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Courage Versus Confidence in the Job Hunt, as in Life


If you are on the job hunt, you are probably feeling alternating waves of confidence and its shadow, self-doubt.

On a good day on the hunt, a friend introduces you to someone at Google or Apple or some similarly glamorous company that is hiring for your dream

job with free food and nap rooms. Perhaps you get a call back on a resume you sent, or you are still buzzing from a great interview you had. You are shimmering with exuberance and superhuman confidence; I’m gonna get this job, dammit!

Job hunt and a real buffalo hunt in Tanzania

On a lesser day, you feel isolated and alone in your search. You call back the company you interviewed with last week only to get the hiring manager’s voicemail for the third time. Or worse, you get a rejection email. You feel like a number, a very anonymous number like 9843. The world seems flat and gray, and you are riddled with self-doubt and fear that you’ll never get to do meaningful work. On top of all that you are worried about making next month’s rent.

super-human confidence

Then you get a call back for a second interview, your skin starts tingling and you chastise yourself for being impatient. You really are better qualified than any other candidate and you WILL get this job. In fact, maybe this job is beneath you, perhaps you should be aiming higher.

And so goes the treadmill of fragile, fickle confidence. The challenge of confidence is striking the right balance. Too little, and you’ll never get out of bed. Too much and you may seem cocky or narcissistic; definite red flags to hiring managers. Overconfidence comes off as being brash or phony and most people can see right through it.

When attending interviews, it is always better to be honest, humble and grounded about your strengths and weaknesses. We have written a lot about strengths and weaknesses in our guide, "7 Steps to Landing a Job with Impact", which we’ll send you for free.