Why do you get so nervous before a job interview, even if you know you’d be great for the job? And what can you do about it?

First, accept that being interviewed is a stressful situation. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re handing over control to another person for something important as your career. And it’s unnerving and uncomfortable to know that you’re being judged, as well as being the focus of attention.

But how can you get your stress and anxiety under control so you can let your talents and abilities shine when you’re on the spot? Here are five tips:

1) Wear a professional but comfortable and flattering outfit.

In other words, wear your favorite business clothes. Do you have a stylish suit that fits well? A lucky tie, or a scarf that always makes you feel chic? If a suit is too dressy for this job, wear interview-appropriate clothes that are flattering but still professional. If you feel good as well as looking nice, you’ll make a great first impression. And be sure to wear comfortable shoes, so you can walk right!

2) Give yourself enough time.

You don’t want to be or feel rushed on the day of an interview, so give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Leave for the interview in plenty of time, so you won’t arrive feeling keyed up or worried. And if you can, take some time to try and help yourself relax before going in, by meditating or deep breathing for 20 minutes.

3) Prepare your materials the night before.

Put together an extra copy or two of your resume, any recommendations or references, and any licenses or certifications you hold, if they’re relevant to the job. These papers should be placed in a folder, then in a nice portfolio or some kind of briefcase, so you have them handy but not in your hands.

4) Don’t overdo it on caffeine.

Try to limit yourself to one cup, enough to help you feel awake and alert, but not enough to make you jittery. Caffeine is a stimulant, and you want to feel cool, calm and collected.

5) Make sure you ask some questions, too!

To equalize the playing field and take the spotlight off of yourself—as well as showing the interviewer that you’ve done your homework and are interested in the job—prepare a list of questions that you want to ask. These questions should cover job responsibilities, the required skill set, opportunities for advancement and other information you need to know to determine whether the job is a good fit for you.

By taking control of the things that you can, you’ll walk into any interview feeling much better. Still feeling unsure? At Staffers, we work with you to get you interview-ready for opportunities with some really terrific companies. Work with us, and we’ll have you sailing through interviews like a champ!

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