Confidence at work can be hard to come by—especially when you’re early in your career. Luckily, there are steps you can take to feel more self-assured at work, even when you’re the newbie.
Vanessa Gibbs — October 5, 2023
Confidence. When you have it, you feel like a million bucks. When you don’t, you begin to question everything. And when you don’t feel confident at work, it’s harder to bond with colleagues, share ideas that get you noticed, and feel comfortable day to day.
Research from job site Indeed found the majority of employees feel happier and perform better when they’re confident at work.
So how do you get this all-important confidence when you’re a fresh face in the work world? Keep reading for seven tips on developing confidence early in your career.
Am I the right person for this job?
Are my skills good enough to get results?
Did I get hired by a fluke?
If this sounds like your inner monologue, you’ve got imposter syndrome.
To help, embrace being early on in your career. Remind yourself that everyone goes through this beginner stage and comes out on the other side of it.
Think about where in your life you feel confident—maybe at the rock-climbing gym or when surrounded by close friends. You were once a beginner here too, not knowing how to climb or meeting new people for the first time.
Go easy on yourself and trust that confidence will come as you find your footing at work. But for some help, check out this Collection on how to overcome imposter syndrome. Through this set of 13 Blinks, you can learn easy mental exercises that reduce self-criticism, why and how to be kinder to yourself, and how to drown out that negative self-talk.
Grab a notebook and pen: it’s soul-searching time. Write down a list of your strengths—both work-related skills and any strengths you don’t currently use in your job, but maybe come through at home or in relationships. Ask friends, colleagues, and even your boss for inspiration.
This self-reflection exercise is more than just an ego boost. It can help you determine which projects play to your strengths and how you can do more of what you’re good at in your role.
Pro tip: Reread this list when imposter syndrome strikes to remind yourself you were hired for a reason.
Next, brainstorm your weaknesses and—this part is crucial—make a plan to improve them.
Utilize learning apps like Blinkist, courses, workshops, or speak to HR or your boss about any Learning & Development programs your company offers.
Working on your weaknesses can boost your performance and confidence in the long run. But just knowing you’re doing something about it is enough to make you feel more self-assured today.
Whether it’s honing your public speaking skills or staying up-to-date with SEO best practices, learning should be a staple in your workweek.
Upskilling can do wonders for your confidence, especially if you’re working on areas you’re not so confident in. But it’s easy to prioritize tasks that look more productive, like attending meetings or answering emails.
If you’re too busy to learn, speak to your boss about prioritizing and carving out time in your week or each month for professional development. They should be onboard. Showing a desire to learn and grow is a good trait in an employee, after all.
And if you’ve got the time but often postpone learning, block it into your calendar and treat it as you would a review with your boss—nonnegotiable.
Check out this Blink to discover why learning during your first 90 days on the job is crucial. It’ll help you map out this critical transition period and offer comprehensive and practical strategies for surviving (and thriving) past the first three months.
It’s week one in your new job and you’re introduced to 100 new faces—totally overwhelming. And not great for your confidence, either. We’d be sweating too!
Even if you’ve been in your role for a few months or years, you may still find it intimidating to ask questions or share your ideas in large meetings or with senior colleagues.
The solution? One-to-one meetings.
Speaking one-on-one with your boss and coworkers can be much less anxiety-inducing than speaking in front of large groups.
It’s easier to form a connection, which is key for feeling like you fit in at work. And it’s easier to ask questions, share about your role, and be yourself when you’re dealing with one person.
As you get to know people and your confidence grows, you may find those large meetings become less daunting.
Getting critical feedback when your confidence is shaky can feel hard. But feedback is your secret weapon when it comes to career progression.
Feedback can reveal any blind spots and weaknesses you may want to explore. It can work the other way too, revealing strengths you never knew you had or getting validation on a project you weren’t feeling as confident about.
Most people find feedback helpful and motivating, so don’t be afraid to ask for it. You don’t need to ask for a full performance review. Start small and ask for feedback after giving an internal presentation, for example.
If you’re feeling nervous about criticism or how you’ll take feedback, start this Blink to Thanks for the Feedback. It’s all about different types of feedback, the importance of each, and how you can take any kind of feedback in a positive, constructive way to better yourself in your career and relationships.
Your lack of confidence in yourself may stem from feelings like you can’t communicate well at work. After all, workplace communication is not exactly something we learn at school, and yet, it’s one of the most important skills to have. Plus, some conversations just make you squirm at work with people you are less familiar with!
When you can communicate effectively, you’ll feel more confident:
This list could go on and on.
Effective communication at work looks different from effective communication with friends. And it changes when you’re speaking to your boss, colleagues, external stakeholders, and—if your career goes there—direct reports.
Communication is one of the top skills companies need, so learning how to do it well could set you up for confidence and success for years to come.
Whether it’s your first day on the job or you’re years into your role, but surrounded by more experienced colleagues, confidence may be in short supply. That’s normal.
The good news?
Confidence is a muscle you can grow, and you’ll become a happier, better-performing employee, both now and for your entire career ahead.
Vanessa is a freelance writer living in London. She mostly writes for tech companies in the health, travel, and education spaces, and loves diving into topics about work culture and professional development. When not at her laptop, she loves to run, travel, and scuba dive wherever she can.
If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome, you probably aren’t alone. Why not propose bringing Blinkist for Business to your team? This way, you can share these tools together.Learn more here