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Interview Tips: Using Big Game Mentality to Score the Job

You may be pumped up and giving 110 percent, but despite your best effort, you've yet to be called back for a second round interview. Or you might be pouring your heart and soul into your spotlight moment, and then finding that your elevator pitch falls flat and your audience checks out before you're halfway finished. If these scenarios sound familiar, it may be time to examine your performance in the midst of those big moments.

What is "Big Game Mentality"?

Imagine an athlete who has everything it takes to succeed. During practice and scrimmage-style events, they sink every shot and score every goal, and they do it with a joyful, effortless grace that experts describe as "natural talent". But when they're ready to go head-to-head with an opponent in an all-or-nothing championship game, they choke.

In the biggest of the big games, they can't seem to line up a shot properly. They over-swings or undershoot, and they play like a tense, awkward amateur. They overthink every move and their poise deteriorates into desperation.

This athlete lacks what the sports world calls big game mentality, that ability to channel maturity and calmness in the most stressful, high-pressure situations. This state of Zen (of sort) requires that competitors focus solely on the task at hand, not the past or the future. This allows sportspeople to tap into their talents and channel the quiet concentration necessary to clinch a crucial win.

And unsurprisingly, it's just as useful in big job search moments as it is in big games.

Tips to Channeling Big Game Mentality

Chances are, the athlete described above gets different results from big and small games because they approach the two in different ways. During practice sessions, they're calm and happy. They're in their element and playing the game they love. But during big games, they're forcing themselves to play for different reasons and they're focusing too much on the outcome of the match and too little on the match itself.

During your job search – the interview phase in particular, try and prep for your own big moment by doing the following:

  1. Leave the past in the past: Focusing too much on the good things or bad things that happened beforehand in previous interviews has no bearing on your next session. Keep your head in the present and prepare properly for the now.
  2. Stay positive: The job search can take a toll on your confidence, but it's important to approach each interview with positivity and faith in yourself. You won the chance to interview after all, so be an ally to yourself—not an enemy.
  3. Find some perspective: As much as it may feel like losing out on a promising job opportunity may kill you, we all know that it won't. This job is just one of the many that may come your way, and if you win it, great—and if you don't, they'll be others. Once you realize that your entire career isn't riding on an interview, you'll be able to approach it in a calmer, more collected manner.
  4. Forget the future (for now): Getting too wrapped up in the outcome of an interview can rob you of the result you imagined for yourself. Rather concentrate on the process itself. Think about your preparation, those strengths and skills that allow you to excel, and the best practice that will allow you to answer each question to the best of your ability.

Enjoy the ride, right or wrong. And along the way, turn to MyPerfectResume for application tools that can keep your search on track.

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