Earlier this week I was  helping a candidate with a cover letter.  The content in her cover letter was fabulous, it was obvious that she researched the company and that she has good experience that would be valuable to this employer.  However, there was one glaring issue in my mind, and that was the “tone” of her cover letter.  It was very passive, it made me question her skill set even though I am intimately familiar with her experiences.

To answer the question… No! Confidence is not THE key to your job search as there are several factors that weigh in on a successful job search, but confidence is absolutely one of those major factors.

Why is confidence so important? This is a simple question and answer in my mind.  Let’s say you are interviewing babysitters and one of your questions is “Do you know CPR?” Candidate A answers “Well, I learned CPR about 5 years ago although  I haven’t had the need to use it yet.”  Candidate B answers “Yes, I have been certified in CPR for the past five years and handle stressful situations successfully on a regular basis.”  Which babysitter would you hire?

Let’s go over some tips on how to show confidence in your cover letter and resume. The very first thing I want to say on this subject is BE AUTHENTIC– don’t lie and don’t exaggerate (it will come out in the end).  Start by taking a deep dive into the job description as it relates it to your skill set, then ask yourself “How can I add value to this company/team/position?”  Confidence comes from not only knowing you can add value, but by knowing HOW you can add value–once you know the how, you will be able to explain it to others. Another good way to show confidence is in using verbs or action words… Some of the more common action verbs include; Achieved, Managed, Saved, Grew etc… Take a look at this link for some more ideas.

I say all of this in the spirit of opening some doors for a significant number of job seekers that struggle with this. However, just as under-confidence can hinder your job search, over-confidence can be an even bigger red flag.  It’s a fine line to walk but a very important one.

My good friend and colleague Kelli Meyers had this to say when I asked for her thoughts on the subject and I think she sums it up nicely…”Confidence is sharing with certainty how you can bring your skills to enhance a company, how you can make a meaningful impact in an organization. It’s knowing what you are worth and bring to the table in humility not arrogance. Confidence is that special magic of “I’ve got this! And I will deliver for you!” Companies are looking for employees to empower to show up and do their best work. When you are confident in your abilities and convey that to a potential employer, they will know that you are the talent they are searching for…independent, a go-getter and someone who will make a real difference!”



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