Having the confidence to plan your career

Having the confidence to plan your career can be a huge driver for your success, it motivates us to set goals for our future and make good decisions on how to get there.

What you will learn

  • How to harness confidence as a skill
  • Tips on how to overcome lack of confidence
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Confidence enables us to learn from our previous experiences and push ourselves out of our comfort zones. It also encourages us to trust our abilities and judgements in any situation which helps when faced with challenges.

The good news is that confidence is something you can learn and build on. Even if you don’t feel particularly confident when planning your career, you can become more confident in time, it is important to remain optimistic and look for ways you can build confidence. Read on to discover our tips on how to grow your confidence when career planning.

How to build confidence

Confidence is a skill that can be learned just like any other. You may have a lack of confidence in your abilities, but it is important to separate that from your ambition for the future. We must invest the time and energy in building this confidence so we can seek out new opportunities and gain the success we deserve. Here are some tips to help you make a start.

Think positively

First, you need to stop thinking negatively about yourself and your situation. When we lack confidence, we tend to self-depreciate and have a pessimistic outlook, but by thinking positively and concentrating on what we are good at, we are actively reshaping the way we think. If the doubts start to creep in take a note of what you feel negatively about and challenge yourself how you can change them. Take the time to empower yourself.

Set meaningful goals

When we set goals, we are creating targets for our progression. Consider the things you may need to do to achieve your goals and break them down into small attainable steps. By breaking down your goals this way, they become less daunting and more achievable in the short term.

Think about the knowledge and skills you will need to reach your goals. Do you lack the experience to gain the job you want? Think about anything you can do in the short term to build on this experience. Could you do an online course part time? Are there any volunteering or training courses you can sign up for?

There are plenty of opportunities out there to help build on your skills and experience, by talking to a careers adviser, a mentor or by conducting online research you can find the right path to achieve your goals that will help you to build confidence in your career. Take a look at our learn and train page to find out more about building your skills.

By harnessing your goals, your confidence will start to build as your skills and knowledge grows.

Think about what you have already achieved

Take the time to think about what you have already achieved in your life, no matter how big or small. There may have been a time where you have lacked confidence but overcame that and achieved your goal, how did you do this? List out your achievements and keep this as a running log, this can be evidence of what you can do. Use the Achievements Tool to help you identify yours.

Consider your strengths

Becoming confident might not happen overnight, but when we start building on our strengths, we can be more confident in the abilities we already have. There is an abundance of support that can help you work out where your strengths lie.

Ask your friends and family to help here, you may not think you have a strength in something that they see every day, ask them what strengths they think you have and why? You can also speak to a careers adviser and work out what strengths you already have to help you attain specific roles and where you can go in your career.

Remember to consider what skills you can offer outside your qualifications, are there any skills or experience you may have gained when working at a part time job or voluntary position?

This can help you to shape your CV and apply to positions you may not have considered in the past. If you’re uncertain what specific career you would like to go into why not explore career possibilities, take a look at the My World of Work career options page.

When we reflect on what others think our strengths are, we can begin to realise it internally. Once you have done this you can make a list of where your strengths shine and where your talents lie, this can be a reminder to yourself of the skills you have when you don’t feel at your most confident.

When you take the time out to work on your confidence you will begin to see a difference in your attitude and outlook in your career and daily life. Feeling good about your past achievements, and setting yourself achievable goals for the future, helps you to build and maintain that confidence, and remember there is always support out there to help you with your confidence.

Some other articles you may find helpful

Overcoming a lack of experience

You’re new to this – and it’s ok. Here are some ways to get that all-important experience for a role.

Where to start researching for your career

Here are some ways you can find out about relevant careers with your qualification.

Taking charge of your goals and achievements

Own your achievements and discover how to present them well to employers.

Use our Skills Discovery to get the job you want

Our brand new tool will help you identify what skills you have – that employers love to see.