It feels terrible to fail at something and not know why – for example, when you're on the job hunt and can't seem to get past the interview stage.
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A number of factors may be responsible for your interview troubles. The usual suspects would be an anemic resume or answering questions poorly. Sometimes, it just doesn't work out.
Usually, there's a specific reason why your interviews aren't going well – and it's not always what you might think.
It takes most interviewers about 15 minutes to decide whether or not they're going to hire you. Even if the interview goes on for much longer, the decision is often already made. Tiny things can make a big difference: The way you dress, your demeanor, and the way you speak all contribute to that all-important initial impression.
Unfortunately, it's not always possible to control the impression you make. You can smile and put on a show of being friendly and positive, but if you feel badly about yourself, most interviewers will immediately recognize this. You can dress sharply, but if your posture suggests low self-esteem, your clothes won't be able to conceal it.
Research suggests that a person's demeanor is affected by their emotional state and their self-esteem. Confidence attracts trust; insecurity can make you seem untrustworthy.
If you're consistently struggling in interviews, the problem might not be your tie or your shoes. It might be your level of confidence.
Finances Are the Foundations of Confidence
If your confidence needs boosting, where do you start?
Financial security is a major factor in personal satisfaction. While it's true that money can't buy happiness, it's equally true that people who struggle to make ends meet are significantly less happy than those who are financially secure.
Basically, if your financial life is a mess, it's hard to feel good about yourself. Other factors like health and relationships can affect your self-esteem as well, but finance seems to be particularly connected to self-perception. Insecurity about finances can manifest itself in many ways, and unfortunately, poor interview performance is one of them.
The good news is that there is a solution. It's not necessarily easy, but you can absolutely fix your personal finances – and gain an interview-beating confidence boost in the process.
How to Rebuild Your Finances
Your personal credit score is a good indicator of your overall financial health, so it's a great place to start. If your credit score is high, chances are you have good financial habits. A bad credit score can indicate that you need to make changes.
If your credit score isn't great, it may be time to consider some do-it-yourself credit repair. Rebuilding bad credit takes time. There's no trick or shortcut to it. Develop good spending and saving habits. Pay your bills on time. Avoid canceling credit cards if you can help it. As your credit improves, lending institutions will begin to see you as an asset rather than a liability – and you'll start to see yourself that way, too.
Improving your credit score can have a very direct impact on your job search beyond your demeanor or confidence. Some employers perform credit checks on applicants, and while a bad credit score won't necessarily disqualify you, it certainly won't help, either.
Saving for the Future
Once your credit score improves, you'll want to branch out into other areas of personal finance. Healthy saving habits will help you avoid financial catastrophe, accumulate wealth, and budget your spending.
The key to making financial progress in any area is developing good habits. It's not enough to save a piece of one paycheck; you'll need to do this consistently for a good while before you start to see benefits.
That being said, there's no reason to get too ambitious too quickly. Like a diet, if you start saving money too drastically, you'll be unlikely to continue. At the beginning, choose a reasonable amount you can afford to set aside each month and commit to it. Over time, you'll build up a financial cushion that will be extremely valuable to yourself and your family.
Finally, create a plan to pay off your debts. It might take a while, but start chipping away now at student loans, mortgages, car payments, credit card balances, and any other debts you may carry.
With good credit, healthy saving habits, and a plan to get out of debt, you'll gain control of your financial life. This will boost your confidence, which will bleed over into many aspects of your life. As your self-worth improves, others will begin recognizing your competence – and that includes interviewers.
Lucas Miller is freelance blogger, direct response copywriter, and content marketer at Echelon Copy.