How to combat imposter syndrome

How to combat imposter syndrome

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Have you ever felt undeserving of your own promotion or job status, despite clearly having the requisite qualifications? If so, you may have experienced Imposter Syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome, although not formally recognised by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, has been acknowledged as a common phenomenon of self-doubt (Clance & Imes, 1978) in which an individual perceives themselves as inadequate, a fraud or out of place with their accomplishments.

While of women and minority groups are at higher risk of experiencing Imposter Syndrome (Clance & Imes, (1978) and Mullangi & Jagsi (2019)), it can affect anyone (Chapman, 2017). Research has suggested that Imposter Syndrome may, at least in part, be caused or exacerbated by an individual’s upbringing (Clance & Imes (1978).

How to overcome Imposter Syndrome

Read your resume and recognise your expertise

It can be helpful to remind yourself of your achievements and qualifications. When you start to feel like you’re not good enough, re-read your resume and acknowledge that you were hired for reason; you have the skills and expertise for your role (Gilbert, 2021).

Become a mentor

Becoming a mentor is an effective way to help people work through their early career and build your own confidence. By assisting, problem-solving and encouraging another person you can start to understand that your input is valuable (Gilbert, 2021).

Observe and contextualise your fear

Acknowledge how you feel and sit with those feelings. By critically assessing your thoughts you can contextualise the reasoning behind your emotions. Try journaling or creating a voice memo and listening back as a way to get inside your own head (Abrams, 2018).

Actively shift your thinking

Work towards reframing how you approach your achievements and tasks. This is best done incrementally. For example, rather than spending four hours on a research task, cut off at three and let someone read an unpolished draft. Work at letting go of perfectionist tendencies (Weir, 2013).

What next?

Still not convinced you deserve your job? Come and meet with one of our friendly recruiters over a cuppa in our office, and let us talk through your skills and experience with you! ☎️ (02) 6103 8094


Abrams, A 2018, ‘Yes, Imposter Syndrome Is Real. Here’s How to Deal With It’, Time. Accessed 11/08/21,

Chapman, A 2017, ‘Using the assessment process to overcome Imposter Syndrome in mature students’, Journal of further and Higher Education, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 112-119. Accessed 11/08/21,

Clance, PR & Imes, SA 1978, ‘The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention’, Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 241-247. Accessed 11/08/21,

Gilbert, M 2021, ‘3 Tips for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome and Building Your Confidence’, Rolling Stone. Accessed 11/08/21,

Mullangi, S & Jagsi, R 2019, ‘Imposter Syndrome: Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom’, JAMA, vol. 322, no.5, pp. 403-404. Accessed 11/08/21, file:///C:/Users/adaptblConsultant/Downloads/jama_mullangi_2019_po_190026%20(1).pdf.

Sherman, RO 2013, ‘Imposter Syndrome: When you feel like you’re faking it’, American Nurse Today, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 57-58. Accessed 11/08/21,

Weir, K 2013, ‘Feel like a fraud?’, gradPSYCH Magazine, American Psychological Association. Accessed 11/08/21,


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