Careers Advice: 3 Ways To Boost Your Confidence

Our amazing new Forestry Careers Advisor, Alison Dinnie, offers a few suggestions on how to boost your confidence (especially if you're a woman) when applying for your first job in forestry. She even added a bonus tip to calm pre-interview nerves!

By Alison Dinnie · March 4, 2024

Tip 1: Shift the focus to your strengths!

Our brains love to velcro to the negative; the human brain has evolved in a way that means we find ourselves remembering the negative events of our life much more easily than the positive, this is called “negativity bias”. So, when we feel uncertain, this can bring up feelings of not feeling safe. As our brains are wired to keep us safe it can keep us in freeze mode, which then prevents us from going after the things we really want. If you find yourself stuck in this freeze pattern it can be really useful to write down (or say out-loud if that’s how your brain works) all the great things you’ve achieved, all the skills you have, and all the positive experiences you’ve had so far. Starting a gratitude practice can be a really great way to start building a more positive outlook too.

Tip 2: Reach out for advice! (That’s what I’m here for!)

Whether you’re looking to change your career, or looking for your first job in forestry, or wondering what the next step could be for you in your career, there is so much help and support available. I work at the RFS and as part of my role I’m here to help in many ways:

  • Directing people to suitable training
  • Supporting people with improving or updating their CVs and personal statements
  • Processing RFS Forestry and Arboriculture Certification applications
  • Answering your unique questions about your pathway into forestry!

    Contact me and lets chat!

    As well as reaching out to myself (and others in roles like mine), I’d also encourage you to politely ask for feedback from unsuccessful job applications. There can be so much learning from these experiences and you can use what you learn for the next application and interview.

      Tip 3: Remember those that have come before you (and those that will come after you)!

        Humans heavily rely on the idea that “seeing is believing”. We seem to need examples of something new before we can believe it is possible. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but most of us like a to see a little evidence that something is possible before setting out towards a particular goal, especially if it feels big and scary.

        This is why representation matters so much: if girls don’t see women existing and succeeding in forestry jobs then they won’t know it is possible for them to follow that path. So, if you’re doubting you can do it, find your examples! Find your evidence of women, just like you, out there doing it already! Be inspired by those who have made the path wider and easier to navigate.

        It can also be really affirming to remember that you’re paving the way for others just like you: the girls and women that could follow your path. This can be an empowering thought and can encourage you to take the first step on your journey.

        BONUS: A visualisation practice for building confidence.

        This is a visualisation practice I love to use for myself and with clients. Ideally you’d practice this visualisation several times in the week leading up to your interview. Ready? Follow these steps:

        1. Take the time to sit yourself comfortably, where you’re not going to be interrupted too easily.
        2. Notice your breathing and gently invite your breath to move in through your nose whilst you count to 4 slowly. Then exhale through your nose to the count of 6.
        3. Once you feel yourself starting to relax and your muscles are softening, shut your eyes and imagine yourself.
        4. Imagine the most confident version of yourself. It may help to try and imitate how someone you know who has amazing self-confidence holds themselves or looks (maybe they have a strong posture, or simply look happy).
        5. Imagine exactly what you’re wearing, how you’re carrying yourself, and how you’re feeling as the most confident version of yourself. Take the time to really build this picture and start to feel this confidence building in your own body.
        6. Then slowly, step by step, walk your-imagined-self through the interview. Notice how you move, how you shake hands, how you sit, how you talk.
        7. Feel that confidence growing in your own body as you visualise yourself going through your interview perfectly.
        8. On the day of your interview, arrive nice and early and spend some time (maybe in the car before you go in) recalling that feeling. Picture yourself moving through your interview with confidence, with ease, and completely relaxed.
        9. When you feel ready, take a nice deep breath, and head into your interview. Any time you feel the nerves starting to build take yourself back to your breath, and remember that feeling of confidence filling you up!