How to overcome imposter syndrome early on in your career

Jodie Brazier, Comms Consultant, TopLine Comms

Sad woman at desk, Blue MondayWhen you first start out in your career, in my case in PR, it’s not uncommon to feel like you have no idea what you’re doing sometimes – even when you do.

From giving a big presentation to c-suite members, to leading a client meeting for the first time, imposter syndrome has a tendency sneak in. The good news is that there are definitely ways to overcome it. From my experience working in engineering and science PR, here are some tips on how to deal with any self-doubt you may have and improve your confidence.

Remember there is a difference between a thought and a fact

So, you’re walking into a client meeting about to recommend a communications strategy to the CEO. This is the first time you’ve presented anything to someone of this level, and the nerves and doubts start to kick in. You start to wonder ‘who am I to be giving this advice, I’ve only been in the industry for five minutes?’ This is exactly how I felt the first time I led a client meeting.

However, there is a difference between how you’re feeling and thinking, and the reality of the situation. Firstly, a good boss would not let you walk into that situation if they did not believe you could do it, so you should take comfort from that. Just because you feel like you’re not qualified enough to be there doesn’t make it true. Preparation is key in these situations, so make sure you’ve prepared adequately, run it through with your boss beforehand, take a deep breath and believe in yourself!

Focus on the positive

During the first few rungs on the career ladder, it can be easy to focus on what you can’t do yet. It’s normal to want to excel, but it’s important to not obsess over trying to run before you can walk. Focus on the tasks you’ve been given and doing a great job and make time to acknowledge your successes, no matter how small.

It’s also vital to make sure to forgive yourself if something goes wrong. We’re all human and mistakes are inevitable. It’s about how you deal with these mistakes that matter.

Ask for help when you need it

Never be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes this can feel like the hardest thing to do, but other people have most likely felt the same way you have, especially when they were in your position. If you’re worried about sending something to a client, ask a colleague to review it for you first. Don’t feel ashamed about asking for reassurance, we all need it sometimes!

In conclusion, everyone feels self-doubt now and again, but it’s important to not let these feelings define you. Remember that there’s a difference between how you feel and the facts of the situation, stay positive and don’t be afraid to speak up!

Jodie BrazierAbout the author

Jodie is a Comms Consultant at TopLine Comms, a digital marketing agency in London. She works across a range of STEM based clients, especially in the science and engineering sectors. Jodie graduated in Biomedical Science from the University of Kent in 2016.

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