Career Success Is All About Confidence

8th January 2016

Posted In: WMB Careers
Olivia Galvin

Let’s start with a contradiction – the headline above suggests that you need to be confident to succeed and that’s not true. You can have a very successful career even if you don’t consider yourself to be a ‘confident person’.

If you do quality work, meet the targets you are set, and complete projects under budget and on time you will have a good career. However, you’ll never know just how far you could have gone.

Words: Olivia Galvin, Cpl Director and Head of IT Recruitment

That’s where confidence comes in. When you approach situations with a confident attitude you get a little extra boost that would otherwise be missing. That boost will help you to not just do great work but make people see just how important that work was to the business. Confidence will help you to make a better first impression and leaving a lasting one too – both are vital in building a successful career.


Confident interviewees stand out

The most obvious example of this effect is the job interview. For most roles, recruiters or hiring managers will meet multiple candidates over a short period of time – maybe even a single day. That means they’re taking on a lot of information with little time to process it all – only the key factors will stick in their minds. If you go into an interview with a meek handshake, avoiding eye contact and stuttering over your answers, that’s what the interviewer will take away. The actual content of those answers gets lost in your self-conscious delivery.

On the other hand, the candidate who breezes into the room with a smile, strong hand shake, and engaged answers will be seen positively. It might sound simplistic but it’s human nature – if you find the interview easy you’ll probably find the job easy too.

The great thing about this is you don’t necessarily have to feel confident to achieve this positive effect – you just have to seem confident. Make sure you prepare answers to common interview questions and arrive early and relaxed. Do something to get yourself in a positive frame of mind while you wait. Practice a power pose or listen to your favourite song – whatever it takes to ensure you’re smiling when your name is called. Then it’s all about a good handshake, eye contact and positivity.


If you don’t ask you don’t get

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’, this is especially true in business. Whether it’s a salary increase, a promotion or a new job – you need to believe in your ability and actually ask for it in order to get it. People do get headhunted or offered promotions they weren’t expecting but it doesn’t happen that often. On the other hand, people who ask for salary increases, apply for jobs or send spec CVs to the right people get what they asked for – all the time.

If you feel like you deserve more than you’re getting or that you’re ready for more responsibility – don’t wait for someone to notice because they probably won’t. Instead you need to go to the person who can give you that promotion and tell them why you deserve it. If you believe in yourself enough to want that promotion, then you should be confident enough to ask. Even if the thought of doing the actual asking is hard to imagine. Just treat it like an interview; prepare yourself, smile and approach the question with an air of self-belief.


Women and Confidence

Many studies have shown that women lack confidence more than men do, especially in the workplace. In their 2014 article ‘The Confidence Gap’, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman discuss imposter syndrome: “Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told us a year before her book, Lean In, was published: ‘There are still days I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am’.” If Sheryl isn’t always feeling 100% sure of herself, what can be said for other women lower down the corporate ladder?

A stark finding by the authors in a Hewlett Packard study was: “women working at HP applied for a promotion only when they believed they met 100 percent of the qualifications listed for the job. Men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet 60 percent of the job requirements. At HP, and in study after study, the data confirm what we instinctively know. Underqualified and underprepared men don’t think twice about leaning in. Overqualified and overprepared, too many women still hold back. Women feel confident only when they are perfect. Or practically perfect.

You don’t need to be a confident, let alone a perfect person to have a successful career. If you’re good enough, the quality of your answers will shine through in an interview and your work will be obvious enough to move your career forward. However, if you seem self-assured and believe in your abilities you can go even further. Sooner or later, you’ll start to feel more confident too.


Cpl Technology’s team of dedicated IT Recruitment Consultants work with clients across the whole IT landscape, from Software Engineering to Technical Support to DevOps.  The team specialise not just by industry but by function, offering a detailed knowledge of each section of the ICT employment market. Contact Olivia at or on 01 6146047.