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21 Powerful Tricks To Build Confidence Before a Job Interview

Use these tips to walk into that interview with a pep in your step.

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Practice the questions you don’t want to be asked

Everyone has questions they dread being asked by a future employer, whether it’s about a gap in your employment history or the reason you got fired.  The key is to face these questions head on before the interview. "We all have questions that we hope the employers don’t ask," says Amy Wolfgang, CEO of Wolfgang Career Coaching. "Work through them ahead of time so you don’t go in with a level of anxiety of, 'Please don’t ask me that.'" Try planning out your response to these difficult questions before the interview. Or figure out how to spin a negative employment situation into a positive one. Use these tips to learn how to answer the toughest job interview questions.

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Build a vision board

Envision images that inspire confidence when you look at them. Choose a quote that speaks to you, a picture of your role model, or a photo that brings back a happy memory in your life. “I’d suggest including images that make you feel confident, place you in precisely the position you want, and help you imagine success,” says Valorie Burton, author of Successful Women Speak Differently. Need a dose of creativity in your life? This is what creative people do daily.

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Do a body scan in the parking lot

Sit upright comfortably in your car seat and start bringing focusing on the soles of your feet pressing into the floor mat, move up to your ankles and become aware of them, then your shins, and so forth until you’re reach the top of your head. “We are ruminating up in our minds when we talk about being nervous,” says Rob Handelman, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist in New York. “It’s our minds trying to solve uncertainty. We are doing our best to control uncertainty, which makes us feel nervous, so we need to bring our awareness back to the present.” Handelman suggests doing a mindfulness exercise, like a body scan, for five minutes a day leading up to the interview so that you’re much less likely to be freaked out by your nerves and insecurities.

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Don’t pull a cram session

This isn’t a college exam, it’s a job interview. It’s fine to bring a few notes with you to review ahead of time in the waiting room, but don’t try to remember every practiced response all at once. “At the point when you’re sitting there waiting for the interview, you’ve done your work,” says Wolfgang. “Cramming everything is going to increase your anxiety.” This presidential speech advises us to trust our doubts and instincts. 

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Keep in mind that there are other jobs out there

There are plenty of jobs in the sea! Don’t go into the interview feeling like you’ll never get another one, because you will! “If you don’t get this one, chances are it’s because it was less right for you than another one,” says Marty Nemko, PhD, a career coach in California and author of The Best of Marty Nemko

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Pump up the playlist

Blast a song that gets your heart pumping and feet thumping on your drive to the interview. It’ll relieve that pent up tension and give your confidence a boost so you can stride into that interview with ease. Two studies showed how hospital patients who listened to soothing music before and after surgery eased their anxiety and reduced their stress levels. If tranquil music doesn’t do the trick to quell your nerves, try empowering tunes like “We Will Rock You” by Queen. Northwestern University researchers found that bass-heavy "high-power" tunes helped people feel more empowered before a meeting or job interview versus the slower, “low-power” classified music.  Here are more surprising health benefits of listening to music.

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Pose like Superman or Superwoman in the mirror

Place your hands on your hips, widen your legs shoulder width apart, keep your head up and look in the mirror; this is the ultimate power pose. “The interview is a stage that you’re walking onto,” says Wolfgang. “Get your body involved in a pose that feels powerful to you.”  However, the science is divided on just how effective power posing can be. One small study conducted by Harvard and Columbia researchers suggested that power posing for two minutes can increase testosterone levels, which boosts your confidence and decreases cortisol levels, lowering your feelings of stress. Yet another group of researchers from Switzerland and Sweden replicated the study with a larger group of people and found that power posing had no effect on the body’s chemistry. The one consistent finding was that power posing helped people feel more powerful, so it can’t hurt to try it out. These power body language moves will nab you that dream job.

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Find what makes you unique

Everyone has a selling point that makes them shine. All you have to do is figure it out and own it. Wolfgang says many of her clients have unique selling points that they take for granted. She suggests asking your co-worker what they think some of your strengths are. They know your work ethic better than anyone else (besides yourself).

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Don’t forget to breathe

Breathe in deeply for eight seconds, then take one more gasp at the end before pushing out a huge gust of air. Repeat 10 to 15 times. “Breathing is about willingness to honor the nerves and the importance of nerves and why this job is important,” says Dr. Handelman.  Deep breathing helps you embrace those nerves and exhaling that negative energy releases the tension so you can feel grounded for the interview. Remember it’s okay to be nervous!

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Change your perspective 

“Life is a perspective,” says Wolfgang. “We can look through the lens of scarcity or we can look at it through a lens of abundance.” Basically, you can either freak out and ask yourself, “What if I don’t get it?” or you can look at it as an opportunity to have a conversation about a job that you feel like you’re a great fit for. Carol Dweck, PhD, a Stanford University psychologist, has researched fixed mindsets versus growth mindsets. She found that people with fixed mindsets tend to believe that success is only based on talent and intelligence while people with growth mindsets are most successful because they understand that their talent is just the starting point of success. Use these positive quotes to change your frame of mind.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest