Do you have a clear plan about where you're going?
Picture your ideal job; what does it look like? What is its focus, and with whom would you be working and interacting? Is your productivity and efficiency all it could be? If not, what must be done to ensure those twin aspects of valued employment?
These questions hold true whether you're an undergraduate or graduate student, new to the job market or otherwise ensconced in a less-than-ideal job. Plan ahead. Act systematically. Are you going into an interview or meeting? Then formulate an agenda even if one is not provided. Reticence has no place within the job market, so carefully consider all chosen paths, then act decisively.
Don't let yourself become sidetracked by thoughts of insecurity. Know yourself honestly. Know your abilities. Then have complete faith in your aptitude and competence. Easier said than done, you ask? Then reframe the question: Why not you? Why not respect your intrinsic value? Why are you not in fact ideal for that job? Why can you not in fact complete that huge project step by methodical step, no matter how complex or intractable it may initially seem?
And what of the setbacks, the mistakes made, both as inevitable as rush-hour traffic? Here's how Lizzie O'Leary (the host of "Marketplace Weekend"), for one, dealt with being young and unsure of herself. Perspective remains key, and represents a tangibly positive teacher.
Picture the best of all possible worlds; what do you most want? With career, with personal goals, with life? Now frame these ideals into a realistic course of action to make them happen.