Confidence really is the key to getting so many things in life, including but not limited to your dream job.

In a study published in Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 67 undergraduate business and psychology students at Ohio State University enrolled to learn about a fake (albeit related) master’s degree program that would train them for future, high-paying positions. Students read through a brochure of the program before answering questionnaires that asked them to rate their confidence in relation to their career, their chances of getting into the program, their intention to apply, and their overall GPA.

Then, researchers divided students into four groups. One group received program information stating there was no GPA requirement while the remaining three groups received information their GPA was 0.10 higher than required. A career adviser met with the three groups and pointed out that their GPA was higher than the requirement; that they were exactly what the program was looking for, and if they applied, it was unlikely they would be rejected; or that they would be accepted into, as well as excel in the program, receive full funding, and have their pick of jobs come graduation.

When researchers had students fill out their initial questionnaire a second time, they found students were more excited with their career and program when they felt extremely validated by an adviser — confident. The group who was told their GPA exceeded the requirement, on the other hand, showed no self-confidence toward becoming a business psychologist. “Even when students learn that they exceed some external admissions requirement to become a business psychologist, they still have to decide whether that means they should pursue that career dream instead of any others,” said Dr. Patrick Carroll, lead study author and assistant professor of psychology at Ohio State University’s Lima campus, in a press release.

Self-confidence played a key role in this study — and it can translate to the jobs many people seek in the years following college. Despite the grades, the motivation, and the ability, Carroll found applicants crippled by self-doubt are less likely to invest in new, ambitious goals. He added that this research could be of great use to parents, teachers, and counselors. "Educators are trying to lead students to the most realistic career options," Carroll said. "This research is important to understanding how students make revisions in their career goals and decide which career possibilities they should embrace."

We admit that someone telling you to be more confident is a lot harder than it sounds, especially if low self-esteem has been engrained in other areas of a person's life. But, consistent exercise, a fresh wardrobe and hygiene, plus staying social and learning to stop a negative thought in its tracks are all science-backed hacks for more confidence — and hopefully, that corner office, published novel, start-up, or whatever career you've always wanted.

Source: Carroll P. Upward Self-Revision: Constructing Possible Selves. Basic and Applied Social Psychology. 2014.