who will sing your praises, speak highly of your work, give you honest feedback on performance, provide you with emotional support, and can make things happen. These are your key influencers, so make sure you have them around you for support, and also ask them to introduce you to others.

12. Social media

Do you have a profile on social media? Whether you are in employment, returning to work, or are self-employed, it is important to have a presence. If you are not sure then you can research which is the best one for you, have a quality photo of yourself, and share some of your transferable skills - you never know who is looking, and it's another way to network!

So having thought about where you are now and where you would like to be, and having read my tips, I hope this has helped you to be able to position yourself in a good place for the next part of your career.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Bristol, BS48 2NF
Written by Sarah Clark, Mariposa Coaching
Bristol, BS48 2NF

I am a coaching practitioner of 20 years. I use evidence based coaching psychology approaches. My portfolio includes working with Drs, lawyers, teachers, small businesses, charities, busy parents, couples, CEOs and young people. I also design and deliver training for management and staff in the workplace. Contact me for a free initial consultation.

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