So you've decided to take the plunge and start hunting for a new job. This takes courage, so congratulations on being willing to step out there! One of the next hurdles in navigating your personal career path is the job interview. Maybe interviews are old hat for you; maybe you're fresh out of school and are just learning the protocol. Either way, consider this article a mini refresher course and pep talk to get you going! Below are a few thoughts to file under "Why I Don't Need to be Nervous on Interview Day."
Reason 1: I am not desperate for this job.
Many people approach the job interview with the mindset of "I MUST land this job or else." This is a nice way to push the Instant Panic button and set yourself up to fail. The fact is, you have no idea what the job entails, what your future boss will be like or whether this company has anything to offer you. It may be the career opportunity of a lifetime, but it may not be, and you won't know for sure until you get there. So ditch the desperation, take a deep breath, and just feel honored that someone liked your career profile enough to pick you over the next candidate. It's looking good for you so far.
Reason 2: I have other options.
Sometimes we have a tendency to jump at the first hint of a new job on the horizon. "Someone wants to hire me... I'd better take it before my options dry up!" Remember that if you don't get chosen (or decide to accept) this job, chances are slim to none that you'll end up destitute. There are tons of jobs available on the major job sites like Monster.com. Keep your eyes pealed for new job postings in the local and nearby metropolitan newspapers.
You can also find part-time income or freelance work by combing the internet classifieds - try Craigslist.org. And if you're in a layoff situation, you likely have some severance or unemployment to tide you over in the job search interim. So relax. Everything is going to be okay. Know you can and will find something that works for you.
Reason 3: I want to make sure the company is good enough for ME!
How many people do you think approach their interviews with an attitude of, "Is this company worthy of my caliber of work?" and "Is this position a fit for me?" These are legitimate questions and things to consider. However, watch out that the scales don't dip too far to this side. You may honestly be wondering if this company deserves your talent and dedication.
But don't let arrogance rear its ugly head during your interview. Stay down to earth, be gracious, answer questions as honestly and objectively as you can. Speak highly of your achievements but without being condescending! Be grateful for the chance to sell yourself and balance that with the intent to determine if this company and position is a fit for you.
Reason 4: I have something to offer.
If you're in a cutting edge field (like technology) or at a highly advanced skill level, realize what a hot commodity you are right now. To help you validate this point, do a little research of the job market. Try some creative career mind benders where you take stock of all your skills and then write down areas where they can be put to productive use. Then, instead of being nervous about the possibility of rejection, approach with an attitude of, "How can I present myself in the best possible light? What strategy can I take to ensure I get the salary I desire?"
Once you realize that a job interview is nothing to get worked up over, cement your self-confidence and develop a "go get 'em!" approach. Do a personal assessment of everything you've accomplished over the course of your career to date. Even if you're new to the workforce and have only an internship to work with, make the most of what you do have. Go over those letters of recommendation to see what you can include in your resume and mention in the interview. Count any and all awards you have received. Dredge up old thank-you notes that clients may have sent.
Bonus prep tip: Pull out those old files and take a look at your work performance reviews from the past. Where do you excel? Which areas are your strongest? Make a mental note of these, then practice how you will work this information into whatever questions you are asked in the interview. Remember, it is okay to answer an interview question in a way that reflects your best qualities, as long as you are still being honest.
Now - are you ready to knock their socks off with your tireless work ethic, great attitude, talent, skills and perseverance? I know you can do this. It's an interview - it's no big deal. Now go out there and take the professional world by storm!
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