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Last Updated on April 10, 2018

Gain Confidence in Your Career (9 Tips to Land Your Dream Job)

Gain Confidence in Your Career (9 Tips to Land Your Dream Job)

A career setback–which can negatively impact our self-confidence–can happen at any moment of our life. Imagine the impact of the experience of being demoted, overlooked for a promotion or feeling as if you are the last person on the team to receive recognition.

Despite hard work, there are times when it seems impossible to get ahead; this can certainly have an impact on efforts to be more confident or motivated in your career.

Can you relate? You are not alone.

A Gallup Survey reveals, “85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work.”[1]

Yet, unhappiness in your career no longer needs to be your reality.

In this article, we hold the golden truth to help you learn how to gain confidence land the dream job that you deserve. Read on to find out how to change your life forever.

True Secrets to Career Happiness

1. Do Some Soul Searching

What is the point of soul searching? It is a process of self awareness.

Now is the best time to look deep within yourself to discover what will make you truly happy in your career. For example: there are many people that have pursued a career simply to make their parents happy. Society often tells us certain careers, like being a doctor, are most rewarding because they offer high earning potential.

True happiness can present itself in many ways. The key is to find the career that will make you happiest. Here are a few ideas to help you start soul searching:

  • A road trip with colleagues
  • A one-week vacation
  • Beginning a career journal
  • Meditation

Approaching a career without a plan can turn towards the opposite direction of what you originally intended.

Giving yourself an opportunity to clear your head of negative thoughts is a great way to get started.

Here are several helpful things to consider on your soul search:

Personality: Most of us do not realize that certain jobs are designed for people with certain personalities.

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For example, an introvert can succeed as a human resources manager, writer or in information technology (IT) professional. An extrovert may be happy in a sales role, working directly with customers or working in public relations in front of the camera.

Happiness: You might need to switch careers in the pursuit of happiness. Think about the environment and job responsibilities that will match how you interact with people.

Performance: Its time to be honest with yourself. How well are you performing? Do you keep making the same mistakes? The only way to grow is to review mistakes and commit to stop repeating them in the future.

Progress: Pursuing a goal and letting it go because of a disappointment is common. Think about the personal groups you joined last year you stopped attending.

It is better to be honest with yourself that the ambition to continue pursuing a goal has discontinued and it is time to resume where you left off.

Soul searching can be a liberating experience.

Instead of searching for answers outside of yourself, search within yourself to help guide you in taking your first step towards your dream job.

2. Ask Your Manager for the Truth

There is a difference between the job we want and the reality of the job we can get.

Your manager is the right person to ask for real advice on whether you are fit for a new position. The advice from a family member or friend is tempting, but it can potentially prolong the time it may take for you to succeed.

A direct manager spends most of the day working with you and can offer specific examples of strengths and weaknesses.

Here is a list of questions to ask a manager for the truth:

  • How can I improve as an employee?
  • What career advice can you offer?
  • What are my chances of promotion?
  • Do I meet or exceed expectations?
  • How do I rank on the team?
  • What was my best piece of work?

The truth hurts, but it can set you free from setting low standards in a career. Document the conversation with a list of actions steps on what to do next.

In today’s workforce, most managers do not have time to sit one-on-one with employees to develop their skills unless it is impacting work performance.

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Be proactive and request a quarterly meeting with the manager to track your progress.

Tracking progress can be a confidence booster. It will help keep you on track of your goals making you feel as if you have full control of your destiny.

3. Create Personal Branding Tools

Personal branding tools amplify your skills and talents. These could be:

  • An up-to-date LinkedIn profile with a mix of weekly social engagement with your connections.
  • An eye-catching resume template with a colorscheme that matches your personality.
  • Business cards customized to your industry that you are proud to share at networking events.
  • A reference letter about your skills from a professional with experience working directly with you. (Create an effective reference letter by giving the writer the job description you are targeting so they can highlight your most relevant skills).[2]
  • A 30-60-90 plan that will engage a recruiter (what you can offer an organization in the first 90 days of employment).

You can use these personal branding tools to increase your chances of being hired for a new job.

A few of these tools can be used when connecting with people online that are interested in learning about you for an upcoming opportunity.

4. Jot Down Your Achievements

A list of achievements tucked away in your wallet or purse can make you feel better about where you are in life.

When I experience a disappointment, I read my list to boost my self-worth. Other people will not always be available (or willing) to remind you of your greatness. So do it yourself!

A list of achievements can include the following:

  • Awards received
  • Buying a new house
  • Completing a salsa class
  • Moving for a new job

It is a confidence-building ritual that can be used whether you are at the pinnacle of a career or are just starting your journey.

5. Help Out New Employees

One of the best ways to become a confident person is to create positive change in the lives of other people.

If you participate in a mentorship program or help guide the career of a new employee, once that person succeeds it will make you feel better about yourself. They will think highly of you because of the influence you have had on their journey.

Here are a few ways to help newbies on the job:

• Introduce new hires to experienced employees

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• Invite new employees out for lunch to teach them about the company

• Offer to help a new hire when you notice they are struggling

• Sit near a new hire to be a direct contact for help

How does this improve confidence? If your advice can help new employees increase work productivity, your manager will recognize the hard work.

This could  turn into a positive conversation with your manager that leads to a promotion or a raise.

6. Stand Out From the Competition

The conventional way of applying for a job online will not set you apart from hundreds of people in your field that want the same job.

Have you heard of the hidden job market? According to Fortune, “job market in which the commonly quoted statistic tells us 70-80% jobs are not even published.”

The secret to getting ahead is tapping into your talent to find creative ways to stand out.

Listed below are a few tips to help you succeed:

  • Start blogging if you are a subject matter expert.
  • Start a group on LinkedIn to connect with people in your field.
  • Invite a few colleagues to start a committee outside of work and become the president of the group.
  • Write an e-book on an ongoing topic in your industry offering a compelling solution to a problem. Remember to share it with colleagues.

At times you need to do things other people are not willing to do.

Imagine implementing a new idea at work that helps the company achieve a high level of success. You will feel good about this success no matter where you are in your career.

7. Get Inspired

The most successful people in history experienced challenges in their career. Read the biography of a person that you admire who has had major career success. It just may change your thoughts about your own situation.

Not only can it teach you about their mindset and decisions they made, it will also give you the confidence to continue on the path to pursue your dream job.

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8. Seek Out a Career Coach

Let’s face it. We can’t achieve a high level of success without guidance.

Most of us expect our family and friends to have all the answers. Yet, they are not career coaches and can only provide the advice they would do if they were in your shoes which is limited.

A career coach will have an in-depth conversation about the full scope of your career aspirations. Most are well connected to key decision makers at organizations and can provide advice that a friend simply can’t offer.

Benefits to working with a career coach are:

  • They work with people like you every day
  • They offer unfiltered, honest feedback on your progress
  • Provides direction when you are confused
  • Holds you accountable for your goals
  • You’ll get an unbiased opinion from a qualified professional

You don’t have to go on your career journey alone. Interview several career coaches to ensure you find a great fit to guide you.

9. Trust the Journey

We live in a society that expects results overnight.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “life is a journey, not a destination.” It is about enjoying the process whether you succeed or fail.

Once we accept that our journey can be met with unexpected results, experiencing a setback becomes part of the process.

Here are a few ways to successfully trust the journey:

  • Don’t have high expectations
  • Remember there is room for improvement
  • Pursue one goal at a time to avoid disappointment
  • Re-write your list of goals when you experience failure

Think of life as a stock market chart: wins and losses are inevitable. By trusting your decisions, when you are faced with failure you’ll rest assured that it is a normal part of life to overcome.

Capture Your Career Confidence

The key to succeeding in life is stepping outside your comfort zone.

It can be terrifying to reach out to a manager for honest feedback or soul search to find answers. A daily success ritual of reading a list of your achievements and trusting that journey is a step closer to fulfilling your dreams.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash via images.unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Makeda Waterman

Freelance Writer

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Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

Forget Learning How to Multitask: Boost Productivity 10X More with Focus

There’s a dark side to the conveniences of the Digital Age. With smartphones that function like handheld computers, it has become increasingly difficult to leave our work behind. Sometimes it seems like we’re expected to be accessible 24/7.

How often are you ever focused on just one thing? Most of us try to meet these demands by multi-tasking.

Many of us have bought into the myth that we can achieve more through multi-tasking. In this article, I’ll show you how you can accomplish more work in less time. Spoiler alert: multi-tasking is not the answer.

Why is multitasking a myth?

The term “multi-tasking” was originally used to describe how microprocessors in computers work. Machines multitask, but people cannot.

Despite our inability to simultaneously perform two tasks at once, many people believe they are excellent multi-taskers.

You can probably imagine plenty of times when you do several things at once. Maybe you talk on the phone while you’re cooking or respond to emails during your commute.

Consider the amount of attention that each of these tasks requires. Chances are, at least one of the two tasks in question is simple enough to be carried out on autopilot.

We’re okay at simultaneously performing simple tasks, but what if you were trying to perform two complex tasks? Can you really work on your presentation and watch a movie at the same time? It can be fun to try to watch TV while you work, but you may be unintentionally making your work more difficult and time-consuming.

Your brain on multi-tasking

Your brain wasn’t designed to multi-tasking. To compensate, it will switch from task to task. Your focus turns to whatever task seems more urgent. The other task falls into the background until you realize you’ve been neglecting it.

When you’re bouncing back and forth like this, an area of the brain known as Broadmann’s Area 10 activates. Located in your fronto-polar prefrontal cortex at the very front of the brain, this area controls your ability to shift focus. People who think they are excellent multitaskers are really just putting Broadmann’s Area 10 to work.

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But I can juggle multiple tasks!

You are capable of taking in information with your eyes while doing other things efficiently. Scientifically speaking, making use of your vision is the only thing you can truly do while doing something else.

For everything else, you’re serial tasking. This constant refocusing can be exhausting, and it prevents us from giving our work the deep attention it deserves.

Think about how much longer it takes to do something when you have to keep reminding yourself to focus.

Why multitasking is failing you

Multitasking does more bad than good to your productivity, here’re 4 reasons why you should stop multitasking:

Multitasking wastes your time.

You lose time when you interrupt yourself. People lose an average of 2.1 hours per day getting themselves back on track when they switch between tasks.

In fact, some studies suggest that doing multiple things at once decreases your productivity by as much as 40%. That’s a significant loss in efficiency. You wouldn’t want your surgeon to be 40% less productive while you’re on the operating table, would you?

It makes you dumber.

A distracted brain performs a full 10 IQ points lower than a focused brain. You’ll also be more forgetful, slower at completing tasks, and more likely to make mistakes.

You’ll have to work harder to fix your mistakes. If you miss an important detail, you could risk injury or fail to complete the task properly.

This is an emotional response.

There’s so much data suggesting that multitasking is ineffective but people insist that they can multitask.

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Feeling productive fulfills an emotional need. We want to feel like we’re accomplishing something. Why accomplish just one item on the to-do list when you can check off two or three?

It’ll wear you out.

When you’re jumping from task to task, it can feel invigorating for a little while. Over time, this needs to fill every second with more and more work leads to burn out.

We’re simply not built to multitask, so when we try, the effect can be exhausting. This destroys your productivity and your motivation.

How to stop multitasking and work productively

Flitting back and forth between tasks feels second-nature after a while. This is in part because Broadmann’s Area 10 becomes better at serial tasking through time.

In addition to changing how the brain works, this serial tasking behavior can quickly turn into a habit.

Just like any bad habit, you’ll need to recognize that you need to make a change first. Luckily, there are a few simple things you can do to adjust to a lifestyle of productive mono-tasking:

1. Consciously change gears

Instead of trying to work on two distinct tasks at once, consider setting up a system to remind you when to change focus. This technique worked for Jerry Linenger, an American astronaut onboard the space station, Mir.

As an astronaut, he had many things to take care of every day. He set alarms for himself on a few watches. When a particular watch sounded, he knew it was time to switch tasks. This enabled him to be 100% in tune with what he was doing at any given moment.

This strategy is effective because the alarm served as his reminder for what was to come next. Linenger’s intuition about setting reminders falls in line with research conducted by Paul Burgess of University College, London on multitasking.

2. Manage multiple tasks without multitasking

Raj Dash of Performancing.com has an effective strategy for balancing multiple projects without multitasking. He suggests taking 15 minutes to acquaint yourself with a new project before moving on to other work. Revisit the project later and do about thirty minutes on research and brainstorming.

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Allow a few days to pass before knocking out the project in question. While you were actively work on other projects, your brain continues to problem solve-in the background.

This method works because it gives us the opportunity to work on several projects without allowing them to compete for your attention.

3. Set aside distractions

Your smartphone, your inbox and the open tabs on your computer are all open invitations for distraction. Give yourself time each day when you silence your notifications, close your inbox and remove unnecessary tabs from your desktop.

If you want to focus, you can’t give anything else an opportunity to invade your mental space.

Emails can be particularly invasive because they often have an unnecessary sense of urgency associated with them. Some work cultures stress the importance of prompt responses to these messages, but we can’t treat every situation like an emergency.

Designate certain times in your day for checking and responding to emails to avoid compulsive checking.

4. Take care of yourself

We often blame electronics for pulling us from our work, but sometimes our physical body forces us into a state of serial tasking. If you’re hungry while you’re trying to work, your attention will flip between your hunger and your work until you take care of your physical needs.

Try to take all your bio-breaks before you sit down for an uninterrupted stint of work.

In addition, you’ll also want to be sure you’re attending to your health in a broader sense. Getting enough exercise, practicing mindfulness and incorporating regular breaks into your day will keep you from being tempted by distractions.

5. Take a break

People are more likely to head to YouTube or check their social media when they need a break. Instead of trying to work and watch a mindless video at the same time, give yourself times when you’re allowed to enjoy your distracting activity of choice.

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Limit how much time you’ll spend on this break so that your guilt-free distraction time doesn’t turn into hours of wasted time.

6. Make technology your ally

Scientists are beginning to discover the detrimental effects of chronic serial tasking on our brains. Some companies are developing programs to curb this desire to multitask.

Apps like Forest turn staying focused into a game. Extensions like RescueTime help you track your online habits so that you can be more aware of how you spend your time.

The key to productivity: Focus

Multitasking is not the key to productivity. It’s far better to schedule time to focus on each task than it is to try to do everything at once.

Make use of the methods outlined above and prepare to be more effective and less exhausted in the process.

If you want to learn more about how to focus, don’t miss my other article:

How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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