If you’re looking to do better in your career by finding a new job, you’re probably spending a lot of time reading through the qualifications and skills companies are looking for in their job postings. Sometimes these job descriptions are more extensive than your own experience and knowledge, leaving you to feel less-than-qualified . . . or worse: a fraud.
What you may not realize you’re feeling is something called imposter syndrome, or what Psychology Today describes as “a psychological term referring to a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.”
How Imposter Syndrome Affects the Job Search
If you are someone who thinks that their accomplishments are only because of good luck or because you had help from others, you may find that imposter syndrome is getting in the way of a successful job search.
When it comes to reviewing job openings and deciding what to apply for, you can easily talk yourself out of applying when the list of education, skills, and experience required is long. You may even find the position you dream of performing and then feel like you are a fraud and not truly qualified.
That also leads to a lack of confidence during the interview process and may even stop you from asking for the pay that you are worth. Negotiating an offer starts long before the offer is provided. It starts when you begin interacting with the leaders at the company you want to work for.
When you hesitate to share your accomplishments because of imposter syndrome, the words you choose won’t be as powerful. Don’t step away from applying for that dream job only to settle for another job that doesn’t fully challenge you. Because you also won’t get the paycheck you deserve without conquering the imposter syndrome that is getting in the way of achieving your goals.
Ways to Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Learning how to feel more confident and worthy of your dream job or salary likely won’t happen overnight, but here are a few steps you can start to take now to feel less like an imposter and more like the talented, high-achieving professional that you are.
1. Do some self reflection.
Becoming more aware of where your imposter syndrome comes from can be an extremely effective way to address the issue.
You can spend some time discussing your fears and insecurities with a close friend. You can talk to a mentor or a career coach. Or you can even write them all out on paper. But don’t stop there. Knowing your fears and insecurities is just the first step.
2. Think of your experiences in a new light.
The next step is to take credit for all the amazing things you’ve done and allow yourself to feel good about your accomplishments. Celebrating success needs to become a habit to stop impostor syndrome in its tracks.
Look back on your career over the last 10 or 15 years: What major projects did you finish that left a customer or client raving about your work? Were there any awards that you earned based on the results you delivered? Has your boss or coworkers thanked or congratulated you on something, even if it didn’t seem like all that big of a deal to you?
Write these moments down and remember how great it felt to be recognized for your accomplishments. These can then be some great examples for you to include in your cover letter, resume, and in your responses to interview questions.
3. Ask for feedback.
One possible cause of your imposter syndrome could be that you haven’t been hearing enough (or any) positive feedback in your current role. If you’ve been working hard over the years and deep down you know your work is good, but you still feel like a fraud on some level, you may just need feedback to know for sure that you are great at what you do.
Talk with someone you trust who has witnessed your professional achievements and can give you the kind of positive feedback you need to feel less insecure and more confident.
4. Work with a career coach.
I’m Denise Liebetrau, a Career and Salary Negotiation Coach based in Colorado. I started Prosper Consulting to help individuals like you plan their career around the lifestyle you want to lead and to ensure that you are also getting paid what you’re worth. Schedule a free strategy call with me today to tackle imposter syndrome and ensure that your career is aligned to your values.