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Do you have career confidence? Here’s why it’s essential and how to build it

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When it comes to furthering your career, you already know that skills, experience, and qualifications are all critical to success. But what about confidence?

Career confidence plays a pivotal role in pursuing opportunities and developing the leadership skills you need to keep climbing the career ladder. It is equally essential if you want to launch your own business or if you apply for a new position. So why is confidence so important for executives and how can you cultivate it?

Career confident- How to build it? - EDHEC Online

What is career confidence?

Career confidence & self-confidence

First, you need to separate those two concepts. Indeed, career confidence is different from self-confidence and from one’s capabilities that they can “do the job.” Actually, career confidence involves passion, purpose, and a realistic career plan. In other words, the answer to the following questions: what makes you tick? What unleashes your creativity? How will you take your conscience to work?

Here are 3 questions you need to ask yourself. Do you want to enjoy your work, gain satisfaction from your effort, feel like you are contributing and making a difference?

Passion, purpose and career plan

By combining passion, purpose, and your career plan, you have created a powerful combination of career planning that makeup “career confidence.”

  • Passion: a boundless enthusiasm for what you do at work. Do I enjoy my work?
  • Purpose: the meaningful goal to which you aspire. Why is this important to me? 
  • Career plan: a tool designed to fit your passion and purpose that does not lock you into a specific path but instead helps you map out possible career options. Do I gain satisfaction from my effort or feel like I am contributing and making a difference with my work?


“Career confidence gives you the ability to adjust your aspirations as you move forward with life”

Why career confidence is important

Career confidence: navigating your career adventure

Indeed, you have set up a career goal, an action plan to achieve it and, you also know the fundamental reasons why you want to achieve it. Career confidence gives you the ability to adjust your aspirations as you move forward with lifeCareer planning process - EDHEC Online

The link between confidence and career success

You can probably think of a dozen examples of people who are successful in their career who also have a high degree of confidence. In fact, it is hard to think of a successful person in any sector who is not confident and self-assured. The link between confidence and career success is not just anecdotal: the statistics back this up. One study showed that people with self-confidence will earn $28,000 more per year than peers with low self-esteem.

If you are not confident in yourself and your abilities, it makes it difficult to further your career and pursue leadership opportunities. Even if you are relatively successful, there are many reasons why you may lack confidence. For example, if you have climbed the ladder thanks to your natural abilities but without a formal education, you may be insecure about potential gaps in your knowledge. 

Alternatively, you may dream of starting your own business but are not confident that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to make it a success. Although it is completely natural to feel insecure in these situations, this low self-esteem can be damaging to your career in a variety of ways.

How confidence can advance your career and boost your leadership skills

Let’s take a look at why confidence is so important, and some of the ways it can impact your career:

  • Confident people are more likely to get promoted: Promotions are awarded based on merit, but also because of confidence. In identifying potential leaders, managers will look for people who are comfortable with taking on responsibility and who will be confident in leadership.
  • Confidence makes you a better leader: Not only does confidence make you more likely to be promoted to leadership positions, but it will help you to excel in these roles. Confidence that is rooted in the knowledge and tools needed to lead will better equip you to be a leader, and make you feel confident in the position.
  • You can pursue niche-based career opportunities: Being confident in your skills and knowledge in a particular area can open doors to exciting new roles, or even allow you to transition into a different industry. For some areas requiring specific knowledge, this may mean looking beyond on-the-job training. Specialised courses such as Corporate Finance or Advanced Strategic Management can give you the additional skills and experience you need to advance your career in an exciting direction.
  • It helps to minimise risk and stress when running your own business: Confidence that is rooted in the right skills and knowledge will make your business more likely to succeed. Diving into entrepreneurship without further education can potentially make you more vulnerable to risks, and create unnecessary extra stress if you are full of self-doubt. A Master’s in International Business Management can give you the extra knowledge, tools, and confidence you need to launch and run your business, as well as deal with the inevitable challenges.

    How to build your career confidence?

    Evaluate your career confidence

    How Comfortable Are You in Your Job Right Now? / How Good Are You at What You Do? / What’s Going on Inside Your Head?

    5 steps to help you build your career plan

    • What? What feels exciting and makes sense to you? What do you aspire toward?
    • When? What is the basic timeline to achieve your career goal?  What are the steps to achieve your career goal and how are they sequenced?
    • How? What things do you will you need in order to achieve the goal? Does this career goal require more experience? Does this goal require a specific graduate degree?
    • Where? Where do you see yourself when you achieve your career goal?
    • Who? Why does it match your passion and your purpose?

    Increase your self-confidence at work

    Besides furthering your professional development and skills, the following strategies provide steps to help you boost your confidence in the workplace.

    How further education will help you?

    One of the most effective ways to build confidence that can bring out the best in your career is through further education. Indeed, returning to study allows you to expand your skills, fill in any gaps in your knowledge, and develop your toolset in specific, technical areas. These tools will give you the basis you need to build your career confidence.

    Online executive education is an ideal way to do this for busy professionals since it allows you to:

    • Have flexibility: You can hold on to your current job while furthering your education at the same time.
    • Seize opportunities: With online executive education, you can start progressing your career now, without waiting for the world to change. Businesses are looking for competent, qualified professionals to help them grow and innovate in the new normal, and quality qualifications will allow you to do that.
    • Build your network: EDHEC’s worldwide community of professionals and executives represents a wealth of excellent networking opportunities.

    Final thoughts

    It probably comes as no surprise that career confidence is the secret to a successful career. Being confident allows you to develop great leadership skills, lets you perform better in senior positions and allows you to pursue niche positions in specific areas.


    One of the best ways to gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence you need to further your career is through online executive education.

    Take a look at the Msc in International Business Management or browse our other online programmes.

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