Interview Jitters: 6 Simple Moves to Keep Your Cool

It’s perfectly natural to be nervous during the hours leading up to a job interview, and the more you want the job, the more on-edge you’ll feel until the meeting comes to an end. But you’ll stand a better chance of landing the job (and you’ll feel more confident about your performance) if you can keep your jitters from showing on the surface. Here are a few ways to maintain a calm demeanor throughout the process, even if your heart is racing.

Stay in the present

Don’t visualize your timeline too far into the future. Sure you may land this job, and today’s victory may launch you into a lifetime of professional success and glory. Likewise, if you bomb this interview, you may never encounter this kind of opportunity again, ever. But for now, take things one step at a time. Stay in the moment and recognize this meeting for what it is: just a simple conversation between two people who each have something to gain if all goes well.

Take care of yourself

Don’t overdo the coffee before your interview starts. Get plenty of sleep the night before. Eat a breakfast of lean protein and whole grains. Reconfirm your directions, and leave the house early so you don’t arrive at your destination with frazzled nerves. These simple moves will make a real difference in your personal presentation.

Practice your elevator pitch

Imagine that you have 30 seconds to explain to your interviewer why you’re perfect for this job and what you bring to the table that no other candidate can. Prepare this pitch beforehand, and actually practice your delivery in front of a friend or a mirror. Just one round of practice can take some of the edge out of your voice when you make your case to your potential employer.

Use your listening skills

Too often, nervous job candidates are so focused on what they have to say that they don’t fully listen to all of the information their interviewers are providing. If you really tune in, you’ll learn a few things about this job and this company. Reading between the lines will help you hit the ground running if you’re hired. And in the meantime, it can help you decide if this job is really a match for you. Besides, the best way to settle and manage your nerves is to step outside of yourself for the moment and focus on the needs and feelings of someone else.

Pay attention to your non-verbal cues

Say conscious of your eye contact, your posture, and the behavior of your hands and arms during the entire meeting. When you sit in a chair, take possession of the entire chair—don’t perch at the edge. Let your arms rest comfortably on the arm rests or prop them in relaxed way on the desk surface in front of you. Feel free to let your hands emphasize your words, but when you aren’t speaking, don’t allow them to tap the desk, fiddle with objects, or fidget. Don’t scratch, don’t hug yourself, and don’t let your hands come between your interviewer’s line of sight and your mouth, since this can suggest that you have something to hide.

Keep your resume close

Come prepared with several printed copies of your resume in hand. Use MyPerfectResume to create a beautifully formatted document, and then offer one to your interviewer as you answer questions and explain your credentials. A strong resume can provide an excellent visual aid and can help you keep your nervous energy in check.