10 Ways to Build Your Confidence During a Job Search

Panicked about finding a new job? Read these 10 key tips for boost your self-confidence so you can land the position of your dreams.

Lots of people get nervous when searching for a job.

"What if I can't find work?"

"What happens if I don't have enough experience?"

"What if I'm just not good enough?"

These are just some of the questions you might ask yourself when looking for work.

There's no need to panic.

These 10 tips will boost your self-confidence so you can land the job of your dreams.

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1. Ignore Your Inner Critic

"Some of the harshest comments that we get come from ourselves, via the 'voice of the inner critic,'" says Forbes magazine. "If you struggle with low self-confidence, there is a possibility that your inner critic has become overactive and inaccurate."

After graduating I spent three years depressed and unhappy with my job and career, without realizing I was the cause of it all. Sometimes the voices in our heads are just a bunch of noises. They’re nothing and won’t hurt you if you don’t let them.

You gotta unhear them. I meditate and it helps me ignore the haters and avoid the critics; it allows me to not care about ‘what people would say’ and get focused on ‘how I’m going to feel’. You gotta feel confident.

2. Have a Positive Self-Image

Maintaining a positive self-image will give you the confidence you need when looking for work. Avoid negative thoughts, and never play down your past achievements. You gotta brag about yourself.

This feels uncomfortable for many of us, but it’s a good skill to exercise. Especially during job interviews, you’ll be placed in a situation where you must clearly present your top skills and explain why you can be a great new member of a company.

In work interviews, you have to sell yourself. You are a professional, a service provider, a business of one, and when you’re seeking jobs you’re seeking employers who are looking to invest in a person with certain skills. Your job is to proactively seek, and find that employer within your industry of choice.  

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3. Write Stuff Down

Keeping a record of your skills, projects, software, systems, and achievements will help you with your job search. Write down all of your qualities and why you think an employer should hire you. Identify your flaws, too, but don't get hung up on them.

Your top strengths and weakness are dependent and relative to the company you’re interviewing at, so again, don't get hung up on them. Instead, focus on researching a company in the utmost details and learn everything possible there is. Write down a list of skills that can have a direct impact on that particular job and company you’re targeting.

When you go to the interview, make sure to take your notebook with you so that you can easily access the information you had gathered while researching the company, but also to make a positive impression on the interviewer. They will be impressed when they see all the notes you’ve taken on their company and their competitors! Trust me on that.

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4. Get Some Exercise

Regular exercise can send your self-confidence into the stratosphere and transform both your body and mind. Research shows that exercising in a pleasant environment has a positive effect on your self-esteem.

You have to get moving, whether it’s walking a dog or going for a jog, or lifting weights. I like basic push ups, sit ups, squats, etc. Body weight exercises are great because you can do them anywhere on earth.

Unless you like or prefer swimming which will give you even a better well-rounded full body workout. Swimming is also great for supplementing your existing exercise routine. Whatever exercise it is you’re doing now, add swimming to it for five days in a row, Monday to Friday, and then come tell me how you feel.

5. Break a Bad Habit

Ignoring your talents, focusing on past mistakes, being self-critical -- all of these thought patterns can impact your self-confidence. Applying for a new job? Now's a good time to break a bad habit.

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We’re all capable of quitting all bad habits out there, regardless of how terrible and addictive they are. We just need to begin by being fully honest with ourselves, go in a room, leave the BS out, and have a one-on-one conversation with the man or woman we are. Put everything on the table and see how you can get your life back together.

The worst the habit you’ll quit, the biggest the rewards and the best the feeling you’ll have. I quit smoking cigarettes 4 years ago and haven’t gone back to that habit since. For some, the bad habit could be pressing the snooze button too many times and not getting up on time. Whatever it is, choose one and eliminate it.

6. Talk to Friends and Family

Looking for a new job can be a long and laborious process. That's why it's a good idea to talk to your loved ones -- they will give you the support you need. Family always comes first, so if you have a member of your family whom you trust, start by sharing with them first.

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I know in my family while growing up I didn’t trust many people, or perhaps I didn’t have much family around me anyways so I never had the opportunity to share my thoughts much with people. But when I look at the last 10 years of my life, it’s the new people that I meet and friends that I make that make me feel good about myself. I feel more confident around them.

Maybe that’s just me but if you are thinking about your family and friends right now, and you’re thinking “I don’t really know anyone well enough to regularly talk about my career goals, job search, etc.” then you have got to start making more friends. Build a professional brand online, on LinkedIn, Instagram, whatever platform you like more and begin to reach out to like-minded professionals around the world.

7. Try a New Hobby

Research shows that a new hobby can improve your well-being. Now there's no excuse not to enroll in that dance or cookery class at your local community college!

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I’m an engineer and I work with a lot of engineering and technology professionals, so I speak on behalf of all us when I say “we’re all geeks”. And that’s awesome. We can keep ourselves busy with the next gadget that’s out there.

But it’s not just engineers, as human beings we’re curious by nature and we can achieve tremendous results in our personal and professional lives if we learn to focus that curiosity onto new hobbies that have a positive impact on ourselves. Ever time you solve a new puzzle you’ll feel great, don’t you? That’s how you build confidence in yourself.

8. Cut Negative People From Your Life

Negative people with negative thoughts can bring you down -- something you just don't need when looking for work. Replace flaky friends with positive influences that will enhance your self-confidence.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, doesn’t really matter, but most of your friends aren’t going to stick for long. People come and go. That’s the circle of life.

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If there’s someone in your crew that’s taking too much of your time, don’t feel too bad about dumping them. Be honest and upfront. Stand up for yourself so you can stop spending your precious time on things that are just a waste of time.

9. Be More Generous

"Being kind to others, and generous with yourself and your time and what you have, is a tremendous way to improve your self-image," says Zen Habits.

Learn, Master, Teach. Another one of the circles of life, from when we’re born till the last of our days; nature takes us on a long path that begins with the Curiosity to Learn, the Persistence to Master, and the Passion to Teach.

If you’re reading this article right now, all you need is the will to act and the curiosity to push forward and become a master in your field of work. As you learn more, as you study more, share what you’ve earned and teach others who have the problems you used to have. On this planet, you will receive more, if you first give more. Welcome to Earth.

10. Don't Give Up

Persistence is the most valuable key when looking for job opportunities. You will feel deflated when you don’t hear back from the resumes you have submitted. You will feel depressed when an employer rejects you, but keep calm and carry on -- it will give your self-confidence a much-needed boost.

There are thousands of companies that will be lucky to have you in their team. So if a small bunch of them tell you “NO”, then you tell them “NO”. Smile and move on. If you go to an interview and they’re not treating you right and you’re just not feeling them, forget them. Smile and move on to your next assignment, to your next mission. You got this.

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Nader Mowlaee is an Electronics Engineer, working as an Engineering Career Coach and Technical Recruiter since 2012. Nader is inspired by motivating confidence in engineers and helping job seekers take calculated actions to move towards their career goals. Nader’s mission is to enable engineers to break away from their fears and create the ideal career they want. He helps engineers strengthen their Communication, Personal Branding, and Networking skills, resulting in job interviews and job offers fast. You can contact Nader on LinkedIn.