Starting a new job as a working graduate can be pretty intense and overwhelming.
On the one hand, you’re super excited that you’ve landed a job doing something cool — while actually using your college degree! But on the other hand, you’re starting at the bottom of the ladder, doing something you’ve never done before, and as a result, your confidence and self-esteem can take a real hit.
Luckily, there are plenty of relatively easy ways you can boost your confidence and happiness in the workplace. Read on for five confidence and self-esteem hacks for working graduates:
Recommended reading: 6 Ways To Stress Less At Work According to Experts
Stop negative self-talk and be kind to yourself
When you’re a graduate who has managed to land an awesome job just after college, it’s super exciting, but it’s also pretty daunting. This means your confidence can take a real hit, especially if you’ve never worked in your new sector before, or you feel out of your depth in your new job.
Being a working graduate with limited experience can make you feel worried, inadequate and panicky about every aspect of your job. Most days you’ll hear a tiny voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough and that you’re probably going to get fired soon.
Recognizing this inner voice and negative self-talk for what it is will help you to beat it and become more confident in the workplace.
Practice positive self-talk instead and treat yourself well — as well as proud of what you’ve achieved already! You’ve already graduated and scored an awesome job; the world is your oyster and you’re going to accomplish all sorts of incredible things as you learn and progress in your career.
Dress for success
This one may sound like more of a superficial piece of advice, but trust us — dressing for success does actually work!
We’re not talking about donning a power suit or bogus advice like “dressing for the job you want, not the job you have”. No, just dressing for work in a way that makes you feel more confident and comfortable will boost your self-esteem to no end.
There are a few things you can do for this. Wearing clothes that fit you properly is the first. It may sound silly, but you’d be surprised at how many people squeeze into a pencil skirt in the morning and then have to suck in their stomach for the rest of the day. Or come to work wearing a suit several sizes too big and feel like a child that doesn’t belong.
Pick a work wardrobe that fits you well, is suitable for your working environment, and that you feel compliments your best features. You’ll instantly feel happier and more confident — yes, it really is as simple as that.
Always be prepared
One super simple confidence hack for you: always be prepared. It’s so easy to do, but it will boost your self-esteem and confidence no end.
Prepare for any meetings you’ve got, read up more about your job or clients, make sure you’ve got all of the information you need to hand. Plan your days out methodically, and make sure you’re punctual and prepped for any meetings or training sessions you’re sitting in on.
Not only does this make you look good to your new employers (and clients if you have them), but it also makes you feel more in control at work — which will make your confidence skyrocket.
Prepare to be unprepared too: sometimes, things will change or go wrong. That’s fine — it’s all about how you tackle these last-minute changes and come up with solutions to problems. Don’t worry if this doesn’t come naturally; it’s something that you’ll learn as you go along and become more experienced. Just try to keep your cool and work to the best of your ability.
Celebrate your victories
When you’re getting to grips with a new job, it’s all too easy to focus on the negatives — the things that went wrong in your day, or that clients that weren’t totally happy, or the deadline that you struggled to meet.
Focusing on your successes and celebrating your victories will help to boost your self-esteem and encourage positive feelings about your job — while banishing negative ones.
Take a step back every day to look at what you’ve managed to achieve and remind yourself of your strengths. Perhaps you’ve worked with your team to complete a project or hit a deadline. Maybe a client complimented you on some work, or your boss thinks you’re doing a great job. Maybe you’re just proud that you’ve worked hard this week or made a connection with one of your new co-workers.
Whatever it is, acknowledge and celebrate your successes! You’ll feel more confident in your role, and it will propel you forward to achieve even more.
Talk to the people around you
Finally, don’t be afraid to talk to someone if you’re struggling.
If you’re finding the tasks you’ve been assigned too hard, or you don’t think you’re going to hit a deadline, or you simply don’t understand how to do something, ask. It’s not a weakness to ask for help — it shows that you care, that you want to do well, and you take your job seriously.
Speak to your line manager if you’re stuck on something or over-stacked; they can support you, and might be able to shift some stuff around to help you out or give you additional training so that you can do your job to the best of your ability.
And if you’re really struggling with stress at work and confidence issues, then don’t be afraid to speak to a medical professional for some expert advice and guidance.
So there you have it: five confidence and self-esteem hacks for working graduates. Apply these strategies to your daily work life and you’ll feel calmer, more confident and in control. Now to crush that job and reach for that promotion!