Careers Service



Confidence is about believing in yourself and having trust in your abilities, qualities and judgement.

It’s having a balanced view and accepting yourself: taking pride in your strengths and achievements, while also recognising your flaws. 

Confidence often doesn’t come naturally. It’s something most people have to learn and work on to improve.

How can you become more confident?

We've listed below some examples of what you can do to help build confidence, both in your academic life and outside of university.

  • Focus on your achievements. Make a list of the things you’ve accomplished so far (large and small), to help you feel positive when setbacks occur.
  • Set manageable goals. These should be realistic and specific – break them down into smaller goals to make the tasks less daunting and easier to achieve.
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone. For example, volunteer to deliver a presentation on a group project, lead a campus tour to promote the University as a student ambassador, or apply for a position of responsibility. Taking on a committee role in a student society or being a course rep, for example, can help you build professional skills, as well as increase your confidence when facing new people or situations.
  • Undertake some work experience. Placements and internships are particularly valuable for increasing self-confidence and developing key skills recruiters look for. Making connections with potential employers is also invaluable when searching for jobs after your studies.
  • Have a particular interest or expertise? You can gain confidence from passing on your advice or knowledge of a particular topic to others, for example, through peer mentoring or tutoring.
  • Be prepared. Whether it’s for tutorials, exams or for interviews, the more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be. Do your research, make notes and don’t be afraid to ask questions to help you understand a particular topic or issue.
  • Find a mentor. On Making Contacts, you can find ways to connect with people who can provide help and support with your career plans - from advice on specific roles or companies, to how to build a useful network of contacts.
  • Try a new hobby or volunteer. Meeting like-minded people in a safe and friendly environment can help build your confidence, particularly if you struggle at first to meet new people.

Related skills: engaged; resilient

photo of confident woman