Building Career Confidence

I realize that some of my previous posts for this blog have been saturated with a “go get ‘em” message where I express my ideals that the world is your oyster and you can do whatever you want. That being said, I realize this is not always the case, especially for students. Although rare, I still get a slight case of the jitters in some situations

Nervousness is almost always due to over analyzing the situation and pressuring yourself into a perfectionist mentality or the worry about conforming to going by the book. Nerves are natural, but can be overcome.

Here are some tips on how to build your confidence as you begin your career:

Dress in what makes you comfortable

I put this first because I think it’s the easiest to achieve but the most overlooked. While you should always be presentable in the workplace, make sure you are comfortable in your clothing and in your environment. If you’re not comfortable wearing a shirt and tie every day, don’t join a company that has that culture. Its not to say that they’re a bad company, its just not a fit for you.

Being comfortable is essential to being confident. If you’re confident and comfortable with the way you look everyday, then that will spill over into your performance.

Make mistakes

You are a student and guess what… you are expected to make mistakes! That is the only way to learn. Keep that in mind because maintaining a “Nothing to Lose” attitude can be a game-changer for any intern or junior level employee. Anyone can be cautious, but understanding that mistakes are a part of growth allows you to move forward and leave an impression.

Mistakes do not come in waves for those who are confident in their abilities–they serve as infrequent stepping-stones in a much bigger picture.

You are the commodity

In the internship process, there are two stages in your association with companies that you are interested in. You are either a prospect for a position they NEED filled or you have already gotten the job. (I don’t count anything else, because if you are rejected, your association in that capacity is no longer present.)

In the first case, you are a candidate for the position that they currently have open. This means that you are someone they need. Never think that you need them because – 1. Your confidence is probably shot 2. You’ve already dug yourself into a big hole. They need to fill the position and I can tell you right now, they want to end their interview process as soon as possible. They want you to be the one. This puts you in a great position–you can be an asset to their needs and goals. Present yourself like it.

In the second case, you have already gotten the job. This means they believe in your abilities to help them as a company. From your first day, there is no reason you should not see yourself as an asset to them. Remember, you have been selected for that position to benefit them as much as they will benefit you.


Harrison is the Community Manager at MBA@UNC, the new Online MBA program at the University of North Carolina and sticks to his entrepreneurial roots as the founder of the global social good campaign, Tweet Drive. As evidenced through his previous projects, Harrison has a passion for all things social media, philanthropy, and finding new ways for students to understand the power of a brand. Before moving to New York and while still a student at Temple University, Harrison founded the PR/Social Media consulting firm, Kratz PR as well as Engage TV and the #PRStudCast podcast.  Feel free to connect with him to discuss community, social good, branding, or the Philadelphia Phillies on Twitter, @KratzPR or Linkedin


Related posts:

  1. A Career Navigation System
  2. Standing Out During a Career Fair
  3. Developing a Vogue Career – Part II

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