By: A student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, as part of Heather Nelson’s Service Learning class.

Entering the workforce can be a challenging endeavor especially when self doubt better known as imposter syndrome plays a key factor in preventing individuals from exploring job opportunities. Imposter syndrome is defined as, “a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of ongoing success” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). Imposter syndrome may have a severe impact on securing a job role. Let’s start by going over ways you might be sabotaging your chances and undermining your workplace value.

  1. You exclude yourself from applying for jobs by searching for qualifications that would disqualify you from the role. (Adeshola, 2020)
  2. You undervalue your experience by not negotiating better pay and taking the lowest offer. (Adeshola, 2020)
  3. You consistently have anxiety about messing up within a higher role so you take on entry-level jobs despite your education and experience. (Adeshola, 2020)

If you recognize any of these actions as something you do then you are likely dealing with imposter syndrome. Overcoming this mental barrier and allowing yourself to take risks can lead to new job opportunities and growth within your role. Now it isn’t as easy as just acknowledging the problem and simply overcoming it, but there are steps you can take to boost your confidence when applying and interviewing for jobs.

Quantify Your Qualifications!

You can start by writing down all of your experience and education that would qualify you for the job. Reminding yourself that you are qualified is key in creating confidence that will then transfer over into your application and interview. If you can quantify your qualifications and apply them to specific job descriptions then there is no reason to believe you wouldn’t be the right person for the job. Also, if you are looking for entry-level positions it is okay to not be an expert in the industry; that is why it is entry-level. Following the 30/60/90 plan can help define this process for you and relieve some anxiety. The 30/60/90 plan is used for people beginning a new job and can be customized to meet personal goals (Indeed, 2022). The standard plan is broken up into three different months as shown below.

  1. Take the initiative to learn new skills
  2. Apply new skills within role
  3. Master new skills within role

This plan demonstrates how within every job there is a growth period meaning that no one is an expert within a specific role instantly. Once you have landed an interview for a role create a 30/60/90 plan specific to that job. This will relieve interview anxiety and show your employer that you are prepared to learn and thrive within the role. Using your plan you can also develop questions to ask your interviewer.

Utilize Community Resources

The second step to feeling prepared and qualified when applying for a job is using community resources like the Omaha Skills Connection organization. This is a community organization that prepares future work forces with tangible skills. They provide services such as literacy workshops, financial literacy, career development, basic computer training, and career exploration (Services, n.d.). When an individual is dealing with imposter syndrome it can be helpful to refresh their skills and confirm that they are qualified. It can also be helpful to have a third party guide you through the process of applying for a job to relieve anxiety about applying incorrectly. Having someone else tell you that they believe in you can make all the difference.Using community resources like the one previously mentioned can also aid in polishing up your resume and preparing you for the typical interview process and questions.

Reality Check – Rejection Is Part Of The Process

The third step is positive reassurance; being your own support system is a skill everyone should cultivate. Give yourself reality checks and remind yourself that just because you don’t get a job doesn’t mean you are unemployable. Getting rejected from jobs is just a part of the process and will give you additional experience. Instead of putting pressure on yourself to get a job by a certain deadline set tangible goals that you know you can achieve. This could be spending time editing your resume, networking on websites like Linkedin, or taking a set amount of time per day looking through job postings.

Dress For The Job You Want

The last step is dressing for the job. Don’t fret if you don’t have a closet full of business attire as there are many options to get you dressed appropriately. Dressing well not only helps boost self confidence, but it also communicates with your interviewer that you are professional and prepared. Don’t worry about wearing name brands or flaunting expensive shoes and jewelry; a basic set of clothes will do. Professional clothes that you might consider wearing are, a blouse and dress pants, a formal dress, a button-up shirt and slacks, or a suit. If you do not have any appropriate clothes or cannot afford to get clothes there are community resources available. In Omaha the Micah House offers appointments to receive business attire for free, including shoes and accessories. Project Hope in Omaha also offers a clothing pantry with gently used clothes but this is not specifically business attire like Micah House.

Following the steps above will help you overcome your imposter syndrome when applying to new jobs or moving up through the ranks. It is okay to feel anxious during this process but just remember that you are prepared and that there are community resources available to make applying for jobs as stress free as possible.


Adeshola, Indeed, Merriam Webster Dictionary

About Omaha Skills Connection:

Omaha Skills Connection is a 501c3 non-profit organization located in Omaha, Nebraska established as a result of the post pandemic era to help bridge the skills gap between education, technology and today’s workforce. Omaha needs an educated, flexible and dynamic workforce in today’s knowledge based economy.  OSC connects talent to opportunity, modernizing employee development for today’s workforce.

#OmahaSkillsConnection, #OSC, #ImposterSyndrome