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What To Do When You Feel You’re Underqualified For Your New Job

Maddie Brindley-Slater
19 July 2021

So, you find yourself in a sticky situation: You get offered the job of your dreams and you’re over the moon, only to start to feel way out of your depth. Sound familiar?

According to Hays Recruitment, it takes roughly three to six months to settle into a new role, but that doesn’t take away the pressure to meet expectations for those defining first few months.

We understand the fear of feeling like you’re underqualified for a new job. However, having worked with a range of coaches & mentors, we know that it’s less about being underqualified and more about feeling overwhelmed.

We’ve compiled our top tips for what to do when you’re feeling underqualified for your new role, so that you can begin to flourish in your new job, whatever the career or sector.

Go easy on yourself & stay calm

First things first, if you’re feeling underqualified for your new job, stay calm.

At times, we can be our own worst critic; don’t forget that you were hired for the job in the first place. You came out on top, you beat all other candidates, you stood out! There is no doubting that you impressed them with your experience and skills. Roughly 20-30% of all job applicants go on to secure an interview, and of these, only 39% make it to the final stage interviews. Securing the job itself is something to be proud of.

Succeeding in your career takes lots of hard work and doesn’t happen overnight. Your first few weeks & months in a new job will always be daunting. Be honest with your colleagues when you need support, it’s to be expected as you get to grips with your new company and role.

As well as staying calm, always remind yourself of the positive traits and skills you possess, to reinforce a positive view of yourself. It’s best to nip the negative thoughts and self-doubt in the bud, rather than getting stuck in a perpetuating cycle. By focusing on your positive attributes, you’ll naturally grow in confidence.

Reassure yourself that you are more than qualified for the job, but most importantly – go easy on yourself!

Remember the benefits of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone

Oftentimes, periods of extreme growth come from testing times, when we feel way out of our depth. Yale research suggests that if you’re safe in your comfort zone, you’re not learning, so relish in this opportunity to test and push yourself.

Take time to fully understand your new role and what is expected of you, but why not also take this opportunity to learn more about other areas of the business? Spend time sitting with colleagues from another team, learn how other departments operate. All these extra elements will make you stand out and take you out of your comfort zone.

Every business has its own way of doing things. After taking time to learn the company inside out, you’ll have demonstrated going above and beyond what is expected, and will feel more confident and qualified in return.

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Get expert guidance from a coach & mentor

Never underestimate the value of a coach & mentor – in Sage’s survey, 97% of those with a mentor state they are valuable.

What better way to take your career to new levels, than with the support of an expert, who may have double or triple your years’ experience. The beauty is that they’ve experienced new job nerves, they’ve felt overwhelmed in their career and they’ve felt pushed to their limits, countless times over.

The value of having your own coach & mentor, is that you get an impartial sounding board and invaluable insight. The constructive and objective feedback from a coach & mentor far outweighs that of a friend or family member, who have your best interests at heart but may not always be impartial.

A coach & mentor has the skillset and experience to shine a light on your strengths and weaknesses, as well as providing action points to get from A to B. Work with a coach & mentor to set goals and achieve targets in the crucial first few months in your new job and you’ll find the process a lot less daunting.

Getting support in your career from someone outside of the organisation can be the missing piece to the puzzle; it can be one of the best ways of gaining confidence in your new role. Wiseup have access to over 100 experts from a range of sectors, find your perfect match today.

Wise up with research

There are lots of helpful resources available online, making researching a quick & easy option to gain further understanding of areas you feel unsure of.

With a quick query on a search engine, you can find lots of free articles on a range of subjects. Feeling like you need to scrub up on your sales pitch? Or want to make sure you’re up to speed with Facebook Marketing best practices? It’s all available at the click of the button.

Online research and E-learning has been utilised by many individuals and organisations throughout the pandemic, so why not add this useful strategy to your toolbox? It offers a quick and easy off-the-shelf starting point for brushing up on your skills.

So, what to do when you feel you’re underqualified for your new job? Follow the above steps and you’ll be feeling more confident in no time! For bespoke guidance from an impartial expert in your chosen sector, browse our range of experts.

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