Project Confidence, Even When You Don’t Feel It


How can you project confidence when you don’t feel it?

One of the most interesting things I learned from my days as an actor was seeing how audiences tended to remember what a person did much more than how they did it. In other words, if you take the correct actions, despite not being Mr./Ms. Confident, you’ll trigger the same response as though you were.

The goal: establishing yourself as the candidate who can deliver the most VALUE. Someone who is in demand, understands his/her worth, and is willing to advocate for it.

Here are some actions to help you get there:

1. Bulletproof your resume.

Honesty-to-the-point-of-exposing-vulnerabilities won’t win you extra points on a resume. A great resume is a marketing tool as well as a shield during interviews; meant to withstand a series of “attacks” that go to the heart of your fit for the role. Don’t make the job easier for the other side than it has to be. If there’s a situation like a layoff that you know will come up, the best approach is to broach it in person, without being asked, preferably frame the outcome as a learning experience, and move on.

2. Set clear time limits.

Letting the clock run on an intro phone call, or letting a 1-hour interview (without an offer forthcoming at the end) go on forever may seem like the friendly thing to do, but it lessens your perceived worth. Once the agreed-upon time limit has been reached, use your judgment to decide whether to stretch for 5-10 minutes more. If not, make your exit.

3. Refuse to share salary details.

Any hiring agent can visit sites like Glassdoor and others to get a pretty accurate idea of what you made at your last job. The only reason you’re going to be asked this question is to preemptively curb salary expectations/drive your price down. If asked, respond with, “I don’t feel comfortable discussing confidential salary details, but would love to get a read on what the company’s expected salary range for this position is for someone at my level.”

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