The importance of self-esteem & confidence

8 minutes
Tracey George

By Tracey George

Healthy levels of self-esteem and confidence are the starting blocks of your employability journey.

It is no surprise there is so much focus on employability and everything that goes with trying to take proactive steps in a depressed job market to stand out from the crowd. Enhancing your employability is often focused on things such as perfecting a CV or writing strong job applications, upskilling, volunteering, or even retraining. This makes sense, but what has become starkly apparent to me in recent weeks is that without a solid foundation of positive self-esteem (overall feelings of self) and self-confidence (feelings in relation to our skills and ability), it may not actually be enough to secure a new role in the current climate. Reflections on both our self-esteem and self-confidence should be the first factors we consider in our employability journey, the other stuff (admittedly very important) is secondary to that and can follow.

Let’s face it, self-confidence has always been important in the job application process; however, I have never felt more strongly about its importance than I do now while we continue to navigate the reality of living through a pandemic. Even the most confident amongst us will have suffered from feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, and a lack of control. Now take someone who has been furloughed or worse, lost their job. It could be someone who, despite working throughout the past few months, has felt a lack of job security. Then throw in a good measure of other factors that have challenged our overall well-being, and I can’t help but think that no matter how much self-confidence we have, through nurture or nature, this pandemic will have tempered our confidence levels to varying degrees.

We can’t develop self-confidence overnight, and sadly, a blog of this nature will not work miracles either. However, if all it does is realign where the focus may need to be or serves as a reminder of why we are all deserving of having a purposeful job that is both fulfilling and offers us an essential livelihood, then it would have been worth me sharing my tips with you today.

Challenge your inner critic

It is not uncommon to experience unhelpful thoughts that can lead us to be negative about ourselves, particularly when compared with others who we perceive to be more successful. Ensure that when you experience such thoughts, you allow yourself time and space to reflect on these thoughts. Evaluate those that you feel may be valid and discard those that are unfounded and unhelpful. Self-awareness is often the first step in helping you shift your belief about yourself.

Do not allow social media to feed any insecurities

Consider that other people’s seemingly successful and prosperous lives on social media platforms usually showcase the best bits, and these profiles often lack evidence of the struggles or challenges that have been faced along the way. It could be worth considering whether you should unfollow or disconnect from certain contacts.

A healthy and balanced approach to your use of social media platforms can help limit your exposure to making comparisons with others. Also, try to stay focused on the proactive and constructive reasons for accessing your social media accounts, which in the context of job searching, should be to network, share your insights, and keep an eye out for those job opportunities.

Be your own best friend

I am sure you really like your best friend, and if asked, you could reel off so many positive things about them. Is this true about yourself though? Start by telling yourself that you have a lot to offer. Positive self-talk is very powerful, and if you really want to challenge yourself, look yourself in the mirror and say things like; ‘I have so much valuable experience in xyz’, ‘I will be successful in my next job’ or ‘I know there is an employer out there that will value my skills and what I bring to their team’. This technique can transform how we think and speak of ourselves and will remind us of the positive aspects of who we are.

Visualization is powerful

This is another powerful technique that is tried and tested and can really facilitate our ability to start adopting more positive thoughts and behaviors about our future selves. We all have healthy role models in our personal or professional lives; visualize yourself conducting yourself in a similar way. Confidence develops over time, and along with practice, visualization can propel your confidence in unexpected ways.

Think about your posture, body language, and attitude

When we portray self-confidence in a physical way, it not only tricks us into feeling more confident, it tricks others into seeing us in that way too. Again, using a mirror can help, but also consider doing role-plays with trusted friends, family, or colleagues. Be open to feedback and try to be observant of your own demeanor when it matters most.

Talk to others

Openly talking about your feelings and/or concerns is really important. There is no right or wrong way to feel; our reality is unique to us, and we need to accept that our feelings are valid, no matter the situation. Speak to family, friends, colleagues, or even certified Mental Health First Aiders in the workplace. These trusted people can offer us a perspective that we may not have considered, and they are also much more inclined to remind us of everything we have to offer.

Click here for a directory we have shared on our website that signposts to various organizations that can offer support and help on a range of topics.

Prioritize your health and well-being

We have all heard this one before, numerous times, but there is a reason for that. A healthy, balanced diet and some moderate daily exercise (or more!) will not only keep our bodies and minds in shape, it will increase our resilience levels and give us a sense of pride in our approach to a healthy lifestyle. That sense of pride converts into feelings of confidence and self-worth, which we are then able to harness and apply to our professional lives.

Try setting a realistic and achievable fitness goal to ‘run’ alongside your job search...

Be proud of your uniqueness

There is a quote by Dr Seuss that I love - ‘Why fit in when you were born different’ – when we accept our unique skills, abilities, experiences, qualities, and attributes, we are more inclined to be self-promoting of these. This is exactly what we need more of in the context of job hunting. We should celebrate our own identity and remind ourselves of all the things we are proud of having achieved. If we look hard enough, we might just realize that it is through our own uniqueness that we were able to achieve it in the first place!

At TPP Recruitment we pride ourselves on the support and guidance we are able to offer to our job seekers throughout the job-hunting process. We are open, honest, and provide candidates with constructive feedback along the way. We want to assist candidates with building their confidence, right from the very first point of contact, through the process, and onto securing a role that is suitable and rewarding. For more information on enhancing your employability, you can visit our hub. Contact TPP on 020 7198 6000 or for more information on how we can assist you with your job search.

  • 020 7198 6000
  • TPP Recruitment, Northern & Shell Building, 4th Floor, 10 Lower Thames Street, London, EC3R 6AF