Mary Beth Barrett-Newman is President of 2nd Career Consulting, She spent almost 30 years in the corporate world and brings her experience, expertise and enthusiasm as she coaches clients on their journey to a new position. Mary Beth is a frequent contributor to the iRelaunch blog and podcast and is a moderator of the iRelaunch Return to Work Forum on Facebook.
Is a lack of confidence getting in the way of a successful relaunch? If so, you’re not alone!
Whether it’s been 10 years, 10 months or 10 weeks since you were last in the workforce, the majority of people experience some type of self-doubt and lack of confidence during a job search. Here are some things you can do to regain that confidence and have a more positive relaunch.
Quit comparing yourself to others. This is a losing game, as they always win. You aren’t other people…you’re you! So rather than focusing on skills or experiences you don’t have, focus on the ones you do. Make a list, yes, a physical list of your strengths and skills. Write it down and look at it often. As simple as this sounds, it can be difficult to do. If you’re struggling with this, or just don’t believe yourself, ask others what they see as your strengths. I bet they come up with a list that’s even longer than yours.
Use positive language. Is the glass half full or half empty? As we know, either way we are talking about the same glass, it’s about how we view it. Listen to what you say and how you say it. Reframe the negative phrases into positive or neutral ones. For example, if an interviewer asks “Are you familiar with Salesforce?” You can either answer “No, it wasn’t around when I was working.” Ouch! Alternatively, you can say “I’ve read a lot about how companies are using Salesforce to manage their businesses more effectively and I’m excited about using it in this position. I’m a quick learner and am always interested in learning new business tools.”
Be Proactive. Take charge of your relaunch by developing a plan for your job search and implementing it. Think of your job search as a research project. Develop a plan, schedule time on your calendar for the plan, and periodically review what you’re doing and the results you are getting. It should include networking, informational interviews, networking, researching companies, networking, applying online, etc. Did I mention networking? By having a plan, you control your relaunch, rather than having it control you – a confidence builder.
Embrace your career break. Don’t make excuses or apologize for your career break. No matter the length or the reason. It was a decision you made, and even if it turned out to be longer than you originally planned, that’s ok. Practice speaking out loud about it in a matter-of-fact way. “I took a career break of 3 years to take care of my aging parents. I’m now ready to return to the workforce and am excited about my ability to contribute to your team.”
Take risks. We each have our own definition of risk. Do something that you find scary or intimidating. To some it’s speaking in front of a large group, to others it may be learning a new piece of software or agreeing to take on a project you’ve never done before. Even if the result isn’t perfect, the goal is to remind yourself that you are able to take a risk and succeed, building confidence.
Ask others for advice. You don’t need to do this on your own. Tap into your network and get the advice, counsel and support of others. Talk to someone else who returned to the workforce after a career break. How did they accomplish it? What advice do they have for you? What would they do differently?
Regaining your confidence may take some work, but it will result in a more effective and positive job search experience.