Promoting Belonging & Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

As part of Diversity Month, we met with several Metromilers to discuss their personal and professional efforts in supporting diversity and DE&I efforts in their own communities. In part three of our series, Metromilers offer advice for those looking to break into a new industry and how to overcome imposter syndrome.

Promoting Belonging & Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

What’s your advice for those looking to break into a new industry where they feel they might not belong at first?

Prachi S, Senior Software Engineer: Whether you’re first starting out in your career or looking to switch industries mid-career, it can be incredibly daunting and confusing where to start. One of the best ways to begin is by building up your professional network and finding allies who are willing to mentor or sponsor you on your journey. 

It’s also important to remember and normalize that you won’t know everything right away. When jumping into a new industry, it takes time and patience to build the appropriate skills and knowledge – so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and take a chance. Being flexible, open to feedback, and constantly practicing your skills will help you feel more confident and successful in the technology industry. 

Germaine R., Technical Recruiter: Focus on building meaningful professional relationships – this is key if you are interested in breaking into a new industry where you don’t have a lot of knowledge or previous experience. Resources like LinkedIn are great tools to find fellow alumni or past colleagues to reconnect with that can help you transition into a new field. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people and ask if they’re open to a coffee chat. I’ve found that most people – recruiters or employees– are happy to talk even if they aren’t currently hiring. 

If you’re early in your career or new to an industry, it’s helpful to start with an internship or short-term contract to get your feet wet and start building your professional network. Take some time to research the key people or companies in your desired industry and increase your professional knowledge by following professional journals or joining appropriate LinkedIn groups. And don’t forget to always be nice to recruiters! 

What’s your advice for someone who’s experiencing imposter syndrome?

Mary S., Product Manager: It can be really hard to build yourself up, but it’s easy to let others do it for you. If you’re experiencing imposter syndrome, share your feeling in an environment where you feel safe – maybe that’s a Slack channel, a professional group, or even your friends. 

When you share your concerns and feelings with those around you, they can tear all those doubts to shreds and help you overcome imposter syndrome. 

Asher Hartwin, People Operations Coordinator: I suffer from imposter syndrome myself, I think a lot of people do for various reasons and it can be difficult to overcome. I believe it comes from a lack of representation as it’s common to think “I don’t belong here” when you don’t see others like you. 

It’s really important to remember that imposter syndrome is entirely social and has no bearing on a person’s real achievements, work ethic, skillsets, or motivation.