We’re not all blessed with the confidence gene, are we? Some of us get panicky if the self-checkout is closed and we have to speak to an actual real-life human person. Some of us feel physically sick when we have to interview for a job. Some of us just don’t know what to say when we’re seated next to strangers at events.
We’ll let you into a secret – a spectacularly small number of people are naturally confident. For the rest of us, it’s something we need to work on. And the good news is, there’s lots you can do to ensure you’re coming across as cool, poised, and self-assured.
We often get feedback from students saying they didn’t feel overly confident in interviews for placements, graduate jobs, and sometimes part-time roles. So we thought today we’d share 8 practical things you can do boost your confidence – not just for interviews, but for general life, too.
1. Imagine yourself being successful
Visualisation is a very powerful tool to have at your disposal. People in the sporting world (including the likes of Tiger Woods and Billie Jean King) have been using it for years, and consider it essential to their success. Essentially what you need to do is imagine yourself being successful. So, if you’re going for a job interview, imagine it going really well, and the recruiters offering you the job. You could even take it a step further and imagine yourself in the role.
2. Use positive affirmations
Affirmations can also be incredibly powerful. The language you use when talking to yourself has a massive impact on your confidence. If you’re saying to yourself ‘I’m going to mess up this interview,’ then your chances of messing it up increase. Instead, try saying phrases such as ‘I’m going to be great in this interview.’ You can also say to yourself: ‘I am calm’, ‘I am confident’ or ‘I’m the best candidate for the job.’
3. Dress to impress
Think about how you feel when you’re slobbing about in trackies, verses when you’re all dressed up for a nice event. Dressing to impress immediately improves your confidence. You hold your head high and you walk taller. If you’re going for an interview, whip out that smart dress that makes you feel like Karren Brady, or dust off the sharp suit that makes you look like Tom Hiddleston.
4. Write a list of your achievements
It’s very easy to go into an interview with a case of imposter syndrome, worrying that you won’t get the job because you’re not smart, experienced, or skilled enough. Remind yourself of how accomplished you are by making a list of your achievements. Everything from ‘I got a B in A-level maths’ to ‘I organised an event that raised over £500 for charity.’ It doesn’t matter how big or small you might think these achievements are, get them on your list. Read it whenever you’re having a wobble.
Whether it’s a genuine smile or a fake one, your brain can’t tell the difference. If you’re worrying about an interview, or just having a rough day, try smiling. It tricks your brain into believing you’re happy, and you’ll feel the positive emotions that will boost your mood and lift your confidence.
6. Practice deep breathing
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of deep breathing before. Taking a few deep breaths can work wonders on your nerves and help you to feel calm and composed – perfect if you’re heading into an interview. Take a deep breath in, feeling your lungs expand, and count slowly to four while you’re doing it. Then, breathe out for four, slowly letting your lungs deflate. Repeat this a few times until you can feel yourself relax.
7. Adjust your posture
Similar to point 5 – if you’re not feeling confident, stand like you are anyway. Fake it until you make it, as they say. Studies have found that when you stand confidently, your brain receives a signal that you are powerful. A psychologist at UC Berkley discovered that having good posture makes you feel self-assured even if you don’t really feel that way! So straighten your back, pull your shoulders back, and hold your head high. You’ve got this.
8. Prepare, prepare, prepare
A huge thing that affects my own confidence is how much preparation I’ve done; whether it’s reading up for an interview, checking my to-do list for an event I’m organising, or going over a speech for the hundredth time before I deliver it to lots of people. If you’ve not prepared, the chances are you won’t feel confident with what you’re doing. If you’ve done everything you possibly can to get ready, then you have nothing to worry about.
Written by Abby Sweeting, Careers+Placements