Dear Real Recruiter,
How can I approach my job search with confidence when my last job required me to only fetch coffee?
Dear Feeling Unworthy,
First of all, confidence is an internally-generated resource, not external. Don’t let the limitations of your previous role cloud how you feel about yourself or convey your worth.
If you know you’re capable of doing more than fetching coffee (and I know you are!), then you need to walk into that interview room with the confidence and command that says so. How do you do that? Use these tips when readying yourself for your next interview.
1. Make a List of What You’re Great at
Think about the things that make you feel good about yourself. Are you gifted at organizing or creating systems and processes that improve efficiency? Or, are you great interpersonally and have a knack for making people feel heard and welcome?
Start creating a list of those attributes. This will not only shore up your inner confidence, but it will also give you content that you can relate to what your interviewer is looking for in the company’s next hire.
2. Think Through Your Day-to-Day
So you’re telling me that someone paid you for 40 hours each week plus benefits to only get coffee—and that’s it? Even the most prodigal of companies probably had a few more expectations than that.
When you’re struggling to think of other responsibilities, it’s helpful to talk through your day-to-day with a friend. It’s easy to take for granted the other things you do, and by relaying what you spend your day doing, you’ll be able to come up with significantly more content and depth than you previously thought.
For instance, in addition to getting coffee, did you also ensure the office was appropriately stocked and presentable for visitors and employees? Did you manage the conference room schedule and ready rooms for meetings? Did you liaise with building maintenance staff on the upkeep of the office?
Look at that! You’ve just described the background of a perfect office coordinator or administrative assistant.
3. Unlock Your Potential
Remember, potential is not what you’ve done, it’s what you can do. Rather than fixating on the most literal definition of yourself and what you’ve previously done, use this as an opportunity to think and dream expansively.
What more can you do? What more is within you? Listen carefully to the needs of the person interviewing you and find ways to relate your background or personality to those needs. Your previous job doesn’t define the whole you, nor should it define your potential.
The job search is enough to shake anyone’s confidence—particularly when you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t have valuable skills or experience to offer. But, I’m willing to bet you bring way more to the table than you think!
Put these tips to work, and you’ll tackle your job search with the confidence of someone who’s more than deserving of that open position.
This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns. Our experts are excited to answer all of your burning questions, and you can submit one by emailing us at editor(at)themuse(dot)com and using Ask a Real Recruiter in the subject line.
Your letter may be published in an article on The Muse. All letters to Ask an Expert become the property of Daily Muse, Inc and will be edited for length, clarity, and grammatical correctness.