Fake It Till You Make It (Without Making Monumental Mistakes)


Everyone has heard the saying, “fake it till you make it” – but how do you put those words into action when starting a new job?

Giving off a winning impression is key to driving success in your professional life. However, it can be challenging to do that when you’re trying to figure out your new role, on top of adjusting to a new work environment and new teammates. It’s easy to say “take risks”, but making unnecessary mistakes can have their consequences.

So how do you establish your competence? Read on and find out!

Master the meeting

It can be difficult to give off an aura of confidence when introducing yourself, especially when you are out of your comfort zone. Whether you’re talking to a colleague or a client, you need to make sure that they know you have your role under control.

Start introductions with a smile and firm handshake. Stand up tall, make eye contact, and speak with confidence. Don’t let your nerves take the best of you – and most importantly, never make any promises or state any facts that you don’t know for sure. The best way to handle these situations is to let them know that you will double check for them with a colleague, and follow up with them in a timely manner.

Dress the part

Dress as if you have a meeting with a CEO, even if you’re just heading in for a routine workday. Pick out your favourite blazer, your favourite tie, and accessorize like you’re going to a big business event.

Dressing professionally can help boost your inner confidence and set a tone with others around you. Think about it – are you more likely to trust the advice of someone in jeans and running shoes, or someone dressed like they just came back from a board meeting? Take a look at what senior people are wearing within your company, and mimic their style – as they say, “dress for the part you want, not for the part you have!”

Listen carefully

Spend your first few weeks soaking up information. The more you listen, the more you will get a sense of the company and your role, which in turn will allow you to feel more comfortable and confident going forward. Not to mention that it will show you genuinely want to learn before doing.

When you talk, select moments where you can contribute something solid to the conversation or meeting. Don’t just talk for the sake of talking – people who talk without thinking are less likely to have credibility among their peers.

The bottom line is: Be confident!

Confidence is key – after all, people are unlikely to believe in your skills if you don’t show you believe in them as well.

Be sure your confidence is genuine and humble. It’s very easy to cross that fine line into “arrogance”, which will likely turn off your co-workers. Remember, just because you want to appear capable doesn’t mean you can’t ask for clarification. You never want your confidence to override the need to learn and grow professionally or personally.

Have you ever made a workplace blunder due to overconfidence? Share you story in the comments!