Confidence vs. Cockiness

I truly find it amazing the differences between men and women.  On the whole men have no problem in discussing their accomplishments, skills and abilities.  Women on the other hand would rather drive rusty nails deep within their cuticles before they talk about themselves.


But more often than not we all realize that we have to sell ourselves when job searching and that is where the playing field is leveled.  Often during interview coaching the confusion between confidence and cockiness rears its head.


For many that I talk to they tell me that it feels like bragging, and it feels uncomfortable.


Ladies, I can sympathize, I was reared to not brag or draw attention to myself; because that was what ladies do.  Whatever.


I was also told there was a Santa Clause and Easter Bunny so let’s take everything we were told growing up with a grain of salt, shall we?


Let me give a very brief example of confidence versus cocky to see if you can pick up on the main difference:


Cocky:  I am the best ever – because I said so.

Confidence: I get the job done, this is how, here is who it helps and this is the value that it brings to the company.


Do you see it?  Context.


It is not only in the presentation but what you have to back it up.  If you are the only example and resource that you have then you don’t have much.


However, if you can communicate to me what you do, how you do it, who it benefits and the value that it brings to the company than you’re talking.  You are answering the question: what can you do for me, which is what every potential employer wants to know.


Giving a description of how you do what you do demonstrates experience and skill.

Detailing who it benefits demonstrates you know your audience.

Describing how it benefits the company demonstrates you understand the big picture.

Listing accomplishments demonstrates success.


The job market is not like the stock market – past success is an indicator of future success.


That is the why of confidence, now what about the how?


First you have to believe what you are selling.  Know your strengths, know what you bring to the organization and be enthusiastic about it.  If you don’t buy it neither will they.


Know your limitations.  It is wonderful to be confident; however, you cross over to cocky when you begin to think you are the be all end all of whatever it is that you do.  If you think that you have no more to learn about what it is that you do then you, my friend, are sorely mistaken.  We can always continue to learn.


Before you feel comfortable telling someone else how wonderful you are you need to practice in front of the mirror.  Yes, you need to give you spiel to yourself.  Watch your mannerisms, listen to your tone – are you saying the words but your body language screaming out, “LIAR!”?


Practice, practice, practice.  Until you feel comfortable telling it to someone else without the need to apologize.


I tell my clients as much as I would love to, I cannot go in after you during your interview and tell them how wonderful you are – you have to do it yourself.


And if you don’t do it – who will?  I will tell you who will – the next guy!


If you did it then it is not bragging.  You are simply stating fact that happen to be in your favor.  Suck it up cupcake – job searching is not easy and modesty is wonderful, but won’t get you hired.


Just remember, be able to demonstrate the key points that prove you know what you are doing, are good at it and it is of value to your audience.  With these points in mind you wont go wrong!



Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: