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Career Counselor
Confidence Key to Standing Out in the Workplace

March/April 2008 In the business world, how important is a good dose of confidence? The short answer is "very," if you're someone who wants to get ahead. Professionals who combine talent and self-confidence are typically the individuals who find themselves quickly climbing the corporate ladder. An individual's self-assurance is often a major consideration when managers are deciding whom to promote to positions of greater responsibility and visibility within their organizations.

Just as intelligence is often measured by IQ, consider how you would rate if you could gauge your confidence quotient or "CQ" as a professional. Although self-assuredness seems like an intangible quality that cannot be measured, certain traits and actions can be extremely telling. Consider these suggestions in developing your personal CQ:

Be engaged. Your interpersonal skills as well as your body language indicate your degree of self-assurance. Actions such as introducing yourself to others rather than waiting to be introduced, offering a firm handshake, making eye contact and initiating conversations can all be perceived as signs of confidence.

Select a prominent seat. Business research suggests that where you choose to sit during meetings can directly influence how you're perceived within your department or organization. Choosing a visible seat, such as a noticeable position at a conference table or in the front row in a large meeting, tends to be a sign of confidence, genuine interest and a willingness to engage.

Obtain equal footing. Try to feel more comfortable interacting with colleagues at any level within your organization. Although you always want to be respectful of everyone in the office and avoid coming off as aggressive, don't go too far in the other direction by being overly deferential to those above you in the management hierarchy. If your aim is to advance to the next level of your profession, strive to be a colleague, rather than a subordinate.

Dress for success. You're probably familiar with the saying "dress for the job you want, not the one you currently hold." Managers are role models for other employees in the office and often present a public face for their company at business gatherings. By dressing in a polished, professional manner, you can not only project greater confidence but also do your part to inspire it in others.

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ACCOUNTEMPS is a specialized temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps provides support throughout an accounting department. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Accountemps and has more than 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia. Accountemps' Career Counselor column, a SmartPros staple for over four years, is refreshed twice a month.

2008 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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