Whether felt or missed, perceived or measured, confidence inevitably plays a critical role in the pursuit of new professional opportunities. A lack thereof, however, often leads to self-doubt and feelings of inferiority, and can eventually manifest itself in unexpressed needs and wishes, ineffective self-marketing, suboptimal positions, missed opportunities for salary increases and bonuses, and ultimately a chronic sense of dissatisfaction.
Confidence routinely emerges as a central theme among women in the Women Back to Business Programme seeking to re-enter the workforce and relaunch their careers after a family or personal break. WBB participants represent a highly qualified, highly motivated talent pool. Yet, many of the women greatly underestimate their competencies and view themselves as underqualified or “not good enough” for the professional dreams they aspire to.
The overriding lack of confidence among women returning to the workforce stems from various sources. Many WBB participants have spent years raising children and/or are new to Switzerland as a trailing spouse. Often, these women assume their skills are outdated, the market is keen on hiring younger talent, and employers will struggle to understand their non-linear career path.
For women who do not speak a Swiss national language or hold a diploma from a Swiss university, the hurdles and the lack of confidence can be even greater – even if she brings impressive academic credentials to the table with professional expertise and experience to match. A lack of confidence often plays out initially in the job search, interviews and negotiations. Hence, women often apply for jobs for which they are over-qualified, if they apply at all.
The WBB Programme addresses this overarching lack of confidence by offering, in addition to a comprehensive management education, skills workshops and personal development trainings designed to address these issues and actively support participants as they rebuild their skills and regain their confidence. These include job application and interview skills, communicating effectively in a team, expressing clearly and affirmatively one’s competencies, interests and preferences, negotiating salary expectations, and ultimately taking ownership for one’s career with confidence.