How to Build Confidence and Self Esteem – Projecting a Confident Attitude

Being confident in yourself is probably the most valuable trait in a job hunter. It not only gives others to believe you can do the job, but it helps instill the belief in yourself that you can do the job. The more confident you are in yourself, the easier it is to build confidence. It works like a snowball rolling down a mountain, starting slowly then over time building into an avalanche that overtakes the mountain – if you feed it correctly and let it.

Just like every other piece of our persona, confidence requires attention as well. You have to take care of yourself and feed your own ego. Celebrate even the smallest of victories and realize that each little win is a building block to bigger success. You have to continually improve yourself – read a little each day. Try to learn something every day.

Every little thing you do right will help build your confidence level. – but at the same time every little thing you do wrong will lower it. The key is to realize that these setbacks are opportunities. Once you learn what you did wrong and can correct it, you have learned a key lesson that will help you succeed in the future.

What Confidence Looks Like

We all have a friend that no matter where they are, they can and do talk to anyone. They’re the life of every party they go to and everyone knows who they are. They know who they are and are not afraid to show it. The key to being confident is to Be Real – there it is, I said it.

Own yourself – don’t be afraid of how you appear to others. Your friends like you because of who you are, not who you are trying to be. If you are a closet comic-book collecting, Magic-playing nerd – live up to it. People already know this stuff about you, don’t hide it. If you love watching Disney Jr. with your kids, sing the song in public at the top of your voice. Yes you may look like a lunatic, but that’s all part of being you. Nobody else can do it better than you can.

Confidence is also something that only you can take away from yourself. If someone tries to knock you down a notch, you have the choice to get up and accept the lesson and grow from there, or to let it get you down. Always choose to get back up. If you see yourself down, everyone will see you down.

Never be afraid to make a mistake – as I said before, mistakes are opportunities to learn. Make darned sure you learn from that mistake and come back from it with all the confidence in the world that you know how to avoid that mistake in the future. Henry Ford once said “Success is 99% failure.” and he went on to create one of the most iconic automobile companies in the world. You’re in good company if you learn from your mistakes.

How to Build Confidence

You have to take care of yourself first. Exercise, eat right, get a good amount of sleep … I already harped on the taking care of yourself quite a bit in Coping with Job Hunting Anxiety, so I don’t want to rehash it too much. However, if you are not physically feeling good, you cannot feel good mentally. Get out of bed and get some exercise, eat a healthy breakfast and sing in the shower. Nothing starts the day off better than a good shower song. When you go to bed, don’t stay up late reading sites on your phone. Go to sleep and enjoy the sleep like a good steak!

Be nice to yourself. You aren’t a bad person and people like you for being who you are. Talk yourself up and celebrate each little win in some way. Always being positive, while not only difficult to do can also be very tiring. Everyone else in the world wants to be negative and take your positivitiy away from you. Just answer with more positive thoughts and feelings. Don’t be afraid to sound like a cat poster and say “Hang in There!”

Set goals that are easily obtainable but are building blocks to bigger goals. Once you obtain the small blocks, it takes chunks out of the big ones until eventually the big goal is accomplished. Make sure you celebrate every little goal as well. Pat yourself on the back, go get an ice cream – it doesn’t have to be big, but make sure it is worth the accomplishment.

How to Show Confidence in an Interview

#1 – Smile. Smiling is my top discussion point here because a smile will affect any kind of interview. In a phone or Skype interview, a good smile might be the only body language your interviewer can ‘see’. A smile can be heard through a phone interview because it changes the way your voice and attitude sounds while talking. Also, make sure it is a natural smile because nobody likes a creeper-type grin.

Try this: When practicing for your interview, think of something that brings you absolute joy. Your kids, your dogs, your kids playing with the dogs – whatever magically puts that smile on your face every time. Write the thing that brings you joy on a piece of paper and keep it visible through the interview just to remind you to smile.

Practice. Do not go into an interview blind. Know how you are going to respond to questions or statements you know they will ask. “Tell me about yourself.” “Why do you want to work for us?” “How are you today?” Don’t fumble for words on these questions. Know what you are going to say, how you are going to say it and say it with that smile every time.

Eye contact. Once again, be natural. Normal people look away every once in a while. They blink too. Make sure you are acting normal. Don’t shy away from eye contact either. Having a smile on your face will help with this as if you have a natural smile, your eyes will reflect a smile and look more natural as well.

Body Language. Be very intentional with your movements. Mirror your interviewer’s body language as much as you can. Reflect how they sit and their posture. This will help them identify with you better. Do not inadvertently fidget or shake your head a lot! If you feel nervous, take deep breaths and relax. Make sure you are actively listening – an interviewer will be able to tell when you are not.

Be active in your interview. When asked a question, provide the answer but then try to ask a related question back. This not only shows you are listening but are interested in where the interviewer is going with that question. If it is a generic out of the playbook question, use it to direct the interview in the direction you want to go, which is you getting an offer. “Describe a time when you had to work with someone you conflicted with.” “Well, Bob … I was working on a project that a teammate and I disagreed on the direction we should take. We talked it out and chose the best course of action and made lots of money. Speaking of conflict resolution, what is the company culture like here and how are diverse opinions take into account when making decisions?”

Project a Confident Attitude

Being confident is not just a job hunting quality. It serves you to be confident in everything you do. By projecting confidence, you are not only making yourself more likable, but you like yourself more as well. The more you project, the more confident you will be.

Do not be afraid to be yourself. This is what confidence is all about. Show the world who you are and don’t be afraid to be different.

Be Real!

Thanks for reading and feel free to leave some opinions, thoughts, ideas or sarcastic comments.


  1. Very nice, organized and made a lot of common sense. Another thing to do if possible when the interview is nearly over is added some levity. Something comical. Be careful not like a smart ass. When I was asked what made me feel like I could qualify for this position, what qualities I had, I looked at the floor and said Gosh that is a hard question… [Then I looked at them and said] Because I have so many.” They laughed. But I still had to back it up with qualities.

    • Thank you for visiting. I agree – do not be a stiff. Let them see your sense of humor. Showing a little personality will go a long ways!

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