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I know I have mentioned the competencies employers look for when taking on graduates, however I am aware that there are a lack of resources teaching graduates how to display and develop these competencies, so please see my hints and tips below describing how to improve your confidence, add value, display positivism and much more!

So what does it mean to be confident?

The reason employers value confidence is because if someone is confident it means that they are fast learners, can adapt to new situations quickly and easily and will not be intimidated when speaking to clients and internal team members. This is very valuable and beneficial to employers because it means the graduate will take less time to train and the biggest reason employers don’t hire graduates is because they don’t have time!

Some hints and tips on how to ‘fake it until you make it’ and appear confident are as follows:

  1. It’s all in the body language!¬†If you’re at an interview waiting for the employer, stand up in reception, rather than sitting down. Make sure you are looking at pictures or reading the provided literature whilst standing as it will appear as if you are waiting confidently. Putting your hands behind your back or standing with a straight back are all signs of self-confidence too.
  2. Be relaxed– Confident people are relaxed and can handle criticism. They don’t bite their nails or wait anxiously. The best way to be relaxed in an interview is to PREPARE, PREPARE and PREPARE! If you can predict what questions you will be asked and are prepared with the best answers then you have every reason to be confident and relaxed. I would write the top 10 reasons that company should hire you, so you understand your strengths and also the top 10 reasons why someone wouldn’t hire you. By writing the reasons someone wouldn’t hire you, you will be prepared for the ‘objection’ and will have an answer to overcome it.
  3. Smile and be animated– Non-confident people tend to not want to be noticed and are quiet. Confident people on the other hand would value an audience and be very enthusiastic and animated. The best way to display animation and enthusiasm is to smile. This will trick your subconscious mind into believing you are feeling confident and happy and that is how you will appear. Another trick is to raise your voice when speaking.
  4. Be assertive!- Assertiveness can be displayed with a clear and strong tone of voice, a structure to your interview answers, no waffle, being direct and getting to the point. My ‘Feature, Proof, Benefit’ interview question rule acts a great guide for structuring your answers to appear more assertive. The feature is ‘I have great communication skills’, the Proof is an example of how this has been demonstrated i.e. ‘I was chosen by my school to represent them in all the public speaking competitions throughout the borough’ and the Benefit is a reason why this company should care, for example ‘this means that I can confidently liaise with your customers with ease and deliver an exceptional customer service’.
  5. Remain calm when criticised– Confident people accept criticism with a smile. They empathise and agree with the other persons point of view and then overcome the objection In a logical and professional way.

Another tip I mention regularly is that employers are looking to hire graduates who can add value. What this means is it is important to put yourself into the employer’s shoes and think about their business objectives, how they want to achieve growth and what they need to make that happen. If you can go to the interview with knowledge of that company’s key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (A SWOT analysis) then you can pin point where you may be able to help them improve their weakness and grow.

The employer will be really impressed with your additional research and you can confidently explain how you can go the extra mile to add value to their business.

I hope this helps and if you need any more hints and tips or if you would like to book a session with your own personal career coach then email¬†[email protected]¬

Written by Emma Vites, founder The Apprentice Project.

Follow- @emmavites, @apprenticepro

“The Apprentice Project provides the education graduates need after finishing University!”


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