Madeline Howard

Have you ever been in a position where you feel like you don’t belong, despite being told the opposite?  Maybe you’ve been given a new position or a leadership role, yet you feel completely unqualified for the task.  Or maybe you have a striking fear of being ‘found out,' in the sense that others will realize you don’t know what you’re doing.  This all too common feeling is called impostor syndrome.


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Impostor syndrome is the inadequacy that people feel in the workplace, even if they are entirely able to successfully fill a position.  Studies show that it's most prominent in high-achieving women, who, despite their ambitious tendencies, internalize the notion that they’ve fooled people into thinking they’re smarter or more successful than they actually are.  An impostor syndrome mentality leads women to silence themselves in many ways such as refraining from vocalizing an opinion during meetings, or downplaying their qualifications in interviews.

Destroying this mindset is vital, because now more than ever women’s voices need to be heard and we must not be afraid take on leadership positions.  We have a duty to overcome the feeling that we don’t deserve success and in doing so, raise the number of female leaders everywhere.

If impostor syndrome resonates with you in any way, here are a few tips to help you find your confidence and realize what you have to offer:

1) Read Your Resume Daily

Take a moment each morning to read your resume before you head to class, interviews, or work.  This can remind you of everything you’ve accomplished and the experience you’ve accumulated over time, and it only takes a few minutes.  Keep the things you’re most proud of written down on something you always have with you, whether that be your daily planner or even your smart phone.  This way, you can read them over on short notice when second-guessing your abilities.

2) Follow Social Media Accounts that Promote Female Ambition

If you’re active on social media, you should follow accounts that celebrate female ambition.  That way, when you scroll through your feed, you will also be reinforcing the notion that your desire for success is rightful and that you deserve a voice in the professional world.  Accounts that add a bit of female empowerment to my day are Makers Women, Girlboss, and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls.


Impostor syndrome is the inadequacy that people feel in the workplace, even if they are entirely able to successfully fill a position. 


3) Buy Books Written by Powerful Women

Reading books written by women who have achieved success in their careers can help you recognize the legitimacy of your own accomplishments.  Sometimes reading about the hardships faced by other women will remind you of the battles you’ve endured on your own path to success, and why you deserve to be where you are right now.  Ultimately, you can let the stories of other women who have been in your shoes be the light that guides you towards self-recognition and self-confidence.  Some books that I would recommend are Yes Please by Amy Poehler, Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem, or The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer. 

By slowly implementing these tasks into each day you can overcome your impostor syndrome mentality.  It's incredibly important that we recognize what we have to offer in our respective professions and aim to achieve the highest possible level of success for the future.


Madeline is a student-athlete at New York University studying English and American Literature. Given her school’s location in Manhattan, Madeline loves to explore the city and document her various adventures on her blog, . You can also find her wandering around  bookstores searching for her next feminist read and sipping an iced coffee. For a more holistic view of her creative and professional style, check out her portfolio website,


Comments (1)

  1. Meagan Hooper

Great idea to read my resume! Thanks!

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