How to have self-confidence when returning to work

If you have taken a career break to raise a family, look after an elderly relative or are looking to get back to work after a period of retirement it can be daunting returning to work. How can you boost your confidence? We have some tips.

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Returning to work is a big step and can feel very daunting. Whether you have been out of the workplace for a number of years, or you’ve decided to work again following retirement, it can be a nerve-wracking prospect.

The key to a successful return to work is to act and to feel as confident as possible. A positive mental attitude is essential – but how do you gain more self confidence under pressure?

We have pulled together some top advice for people over 50 returning to work who want to know how to be more confident.

Focus on your strengths

Before you start your new role, spend time reflecting on your strongest skills and qualities – both work related and personal. Write them all down, whether it’s your head for numbers, relationship building skills, or ability to make people laugh. Have the list on hand for any confidence dips – read it through for an instant boost.

Building self-confidence

The first step in building self confidence at work is to identify negative thoughts and learn to dismiss them. We often hear a little voice in our heads saying ‘I can’t do this,’ ‘I’m not ready’, ‘I won’t fit in,’ or ‘I’m too old’… Once you identify these negative thoughts, turn them into positive ones by telling yourself ‘I’ve done this before’, ‘I will give it my best try,’ or ‘I know I have the right skills.’

Have a positive attitude at work

The more you generate these positive thoughts, the more you will naturally respond to work situations with positivity. Any job presents unexpected challenges and change, and a positive attitude will help you see the new possibilities and options that they present.

If you find yourself working with people who are generally negative in their outlook – and there are a lot of them – don’t join them. Try to help them take a more optimistic view too.

Fake it till you make it

You will of course be nervous in your first few days back at work. But try not to show it. Many apparently confident people admit that they are just pretending! Hold your head up high, make eye contact and be brave about asking questions. The more confident you act, the more confident you will feel.

Seek feedback

Asking for feedback is in itself a confident thing to do, and it will help you both build your self esteem and your aptitude at the job. Ask your colleagues and manager for their thoughts on what you’re doing well and where you can improve. In most situations you’ll be surprised how well you’re doing!

The first few days in any job can be daunting, challenging and sometimes confusing. Don’t be put off, it will get easier and more enjoyable every day.


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