It can be hard not to be nervous when going into an interview, particularly if it’s for a job you really want. Nerves can even be a good thing some times. Employers like to see a few jitters in their applicants because it’s a sign that they really want the position. But there’s a fine line between nervous excitement and awkward jitters. In fact, nerves can be misinterpreted by interviewers as a lack of experience or confidence in your qualifications. To make sure you are prepared to present yourself in your best light, take these steps to calm your nerves and put your best self forward for an interview.
Preparation is Everything
Preparation is the key to success, particularly in a job interview setting. Knowing the job description and requirements in addition to how your unique skills and work history complement their demands is critical. You want to prepare both mentally and verbally in order to put your best foot forward. If you have someone to do a mock interview with, that’s a great option. If not, try talking in front of the mirror. Review your resume and talking points until you can say them in your sleep, because when the moment hits and you forget to mention a key work experience or two because of nerves, you’ll certainly regret it. Confidence is naturally created by preparedness. You know you’re a great fit for the job, just be prepared to tell an interviewer why.
Watch Your Breath
Overly fast breathing is a common reaction to a nervous situation. But breathing too rapidly can only make those jitters worse. Make a conscious effort to control your breathing, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Slow it down to a slightly slower than normal pace to calm your body and focus your mind. Think about what a positive outcome for this interview would be, what it would sound and feel like. This can help slow your speaking, calm jittery limbs and steady a shaky voice as well. You’ll soon be centered and calm enough to really put on your best show for an interview.
Demeanor and Body Language
You would never guess it, but a good laugh before an interview can really help to put your mind at ease. Your body language makes an impression on your confidence level as well (and not just how an interviewer perceives your confidence level). Standing with legs planted wide, shoulders back and hands on hips, while you have a good, hearty laugh prior to walking into your interview, can help calm your nerves and put you in a more confident frame of mind. Just make sure to do it where your interviewer or the receptionist can’t see or hear you, as that might make for an awkward first impression.
Another confidence booster is to stay standing up while waiting to meet your interviewer. Meeting them at their level when first introduced is an excellent way to boost your confidence and their opinion of your confidence as well.
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