When you’re starting out, it’s easy to feel intimidated by colleagues who have more experience than you. But your talents are valuable. Here are some tips on how to act as if you’re confident, whether you feel it or not.
Volunteer for projects that will require you to build new skills, even if you feel unsure of your abilities. This will prove you have the capacity to learn, adapt and grow. And it shows your superiors you’re eager to try new things.
Keep things in perspective
Remember, the mentors and colleagues you look up to weren’t as accomplished as they are now when they started out. Give yourself credit for what you’ve achieved so far.
Be a sponge
Seize every opportunity to learn from those above you. When your boss gives you feedback, if it rings true, try to incorporate it into your work moving forward. Discriminate between what’s constructive and what isn’t.
Chat with your girlfriends
There can be a lot of challenges to grapple with when you’re laying the foundation for your career. Chances are, your friends are in the same boat. Set aside time to commiserate with them—you’ll be reassured that you’re not the only one.
Being flustered will only make matters worse. Give yourself plenty of time in the morning to get to the office, so you arrive feeling ready to get started, not rushed. Work through your to-do list and respond to emails and other correspondences in a timely fashion. This will help you feel like you’ve got things under control.
Don’t let work consume you
Make time for fun activities with friends—or do something relaxing and rejuvenating on your own. Be fully present while you’re doing it—don’t let your mind drift back to the office. You’ll return to work recharged and prepared to take on the next challenge.
Never sell yourself short
Your insights are needed, regardless of how new you are to the business. Don’t be afraid to speak up in a meeting or propose an idea. The more you do this, the more your colleagues will value your opinion.
Give yourself brownie points
Start keeping track of your accomplishments. Every time you successfully complete a project or give a powerful presentation, make a note of it in a running document. Seeing your achievements in black and white is sure to boost your confidence—and it will be useful down the line when you’re making your case for a raise or promotion.
Be aware of your body language
Smile often, make eye contact and try to put an end to nervous habits like tapping your foot or fidgeting with jewelry. Even if your heart is racing, the right body language will help you appear cool and collected.
Don’t be afraid to give your real opinion, even if you’re worried someone will shoot it down. Saying only what others want to hear means they will agree with you, which can be momentarily gratifying. But it may also mean you will not offer an insight that could have made a big difference.
Feeling poised and put together is an instant confidence booster. So if you have a big presentation or interview, plan to wear an outfit that makes you feel great.