At the best of times, confidence can be a finite resource. For many reasons, your confidence can take a hit, especially when re-entering the labour market. However, there are also many ways you can build it back up.
Our employment advisors are skilled and experienced at supporting our clients in their journey back to employment and training. They consistently advise our clients on both the small and big ways you can nurture a sense of self-efficacy, the belief in one’s ability to accomplish tasks.
Job seeking can be a particularly damaging attack on our self-esteem. Rejection and uncertainty are not easy things to experience and can easily erode our confidence. Let’s look at some of the insights our employment advisors have gained in helping people access confidence they didn’t know they had.
Jean Browne, our Operations Excellence Specialist said this: “I think our Employment Advisors have gained the valuable insight that confidence is not that absence of discomfort or fear. We view confidence as a skill, not a personality type and therefore we can encourage these skills.”
Our employment advisors often meet clients who are unable to see the many accomplishments and skills they have. We are not just talking about qualifications or past work experience here. We are also talking about soft skills like being a good communicator, juggling family responsibilities, resilience, positivity and facing adversity.
Paul Ennis, one of our employment advisors who is also a member of our own employee wellness team said this: “One of the things I like to concentrate on with our clients is documenting their past accomplishments and their positive attributes. Focusing on transferable skills, soft skills and what they are good at. Digging into these helps your confidence and belief in what you can accomplish in the future.”
Being kind to yourself is one of the most crucial and fundamental elements in developing and sustaining your confidence. Pushing through difficult conditions while being your own worst critic just doesn’t work. Rather, become your own champion!
Paul is a big advocate for how far self-compassion take you: “Remember job seeking can be tough even with supports in place to help you to secure employment. My advice would be to counsel yourself as you would a best friend or family member, to have some self-compassion towards yourself and to remind yourself of the incredible efforts you have made so far.”
When people hear the word ‘networking, it can sound like high-level corporate ‘schmoozing.’ That is not what it is. It is simply reaching out to people in the industry you want to get into and asking them for some advice. Not everyone will respond but you will find that most people are happy to offer some tips. Just by doing that you have established contact.
Every interview, even the ones that don’t go your way, can teach you something. If you get stuck on a tricky question, make sure you have a response ready for the next time. Rejection can also teach you something. If you’re turned down for a job you want, you can always ask for some feedback. If a workplace does offer you some feedback, make sure you are ready to see the criticism in a positive light and learn from it. It is not a failing, it’s simply something you have yet to learn.
“The advice I would always give my clients when their confidence is knocked during job searching is to remember that the role you applied for wasn’t meant for you. Maybe the person hiring was looking for a particular set of skills. Perhaps you had nine of these skills, but they needed the full ten. The lack of one skill does not define you. Allow it to motivate you to work harder and learn a new skill.”
What small steps can you take to get nearer to a job that improves your life? It could be contacting a few people to ask for tips, researching places you would like to work or making a well-tailored CV. Keep in mind that if your confidence is low, these steps should start small; as time goes on, they get bigger and build up incrementally. The small actions we take often make all the difference in the long term.