Have you ever hoped for something so bad that once you got it, you weren't quite sure how to deal with it? A trip around the world, a chance to meet someone you idolize, or a big job interview can be especially disconcerting. In fact, an important job interview may be the most nerve-wracking. But the good news is that it doesn't have to be.
Consider these 10 tips to help you overcome your jitters:
1. Remember, you were invited in. This means someone obviously believes you have the skills to fill the position. Bearing this in mind will help you to keep your confidence level up.
2. Get a good night's sleep. While you may be in a celebratory mood at the prospect of a new job, rest is important the night before your interview. You stand a better chance of being calm and relaxed if you've taken the responsibility of getting a good night's sleep. There will be plenty of time to celebrate once you've been invited to join the team.
3. Practice interview responses with a friend or loved one. Being prepared to answer, clearly and concisely, the most common interview questions will have you feeling sharp, which reverberates in the interview. Answering questions like, "Tell me about a time you made a mistake," are opportunities to punctuate your value. Own up to your mistake, and then promptly focus on how you learned and grew from the blunder. It's even better if you can demonstrate that you produced a gain (in revenue, profits, and efficiencies) for your department, division, or entire company later on, as a result of your growth.
4. Sell yourself. Remember, the interviewer is probing for reasons to hire (or NOT hire) you. Your interview is a sales opportunity to prove you can help the company grow, be more competitive or boost profits. Also, it's a time to prove you are a cultural fit, will mesh with the team, will be on board to support your new boss and can help make him or her look good. Be prepared so that you can answer authentically, yet strategically; you don't want to sound desperate or pushy, or like you memorized your answers, but you DO want to be genuinely interested in their areas of pain. The more equipped you are to calmly describe scenarios that will frame your story into a snapshot that your interviewer can focus on, the more likely YOU will be the candidate of choice.
5. Eat a healthy breakfast the morning of your interview. Studies prove time and time again that you will function better and think more clearly by doing so. Some power foods to consider include eggs, oatmeal, whole grain bread, fruit, yogurt, lean meat, low-fat cottage cheese, or a glass of milk. How can you possibly hope to concentrate during a crucial moment if your stomach is demanding attention?
6. Prepare the night before your interview. Polishing your fingernails five minutes before you leave is not a good interview grooming strategy. Select your wardrobe and perform whatever personal sprucing you can ahead of time. Familiarize yourself with directions to the office, and handle any other last-minute details that may disrupt your ability to have a calm and relaxing morning. If you're frazzled when you arrive, it will show.
7. Arrive at least 15 minutes early. Doing so will give you time to wind down from the journey to the office, have a drink, freshen up, and review your materials before meeting with the interviewer. Doing so will also keep those nerves in check.
8. Breathe. Breathing seems so natural until anxiety sets in. Reminding yourself to consciously control this most basic function of life will keep you relaxed before, during, and after the interview.
9. Keep this event in perspective. Ask yourself: What's the worst-case scenario should the interview not go as well as hoped? It is very unlikely that any physical harm will come to you. So what are you worried about?
10. Give yourself a break. You have done everything you can to prepare up to this point, so all of the worrying in the world will not change the outcome. Even if you don't get the job, the experience alone will pay you back tenfold in being ready for the next interview.
Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. Jacqui and her husband, "Sailor Rob," host a lively careers-focused blog at http://careertrend.net/blog. Jacqui is a power Twitter user (@ValueIntoWords), listed on several "Best People to Follow" lists for job seekers.