Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Confidence: Your Most Compelling Qualification

You sent your resume and cover letter in for a review to WGU Career & Professional Development and your resume is now beautifully formatted, your credentials are front and center and you have crafted the perfect accomplishment statements. You’re all set for your interview, right? Well…almost. Before you go into that interview, you want to make sure you have your most compelling qualification in place: confidence. True confidence has an amazing way of bringing attention to you as an individual in a way that your qualifications, credentials and past experience on paper, simply cannot. Now don’t get me wrong – of course an employer needs to know that you can do the job and have the proper credentials to back it up – but those are the preliminaries. During the actual interview, it becomes more about the rapport that a hiring manager feels or doesn’t feel as you answer questions, and that rapport deepens when you share who you are and what you have to bring - with confidence. It’s true that some people have a natural confidence but confidence stems primarily from a sense of worth and overall preparedness and so it is a skill that can be developed.

So, if you struggle in the area of confidence, be encouraged! Here are some key strategies to help you engage more effectively with employers and make you a strong contender in the job market.

Do not focus on what you don’t know, what you don’t have or what you consider a weakness. There will always be something you don’t know or don’t have and dwelling on that is a confidence-stealer. Focus on what you do know, what you are proud of accomplishing and what stirs your heart. Write it down, look it over, and speak it out, over and over again. WGU Career & Professional Development has some great tools to help guide you in the process. Take advantage of our free self-assessment tools designed to help you in determining of your strengths.

Be prepared. The more prepared you are the more confident you will be. Preparation means that you have taken time to know who you are and what you value in addition to researching the specific industry, company or role. It means that you have selected popular interview questions, actually prepared answers for these questions and practiced those answers in front of the mirror, friends, family or a career advisor. You have contacted professionals in the field, you read articles, books or blogs daily – you have basically immersed yourself in the thing that you are preparing for. This constant focus and dedicated practice will give your confidence an incredible boost.  The Career Center has several resources that can help you prepare.  Check out the Interview Question Library for a sampling of questions to prepare and then utilize the Practice Interview Software to record an interview. It’s a great way to observe how you look and sound during an interview and identify areas for adjustment. For additional feedback, you can email your recorded interview to careers@wgu.edu. In addition to interview resources, WGU Career & Professional Development offers employer research resources to find relevant articles or company information and informational interview resources to use as a guide to setting up and having conversations with professionals in the field.

Learn from setbacks. An article by Fast Company on job search strategy confirms that how you view setbacks in your job search can impact your overall career success. If you choose to view a setback as a learning opportunity, you can go back over the process and identify areas for improvement. Some key lessons could include reviewing and refining your answers, having a friend or WGU Career Specialist do a practice interview with you using the new information you have acquired and doing a little more research on your selected company. Taking these positive, forward-thinking steps will ensure that you are even more prepared for the next round. So settle in your mind that you will continue to press forward, even after setbacks, and create your own future. This will make it easier to relax and just be yourself, which is a natural breeding ground for confidence and success!