Confidence Is a Critical Job-search Tool

By Trina Fleming

Searching for a job these days is hard work. You must make sure that your resume stands out, that you are prepared to dazzle potential employers with your interview answers, that your handshake is firm, your body language positive and that you are dressed in a way that exemplifies your professionalism. But all that is still not enough to get you a job. More than not the critical element to getting a job today is confidence. And for many job seekers whose job search has lasted about 40 weeks, longer than any time since 1948, confidence is the one thing that they lack.

In the past, most job seekers believed they could get a job because of their education, because of their experience. But in this job market, education and experience is not enough to get them a job offer. Confidence is one of the critical factors employers are looking for when they make a hiring decision. When a potential employer picks up on a lack of confidence, they put less stock in the candidate's abilities. And because confidence generally comes from one's dealings with the world, long-term unemployment or long-term rejection will often have a negative impact on confidence. In order to be successful at their job search, job seekers must find and display the self-confidence that comes from within.

One way to boost self-confidence during a job search is to write down your accomplishments and achievements. It is not enough to know where you've been successful; you need to know exactly what you've achieved and see it written down so that you can keep referring to it. You will most likely not include every accomplishment on your resume, so keep a list. Use the list to formulate answers to interview questions and casual conversation with your network. This is your time to shine and be willing to share your successes with pride.

It is also important to stay active. During your job search some of your days will be filled with appointments and places to be and some days will be filled with phone calls and Internet searching. But every day should include things that fuel your brain. Read books, exercise, journal, volunteer, take a class, learn a new language; do things for yourself that energize you and keep you positive.

And after you get the call to schedule an interview, prepare. Practice your introduction; practice the answer to the question that will always be asked, "Tell me about yourself." Research the company, Google the person who will be interviewing you, know the company's mission and the projects they are working on. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. Remember, an interview is not just a time to expound on the experience and skills that your resume has summarized, but it is a time to persuade the interviewer that you can do the job, that you are a good fit for the organization and that their organization will be better off having you as part of the team. The candidate that can successfully make that argument will generally get the job... and that takes confidence.

Hiring managers want to be assured that they are making the right hiring decision. They don't want to make a mistake and hire the wrong person. Your confidence will help the interviewer be more confident about making the decision to hire you.

WHW works with 4,000 disadvantaged and challenged job seekers every year providing them with the practical resources necessary for finding a job. But more importantly, we help them find the confidence that is critical. Whether the client is a survivor of domestic violence, dealing with homelessness, trying to get back on their feet after incarceration, dealing with a disability or one of many whose job has vanished during this most recent economic downturn, WHW provides an environment of education, training and hope that instills confidence. We help job seekers believe that they can be successful and that they will get a job.

If you would like to be part of transforming the lives of families struggling with unemployment, join WHW in the Job Raising Challenge! No contribution is too small and every dollar has an impact. Go to and let's put America Back to Work!

Trina is the VP of Marketing and Communications at WHW and is responsible for the development and implementation of WHW's strategic marketing and public relations activities. She oversees the shaping of WHW's brand message and communication objectives of the organization.