Should You Apply “Fake it Till You Make it” to Your Career?

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We’ve all heard the phrase “fake it ‘till you make it,” right? I too have heard this very easy-to-give yet very hard-to-follow advice from several mentors, bosses and even parents. They say you just need to act confident to succeed and eventually, you won’t have to fake it anymore.

See Also: How to Make People Think You’re an Expert

But, is this advice something that you should always use in your career? Well, not always. During your career, you go through various professional situations, and there are times where it is useful to fake it and others where it’s best to own up to your weaknesses.

Do: For Confidence Purposes

In nearly every single professional role you are in, especially during the first couple of years of your career, you will be instructed to do things that are definitely out of your comfort zone. For example, you may be asked to give a presentation to all new employees, speak up in front of all managers or even lead meetings with other employees.

If you are relatively new to this, you may not feel confident; everything is easy in theory but actually giving a presentation in front of 50 people can be very nervewracking.

Well, this is a great example of a situation in which you must fake it till you make it. If you do have all the knowledge required, pretending to be confident won’t hurt you; on the contrary it can work like magic. Acting confident will help you get through it and also give you legitimate confidence for your next stressful situation.

Don’t: If You Don’t Know What You Are Doing

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Now, let’s look at a different scenario: you are given tasks to do that you have no idea how to handle. This is not because you are not good at your job, but because it is something completely new to you. We are not born with skills and knowledge; we all learn at some point in our careers.

For example, during your first day at a new job, you may be asked to develop a budget forecast for the next year, but you have no past experience doing that, or even fire an employee as a first-time manager- one of the most difficult tasks to do as a new manager.

So, do you fake it till you make it here? Well, of course not. When you truly don’t know what to do or how to handle a situation, pretending you do, is never going to help you; it can, in fact, harm your career.

If a task is completely unfamiliar, the brave face will never help you to complete it. What happens if you get called out on it? If someone finds out that you are doing your job wrong when you are in fact pretending you are an expert, it will be hard for them to trust you again in the future. We have said it before, and we will say it again, what employers value on employees is their honesty.

Therefore, in these kinds of situations, the best thing to do is admit your weakness and work hard on finding out all the information needed before even attempting the task. Once you gather up all the information and knowledge needed, feel free to fake it as much as you want!

See Also: Just Act Smarter, You’ll Be Fine

Have you ever applied the advice “fake it till you make it” to your career? What is your experience? Let us know in the comments section below.


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