Whether it’s your dream job interview, a promotional opportunity, or a challenging task at work – understand this: being confident will either make or break your success. Simply looking the part won’t save your performance if you don’t feel secure with yourself. It may be hard to believe, but the way you perceive yourself has a huge effect on the way others see you.
To excel, one must be self-confident. We are naturally drawn to people who are determined and comfortable in their own skin. So what are the steps you need to take to become unstoppable? In this article we speak to six truly inspirational young women from very different industries. Their confidence and fearless attitudes have allowed them to pursue their dream careers. So read on and prepare to be inspired!
Alka Makwana, Magazine Editor
Meet Alka, the Managing Editor of Superstar magazine. Her responsibilities include managing content on the site and writing fabulous celebrity, fashion and music articles. Also a presenter for Superstar, she interviews everyone from music artists to fashion models. As if her job couldn’t get any better, Alka also has the privilege to go to some pretty cool parties—every day is different and super exciting!
CocoKouture: Hey Alka, how important would you say confidence is in your profession and what tips do you have for keeping collected?
Alka Makwana: Confidence is a key quality that you definitely need in any profession. I am a strong believer in persistence, passion and drive. People will knock you down- but you need to rise above that, have confidence and belief in yourself to shine. You really can do anything if you work hard and have that never give up attitude.
CK: How does it feel to make the transition from student intern to employee?
AM: I’ve worked in the industry since I was sixteen and interned at nearly every magazine possible! From the uber posh British Vogue to cool and high street, OK Magazine! When I got my position at Superstar Magazine, I was perfectly ready and equipped with all the experience to get stuck right in and make it incredible. Obviously interning is difficult, as when I first started I had to make the tea and coffee! The best advice I can give is to just keep going, and you will eventually get your break.
CK: We’ll take that advice! What are your tips for CK readers looking to get into the journalism profession?
AM: Get lots of experience, whether it’s at a local/national newspaper or magazine, that is where you will get the basic knowledge of how the industry works. Start a blog, take photos alongside your writing, sneak into shows at fashion week and practice reporting. Keep bugging editors with your work and show perseverance and enthusiasm. Network; go to lectures, media fairs and events and tell people you are interested in journalism and keep in touch. Lastly, always give 100% effort in everything that you do, as it may lead to a big break.
Siobhan Payne, PR Manager
Siobhan is a PR manager at Odd Firm of Sin and runs the PR department over at diffordsguide.com. On top of this Siobhan is involved in running London Cocktail Week, a huge celebration attracting thousands every year. Recently, Siobhan and her manager have set up a new, fast-growing PR consultancy with already three clients on board!
CK: Hi Siobhan, sounds like you’ve been busy! What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
Siobhan Payne: A PR campaign of mine for a new wine was once put forward for a prestigious PR award! Even though I didn’t win, it was so great for my work to be recognised by my managers and it really boosted my confidence!
CK: Congratulations! As you know PR often requires a lot of cold-calling, what would be your number one tip for staying calm on the phone?
SP: Whenever I feel nervous about a phone call, I always make a few notes beforehand- just some pointers in case I forget what I’m trying to get across. When I have these to hand I rarely ever use them, but just knowing that they are there is enough!
CK: The way we dress can have a huge influence on our self-confidence, what is your go-to outfit for an important meeting?
SP: I’m all about accessories! I usually team my black Zara jeans with a plain top and then rock my Anya Hindmarch handbag with some killer heels. Then I’ll top it with a dramatic necklace or statement ring and I’m good to go! I recently bought a pair or turquoise heeled brogues from Bertie and I’m in love!
CK: Wow, we’re jealous! So what advice would you give to our readers interested in the PR profession?
SP: I would recommend getting as much experience as you can – even companies not advertising positions for interns will be happy to hear from you, that’s how I got my first job. I’d also recommend starting your job search with companies that do PR for something you’re interested in – whether that is beauty, finance, food or fashion. If you feel passionate about an industry and already know a lot about it, that’s likely to shine through in any interview!
Rachel, Beauty & Style Vlogging Sensation
Rachel runs YouTube channel, Rachhloves, a place for her to share her love of makeup and style and connect with other girls who share the same passion. We love her cute and informative videos where she acts as a ‘big sister’ to her 80 thousand subscribers.
CK: Hey Rachel, we adore your channel! How long did it take you to gather such a huge following?
Rachel: I’ve been creating new videos for over two years now. I still can’t believe it’s been so long! I’m always so flattered and honoured when I get messages from subscribers asking for my advice. It’s like I have thousands of little sisters to protect!
CK: What inspired you to blog about beauty and style?
Rachel: I’ve always loved experimenting with makeup and style. It’s a relaxing and creative outlet I enjoy sharing with others, and once I put my toe in the water I received a lot of great support from the YouTube community, my friends and my family. I look to all three for inspiration, ideas, and support.
CK: It takes a lot of guts to put videos out there, were you nervous at first and what are your confidence secrets?
Rachel: I was absolutely nervous, and slightly uncomfortable (as any video content creator will know, it feels very awkward sitting alone in a room talking to a camera). But experience is a great teacher. I have re-watched old videos, read through comments and learned tips to making my videos better every time. I’m so fortunate to have an incredible group of girls watching my videos who are very supportive not only of me but of each other. It’s a great confidence boost to have strong, positive people around you (a nice red nail polish and a big smile help too!) Building self-confidence takes time but will come with patience, determination and a positive attitude.
CK: We agree! Do you have any plans to expand your work in the future?
Rachel: I never envisioned my channel expanding to this point when I started, I can’t believe how lucky I am to have such amazing support. I’ve had so much fun over the past two years, and I always love trying out new ideas, new partnerships and new opportunities. I have been doing a lot more vlogging lately and will likely expand that area, and I have some other ideas that I’d like to debut soon! This year will contain some big milestones (getting married in May, buying a house, and hopefully having children soon after!), and I’m looking forward to sharing those experiences with my incredible viewers in new & fun ways!
PS: Follow Rachel on Twitter!
Laura Jenkins, Editorial Producer
Say hello to Laura, Editorial Producer at Mydeco.com. The company represents a variety of small boutiques and British designer-makers, helping them sell and promote their products to their customers and design enthusiasts. As part of the marketing team, she will be responsible for maintaining and producing the company blog starting in March.
CK: Hey Laura, your job sounds really interesting and unusual. What inspired you to get into this profession?
Laura Jenkins: I’ve always had my eye on interior design as something I’d love to do in the future, and when I stumbled across Mydeco I swiftly fell in love with their approach to design. As well as following interior trends as part of my job, I’m fortunate enough to meet a lot of designers and really immerse myself in the world of decoration, so it’s been a great opportunity to work my way into the industry.
CK: Do you have any tips on how to stay calm and collected for interviews and meetings?
LJ: I try to remember that an interview goes both ways – so I make sure I ask a couple of questions too. Getting to know the interviewers helps me to relax – I think it’s important to show an active interest in the company and the role, and demonstrate that I’ve done some research. I also make sure I remember that I’ve done something right to get to the stage of being interviewed – it’s easy to get too much into my head and feel like I’m out of my depth!
CK: What are your career aspirations and how do you intend to fulfil them?
LJ: I don’t have a career plan as such – I want to make the most of every opportunity and fill my work life with as much variation as possible. I don’t mind starting from scratch and working my way up several times if I need to – hopefully by keeping my options open I’ll find something I really love to do. I think it’s important not to close any doors that I might want to walk through in the future.
Elysia Munday, Event Planner
Elysia Munday is organising Valentines Remixed, a fashion, beauty and music event this February for The British Skin Foundation. The event will raise awareness and money to fund life changing projects and research. Along with free beauty advice and consultations, there will be a fashion show featuring local clothing suppliers, a prize drawing, and a cabaret as its main entertainments.
CK: Hi Elysia, your event sounds seriously impressive! How did you come up with the idea for the project?
Elysia Munday: I suffer from a skin disease myself (Psoriasis, Eczema) and I have always wanted to do something on a large scale to help The British Skin Foundation and raise awareness. I started by making a few videos on YouTube and I received a lot of positive feedback. This drove me to come up with an idea that would raise both money and awareness appealing to all age groups and genders which then led to Valentines Remixed.
CK: What has been your most challenging obstacle yet and how did you overcome it?
EM: I’d say the fact that I have organised this event on my own with no budget at all! It’s been really difficult to drum up interest within businesses to get prizes/cash donations but I’ve finally cracked it! As the event is drawing very close, I have got a team together to cover different aspects of the event which has taken such a weight off of my shoulders and allowed me to focus more on the choreography and planning of the show. I have also made some fantastic contacts which have really helped to promote the event.
CK: We’re impressed! Would you say your confidence has grown since starting the project?
EM: I’ve always been confident but at the same time I had very little self-worth and self-esteem. This event has generated so much support it’s been overwhelming! Instead of getting horrible comments about my skin, I get people emailing and coming up to me in the street asking for advice on what products to use and thanking me for being so open about my condition so they could gain confidence themselves. It’s been such a boost for me.
CK: What would your advice be to readers wanting to set up their own charity event?
EM: Firstly contact the charity, let them know your ideas and what you want to achieve. The British Skin Foundation has been fantastic in the way of providing me with official letters and promotion. Make sure you set a target, figure out how much you want to raise, who you want to attend, how many people you’d like to reach etc. Businesses get so many charity requests and they can’t help them all, so make sure you are passionate about your cause so you can really sell it to the companies. The most important advice is to have fun! You’ll meet a lot of new people along the way and will make some great contacts- so enjoy it and don’t let it get on top of you. Charity events are very hard work so make sure you give yourself a break every now and then!
PS: Follow Elysia’s YouTube Channel: LysiaMunday!
Shayda Ewalt, Volunteer at WTLC
Shayda is in her final year of college studying psychology, but in her spare time she works at a domestic violence shelter for abused women and their children. Her work consists of answering emergency hotlines for women who are in need of a safe place, completing intake forms, and observing group therapy sessions where counsellors educate women about domestic violence. In addition to all of her good work, she helps out at the Day Care Centre for children at the shelter.
CK: Hey Shayda, your work sounds very rewarding but also quite tough. Were there any obstacles you had to overcome during your internship and how did you deal with them?
Shadya Ewalt: One particular obstacle at the shelter was answering the emergency hotlines. When I first started, I was so nervous and afraid that I would not do the job well. However, I faced my fears and gradually became more confident each time I answered the phone.
CK: What has been the hardest part of your internship?
SE: One of the hardest parts is seeing the women struggling with the abuse they have gone through. Listening to all their stories is very emotional and heart breaking to hear. I cannot imagine what they have gone through and I believe that they are extremely strong women for sharing their experiences and getting help. Another difficult thing at the shelter is becoming aware that some of the children have witnessed or experienced the abuse. However, being able to offer some support to these women is what I enjoy the most.
CK: It is really admirable what you are doing. What would be your number one tip to feeling confident in the workplace?
SE: My number one tip is to really learn about what you are going to be doing and research the field that you are studying before your experience. I am learning so much and have become much more confident in what I want to do for my career. Seeing women overcome their obstacles is the most rewarding part of my job. I get to see their transition into strong, independent and empowering women who now have hope that they can get the better life that they deserve.
These ladies are living proof that having the confidence to make your dreams a reality is possible. If there’s a career you’ve got your heart set on, go for it! It doesn’t matter how far-fetched it may seem, believing in yourself means you’re halfway there. Unearth your potential with these tips and shine!