Most of us have had the feeling we’re somewhere we shouldn’t be at some point or other. That feeling of not belonging, otherwise known as imposter syndrome.

When it comes to job hunting, imposter syndrome can manifest itself in several ways and its impact can be significant. Feelings of self-doubt can be crippling and lead job hunters to stay put, rather than positively putting themselves forward for a new role.

Whether it’s feelings of self-doubt, a lack of confidence in your own ability or the belief that you wouldn’t be up to the challenge, imposter syndrome can be crippling for your career.

Essentially imposter syndrome occurs when someone experiences feelings or thoughts which lead them to doubt their own ability. Unchecked, this can result in a lack of confidence which, in turn, can impact their job search – either in terms of the roles they apply for, the quality of the applications they submit or their performance at interview.

How to turn ‘I can’t’ in to ‘I can’.

Track your achievements and progress

If you’re conscious that you tend to doubt yourself then it is a good idea to keep a record of your ‘wins’. Keeping a list of your achievements and reviewing them on a regular basis will help to remind you of your own worth.

This will also prove useful if you are asked to provide examples of your achievements in an interview situation.

Plan to achieve

It is often easier to succeed if you have planned what you want to accomplish. It’s important not to compare yourself to others when thinking about your choices. Today, careers are multi-faceted and less likely to follow a conventional path.

Take the time to think about your career goals and work out what steps you need to take to achieve them. Formalising your thoughts and recognising your achievements to date will help you to overcome any feelings of inadequacy as you work towards your goal.

Your career goals aren’t necessarily a list of job titles. Perhaps you aspire to work for a particular organisation, gain experience that credibly positions you as a mentor for others or maybe you want to run your own business one day. By recognising what your goals are you’ll start to look out for people who are already successful in your dream job. Check out their profiles to see how they got to where they are, even better, contact them for advice.

Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith

Prepare to succeed

Once you have secured an interview it is important to ensure you don’t self-sabotage.

The best way to achieve this is to make sure you take the time to prepare ahead of the interview. This preparation includes carrying out research about the company ahead of the interview, ensuring you understand the role you are interviewing for and prepping responses to interview questions that might come up.

Your recruitment consultant will help you prepare and we’ve a useful interview guide that walks you through how to avoid interview pitfalls:

It may not be all plain sailing

It’s important to recognise that your career is a journey, and to understand that you are likely to face obstacles along the way. You should remember that these hurdles are exactly that, hurdles. Things that can be overcome.

Let’s be honest, work is ….. hard work. It does take huge amounts of effort and determination so one of the best things you can do is to have some cheerleaders in your corner, trusted friends and colleagues who understand your ambitions and are there to support, guide and advise. This may be your line manager, HR manager or personal mentor.

Importantly, realise that setbacks don’t make you an imposter. It may sound cheesy, but you learn a huge amount from setbacks, and they build resilience too. You never know what you can achieve until you try so view setbacks as an integral part of your journey that is key to achieving your success.

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