In the New Year, despite or perhaps even because of Covid continuing its rampage, many people are thinking about moving jobs.
Recently, I coached two clients to prepare to apply for a promotion in-house, one in the banking industry and the other in a humanitarian development and emergency response organisation, who had both been encouraged by their line manager to apply for the position. They both had all the relevant skills, organisational knowledge, experience and generally, a brightness of purpose, which is always a good sign.
And yet, they were both plagued by feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt: Were they really ready for promotion? How would they get through the rigorous selection process? Were they capable of doing the job?
A lack of self-confidence is a common phenomenon which often prevents excellent potential candidates from even applying to positions and moving up the career ladder.
If you find yourself in a similar position, ask yourself: Would I like this position? Would it fulfil me? Would it be the right amount of challenge for me intellectually and developmentally? Would it broaden my knowledge and capacity? Would it excite me?
If the answers are yes, then you owe it to yourself to have a go
So now you can address your lack of self-confidence by asking the following questions:
1. Do I bring the right knowledge, experience, skills and network to the position?
2. Do I have supporters and sponsors in the organisation?
3. What am I going to do about the niggling voice in my head that says I can’t do it?
If you can honestly and objectively say yes to the first question you are, indeed, well-equipped to apply. The first knock on the head of that voice.
To answer the second question, make a list of the people in your organisation who have appreciated and acknowledged your work and whose support you can count on. Ask them what they think about your applying for the promotion. When you get a majority of positive answers, your confidence should receive another boost.
The niggling voice is probably already a lot quieter. Now to address the irrational fear underlying your lack of self-confidence. Ask yourself what you are afraid of and look hard at the worst thing that can happen. How bad would that be? Allow yourself to believe that you are a really good candidate for the position. Recognise that you would survive even if you did not get the job, and that the experience itself would be worthwhile.
Remember your past achievements, the challenges you have met, and the obstacles in your career that you have overcome. Remind yourself of your strengths. Actively dismiss that small voice.
Believe in yourself.