In this month's blog, ambassador Evie shares some practical tips for building confidence, preparing for interviews and overcoming imposter syndrome. Evie has been an ambassador for several years and sits on our ambassador steering group, she helps us to develop this community to ensure it meets the needs of the young women it supports.

Confidence looks different on everyone.

What I learnt from my careers workshop with Her Own Boss x Barclays

Last week I attended a Her Own Boss workshop in Barclays Canary Wharf Head Office as part of my role with feminist charity Girls Friendly Society (GFS) The aim of the workshop was to learn how to approach CV writing and job interviews with confidence and tackle issues around imposter syndrome - something I feel we could all learn as ambassadors and mentees here at The Girls' Network. 

We started our session with an open dialogue, writing down and sharing amongst one another factors in our lives that make us feel more confident. For me, this is my family, my flatmates, my friends, my work at GFS & The Girls' Network. Others in the group listed elements such as: having a sense of purpose, attending  therapy, wearing your favourite outfits and listening to music 🎵🎶

Reflecting on what makes us feel confident enables us to explore tools we can use to prepare us for writing CVs and speaking in interviews. For example, using compliments and endorsements from our network to identify skills we can reference in our CVs and choosing to listen to bold music on our way to an interview to boost our morale. It’s important to remember that confidence looks different on everyone! For example, the Leadership Council defines 7 different types of confidence:

Respect: If you want people to listen to you, listen to them.
-  Vision:  When your values are clearly identified, you can gain a sense of your direction and get on with the journey.
Track Record: Your own experience can affect your confidence in dealing with new situations.
-  Openness: The classic two brains are better than one - growth improves when you engage with constructive criticism.
Authenticity: Confidence shouldn't mean changing your personality -  nurture your good qualities, and learn from your negatives.
Consistency: Be true to your word - this builds trust.
Simplicity: In the world of confidence, less really is more. Fewer, simpler words. Fewer, simpler, bolder objectives. 

In the CV writing segment of the workshop we explored language techniques. My top three tips from this are:

Write consciously; when you waffle on and on and on you lose engagement. Bullet points are quick whereas a paragraph is chunky and often harder to dissect.
Writing: “On a daily basis I would count cash and fill in paperwork to show how much cash we have and report this to the manager” uses 25 words!! Whereas “Recorded daily cashflow” only uses three. The same message is being communicated but your communication is more efficient. 

Apply active verbs instead of the usual generic verbs. ‘Completed powerpoints’ can become ‘Created powerpoints’ and ‘Spoke to customers’ can become ‘Engaged with customers to ……’

Reference statistics - how big was your team? How many people or projects did you work with? Numbers help employers to understand the quantity of your experience.

After a short break with opportunities for networking and stealing biscuits, we returned to our seats and began discussing interviews - the scary part! The first thing we covered was the need to prep for interviews - do your research! Has this company been in the news recently? Do they have any recent updates mentioned on their socials? Make sure you sleep well the night before your interview too. 

When you’re in an interview, you’re likely to be asked three types of questions. These are: competency (“Tell us about a time you…”,) situational (“You see a colleague … what do you do?”) and behavioural (“What big goal did you achieved recently?”) Preparing for these types of questions with a friend the night before will help you feel more confident and ready the next day. Don’t forget, an interview is also an opportunity for you to see if you want to work for that company - it's okay to ask your employer what their goals are or to ask for feedback - this shows that you’re proactive and curious! 

So, to recap, confidence is an issue we all struggle with from time to time and that’s okay. We can try to ease the pressure by being organised, honest with our colleagues and concise with our language. Don’t be afraid to be nosy, to listen to that cringey playlist or to dress up in your smart but comfortable outfit. You know how your brain works and what is best for you - trust this :) And, if you are struggling, reach out to Rabina and see if she can help you! The Girls’ Network are here for you - tap into this.

Thank you GFS for inviting me to the Her Own Boss workshop and thank you Her Own Boss for your insight!

Hope this helps you, ambassadors! 

Evie :)

Thanks to Evie for a great blog piece full of really useful and practical advice. It's certainly true that we can all suffer with imposter syndrome and a lack of confidence, but with some self care and preparation there is no reason that this should stop us achieving what we want to achieve.