Career Management is About Confidence

By Scot Herrick | Job Search

Sep 16

HP just announced they will be laying off 25,000 people in the next couple of years, consolidating their purchase of Electronic Data Systems. Lehman Brothers just went bankrupt. Merrill Lynch was just purchased by Bank of America (who will undoubtedly lay a bunch of people off once they figure out what they have).

And here we are talking about managing a career. While you are concerned about finding or keeping your job. That’s a legitimate concern.

When all you read about is disaster, it is easy to lose confidence that the work environment will get better. Yet, having the self-esteem and discipline to face job obstacles is more critical then ever.

How do you get confident in your career capabilities?

Know your accomplishments

What you have accomplished in your work is the critical piece that your next manager will need to know to hire you. Even if it is in the same company, a manager wants to know how you will help reach their business goals. Your accomplishments will give the right answers to the questions.

Know current job skills

Your current job requires certain skills for success. Without them, you would not be successful in your work. What are those skills? Most people can’t quickly enumerate them when asked — and that makes it look like you don’t know what you are good at. Make a list of your current job skills. Then see if there are additional ones that you need to go and learn to become better.

Know your network

Not have a network of people you can talk with. But know the people in your network. When you know lots of people in your network and constantly add to your circle of friends and acquaintances, you build a support system for your life and work. Plus, you become aware of more opportunities through your network.

Know your professional brand

Are you the troubleshooter? Are you the person at the leading edge of your technology? Are you the person who gets work done? Knowing your professional brand in the marketplace will tell you whether you are on the right track or what needs improving. All of us have a professional brand. Make yours the one you want to have in the market.

Know your finances

In difficult times, there is nothing that will relieve the stress of something bad happening at work like knowing you have a year’s take-home pay in the bank. Yes, this is difficult to achieve. But to have confidence means you are coming from a position of strength, knowing that it is OK to turn down a position that is not right for you. Money in the bank is a great way to have that confidence.

There are other ways to build confidence, of course. This looks at it from the perspective of your career. What other ways have you used to build your self-esteem and confidence?

  • Well stated, Scot. There are so many talented people out there who are flying blind in the areas you noted. Confidence can’t breathe without knowledge.

  • Louisa says:

    I am so happy I just came across your post! I work as a recruiter in Boston for Hollister Staffing ( and specialize in placing candidates in the financial services field. All of the candidates I have right now are so discouraged about finding a career in the industry, and rightfully so. Your advice as to how to find confidence in your career abilities is great, I can’t wait to pass this post on to some of my candidates, I think it will really help them. Thanks again!

  • Scot says:

    @Louisa – The confidence factor is HUGE for people who have been under the gun all of the time with failing companies. You end up getting a “bunker mentality” with these companies and it is tough to overcome.

  • […] dealing with your personal finances, I’ve long recommended saving one year’s take-home pay. I have seen few personal financial advisers favor that amount of savings; most say an emergency […]

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