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Fake It Until You Make It: How to Use Confidence and Preparation to Advance

Learn how displaying confidence before you feel ready can advance your tech career - while avoiding risks like over-faking it.

We've all heard the old adage, "fake it til you make it." 

This idea of projecting confidence even if you aren't feeling it yet. Enough practice and putting yourself out there; eventually, you'll become confident in whatever you're doing.

There are people both for and against this strategy, but with many saying that it works, it's well worth looking into if you're living with low self-esteem or a general lack of the charisma and outgoingness you may wish you had.

This is especially useful when it comes to advancing tech careers. 

Even if you still have skills to develop, exuding capability and poise can help you land stretch roles, take on new challenges, and get ahead. More money, more opportunities, and more progression and growth.

All at your fingertips.

However, faking it doesn't mean blind overconfidence with no substance behind it. 

To turn "faking it" into "making it," you need intentional personal growth and skills acquisition over time. The right balance of confidence, honest self-assessment, and continual improvement is key.

In this guide, we'll explore how displaying confidence before you feel 100% ready can catalyze your tech career - while also looking at risks like getting in over your head. 

You'll find tips on visualizing success, power posing your way through nerves, and thinking like those you admire. We'll also cover smart strategies for developing the technical and soft skills needed to back up any faked competence.

Let's look at how to leverage the "fake it til you make it" mindset to propel your career in tech to new heights! With the right balance of confidence, humility, and continual growth, you can make faking it a productive strategy on your path to success.



The phrase "fake it til you make it" means projecting confidence, capability, and poise even if you aren't quite feeling it yet. It's about displaying the attitude and mindset of someone further along in their career or skillset - acting "as if" you already are where you aspire to be.

However, this means you're actively putting yourself in positions and acting like you're already where you want to be. This "acting" gives you both the skills and experience to become who you want and to start acting like that all the time.

Some examples in a tech career context:

  • Applying for a senior engineering role only requires 3-5 years of experience. You lack some qualifications but are willing to learn and grow in the role.
  • Volunteering to lead a presentation on emerging tech trends even if you don't consider yourself an expert yet. You are eager to develop that skill set.
  • Acting assured and polished in a job interview for a management position before you've formally managed people. You convey the mindset of a confident leader.
  • Raising your hand to take on a challenging project that normally goes to more seasoned team members. You have the ambition to gain experience.
  • Presenting cutting-edge app ideas to directors even if you're early in your product management career. You visualize yourself as a strategist.

The key is displaying confidence in your abilities before you necessarily feel that confidence entirely - but being willing to put in the work to develop yourself to back it up.

Adopting a "fake it til you make it" mindset can provide essential benefits for advancing your career, whatever industry you're in.

Here's some food for thought;

  • It opens up opportunities that may have seemed out of reach before. Rather than waiting until you feel 100% qualified, you put yourself out there for stretch roles, projects, and responsibilities that will accelerate your growth.
  • You'll gain exposure to technologies, skills, and experiences you likely wouldn't in your regular role. This allows you to rapidly develop new competencies.
  • Displaying confidence sets an expectation that you are capable and ready for more responsibility. This makes managers more likely to entrust you with more critical tasks.
  • Projecting an assurance you don't yet feel builds mental muscle. With practice, visualized confidence can become real. Stepping outside your comfort zone expands it.
  • Exhibiting poise under pressure that you "fake" at first can impress executives and fast-track your advancement.
  • Acting "as if" you already are where you want to make that reality more achievable. There is power in carrying yourself like the person you aspire to become.

Balancing faked confidence with humility, self-awareness, and a strong work ethic is key. 

"Make it" by continuing to learn, upskill, and hone your craft. Use any over-levelled responsibilities as a catalyst for rapid growth. 

The right amount of "faking" paired with drive can fast-track your tech career.



Okay, so let's actually break this down. How can you tap into a feeling of assurance when you aren't quite there yet? 

Well, the honest strategy is just to "do it." 

We know that sounds lame, but it's really the best advice we can give (but we'll cover actionable tips below). 

When you feel you want to speak up or have something to say, or there's an opportunity you want to get involved in, but fears and doubts creep in, stop for a moment. 

Acknowledge the fear or doubt. Acknowledge that you feel unconfident in taking that opportunity or action. Then simply envision how you would want to respond if you had all the confidence you needed, and then simply do that.

If that means raising your hand and sharing your opinion, then do it.

Sure, you might mess up, and you might not get it exactly right, but this is the kind of practice that will lead to you being naturally confident and in control down the line.

That's the power of fake it til you make it.

Here are some proven tactics that can help with this process along the way.

Visualize yourself excelling in the situation before it happens. Picture presenting flawlessly, acing the interview, exuding credibility. Speak affirmations aloud to cement the vision. Hearing yourself express confidence out loud builds belief.

Before a high-stakes situation like an interview or presentation, use power poses - arms overhead in a V-shape, hands on hips, taking up space. Deep breathing helps, too. 

Thorough preparation is also key. Know your talking points cold. Arrive early to get comfortable in the space. If you don't have time to practice or you're in a fast moment, just stand up tall, shoulders back, and take deep breaths. Stop fidgeting with your hands and just relax.

This only will make a big difference.

Who do you admire in your field? What makes them ooze confidence and credibility? How would they handle this situation? Envision what they would say and how they would carry themselves.

Act as they would, channeling their energy. Fake it by modeling those you view as successful.

With practice, these techniques help instill real inner confidence. But you must continue working diligently to develop the skills and knowledge needed for long-term success. Consistently "making it" requires turning faked confidence into earned confidence over time.

Now, contrary to popular belief, faking it til you make it doesn't just work by pure luck. It's faking it is basically acting and that alone won't get you to where you want to be in life.

Remember, it's about developing your skills and experience as a confident person who will get results, and this means you need to put in the work behind the scenes. In the case of a tech career, this means actively building up relevant skills and experience. 

Here are some strategies you need to know.

Volunteer for projects and roles just beyond your comfort zone. Seek assignments that will expose you to skills adjacent to yours to expand your capabilities. Tackle side projects that teach you new technologies and allow you to practice.

Get training in new skills to live up to the confidence you project. Earn certifications that back up your abilities. Stay on top of the latest technologies and methodologies. Be a lifelong learner.

Beyond concrete skills, build knowledge in your industry and develop critical soft skills like communication, emotional intelligence, collaboration ability, executive presence, and more. These allow you to grow into leadership roles.

You may get opportunities by "faking" confidence, but you must pair that with diligent skill-building and continuous improvement to truly advance. Stretch yourself, but stay grounded in consistently developing your capabilities.



Of course, as we've said before, there will be times when faking it just doesn't work out. You'll mess up here and there. Everyone does in life. Maybe you'll make a promise you can't keep.

Perhaps a project is far more complicated than you first thought. Maybe you did something wrong. That's all okay. It's going to happen. However, it doesn't always have to happen - not when you're minimizing the risk and playing an intelligent game.

There are some risks to watch out for when utilizing the "fake it til you make it" strategy:

It's fine to highlight strengths and project confidence in areas you're working to grow. But never outright lie or exaggerate your skills or achievements. Being caught in lies will tank your credibility.

Taking on challenges that stretch your skills is good. Jumping into roles massively beyond your experience sets you up for failure. Don't bite off more than you can chew.

Balance self-confidence with honest self-awareness. Know where you truly excel and where you have more work to do. Identify gaps in your skills to guide your development.

Faking competence you don't have yet is not helpful long-term. But calculated confidence paired with motivation and humility can spark growth.

"Fake it til you make it" can be a productive strategy for advancing your tech career - when done carefully. Here are some final tips:

  • Use visualization, power posing, and other tactics to project confidence in high-stakes situations before you feel ready. Act as if you already are where you want to be.
  • Capitalize on opportunities that stretch your experience and accelerate your growth. Say yes to roles and assignments that require you to "fake" it a bit.
  • Pair faked confidence with diligent skill-building. Continue learning, getting training, and taking on side projects. Develop technical and soft skills to back up your projected poise.
  • Balance confidence with humility. Be honest with yourself about your capabilities. Don't exaggerate experience or overreach.
  • Take smart risks to expand your comfort zone. Let "faking it" push you to achieve more. But combine it with thoughtful preparation.

With the right mix of confidence, action, thoughtful growth, and honesty you can utilize "fake it til you make it" to propel your tech career upward. The next level is within your reach. Keep pushing forward!

Ready to harness the power of "fake it til you make it?" 

Get personalized guidance on projecting confidence, taking on new challenges, and growing in your tech career with MentorCruise. Our top professionals in the industry can help you balance confidence with skill-building, set achievable goals, and prepare for success. 

Get matched with a mentor today and make your aspirations a reality! Join MentorCruise now and take your tech career to new heights!

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