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8 Tricks To Be More Confident for Your Interview

8 Tricks To Be More Confident for Your Interview

A job search can be a stressful time in a person’s life, and staying positive and motivated can make a world of difference for how a candidate is viewed through the eyes of the interviewer. There’s a wealth of practical information on the web about resume and cover letter tips, acing the interview, and follow-up responses. But how do you avoid getting wrapped up in all the stress and worry of a job hunt and maintain a positive outlook? The more confident you feel, the more it will show. Be poised and hold your head high with these useful day-of interview tips:

8 Tricks to Be More Confident for Your Interview

Use Power Postures

We all know that our minds control our actions and our movements. But did you know you can actually use your body to trick your mind into feeling a certain way? Slouching or slumping and crossing your arms are all examples of closed off postures, and when we feel small, we tend to exhibit these poses. If you spend a little time opening yourself up and exhibiting the postures of the confident, you can build a sense of assurance just by your actions. Spend several minutes practicing “power poses,” or opening yourself up, spreading your arms, walking tall, and looking the part.

Practice Speaking Out Loud and Smiling

We often spend the hours before our interview at home alone going over our perfect answers for the questions we anticipate. We haven’t spoken out loud all day, and without noticing it, we feel holed up and nervous. Public speaking and enunciation are skills and we need to hone these skills in order to master them. Once the interview starts, it’s extremely difficult to correct our speaking problems because we may be too nervous or we just plain don’t notice them. Practice speaking your answers out loud so you can hear your voice and correct any nervous intonations, pitch problems, or pacing issues before you go to your interview.

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And don’t forget to smile. Smiling is contagious, even for yourself. Smile often before your interview to get in the habit of doing so, and you’ll feel more comfortable offering a genuine smile while you’re greeted and when you’re being interviewed.

Listen to Upbeat Music

When you’re in your interview, you want to sound excited and enthusiastic about the position, and not downtrodden and beaten up by the job search process. Do whatever you do to pump yourself up and put yourself in the mood to win, whether it’s listening to upbeat music or watching motivational YouTube videos, or just reading inspirational quotes. Think about a time in your life when you succeeded to get yourself motivated.

Leave Your Hang-ups at the Door

So you had your dream job interview the previous day, and now you’re at your backup job interview. If only you could know beforehand whether or not you’ll be offered the dream job, because then you wouldn’t have to keep interviewing. Yesterday you were at your best, but today doesn’t really matter.

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Whatever you feel about the job you’re interviewing for, treat it like it’s your only priority. Bring enthusiasm with you to every interview you go on, because nothing is set in stone, and no matter how confident you are that you aced the dream job interview, you can never be sure until you’ve signed the contract. If you’re anything but excited about the position, it will show. And you never know, the backup job could end up being perfect.

Dress For the Feeling You Want

Job searching sometimes only happens every few years, or longer. If your last interview outfit has gone out of style, you’ll feel outdated and boxy while wearing it and this could result in awkward behavior on your part because you don’t feel comfortable. Don’t dress in clothes you feel ridiculous wearing. If you take some time to pick out a professional and stylish outfit you feel confident in, you’ll be more likely to exude this assurance and everything from your posture to your attitude could change for the better.

Do One Extroverted Act Before Your Interview

Smile at a stranger. Start small talk with the barista. Chat with the receptionist or the people in the elevator in a friendly manner. Interviewers aren’t just looking for the person who has the perfect answer for every question, they’re also searching for someone who can fit the team dynamic. Employers strive to create a motivated, friendly environment with high company morale, and if you come across as someone who’s shut off and impersonal, no matter how well you answer the questions, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not letting your more lively personality show a little.

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Always remember that the small talk that occurs at the beginning of the interview is equally important as the interview itself, so put yourself in a friendly mood by being an extrovert for a few minutes in the morning. (True story: a friend of mine was once so friendly to the people in the elevator after her interview, that one employee rode right back up to tell his boss to hire her immediately. Every action counts, even if your interviewer isn’t present.)

Get Your Nervous Tics Out of the Way Before You Enter the Building

So you crack your knuckles. You bite your nails on occasion, you tap your foot when you’re feeling excited. We have nervous tics because they offer a feeling of release, and it can be relaxing to give in every once in a while. You don’t have to tell yourself to abandon your habits completely, but make sure you’re not doing them in front of a future employer. Make a point to get it all out of the way when you’re still at home or in your car. Go ahead and crack your knuckles and tap your foot if it calms your nerves, then make a mental note to hold off for the few hours you’re in the building (Do be careful when biting your nails, you want them to look nice and well-manicured for the interview).

Understand and Have the Best Possible Answer to the Question “Why Do You Want This Job?”

Depending on how you answer, this could potentially be the most important question of the interview. It can make or break your prospect of landing the job, and if asked in the beginning of the interview, it can set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Knowing the answer to this question means knowing all about the company and the company’s mission, and it requires a deep understanding of your own career values and desires. It also addresses not only why you’re enthusiastic about the position, but how your specific skill set can be of use to the company.

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If the interviewer doesn’t ask this, answer it anyway. When it’s your turn to ask questions or add something, say that you’d like to add what motivated you to apply for the position at that particular company, and why you were excited to be contacted for the interview. Talk about how you believe your values and ambitions are in line with the company’s, and why you feel passionate about the work they do. Think of this answer as your chance to impress and spend a lot of time researching and rehearsing what you’re going to say in this moment.

Your Chance to Shine

Always remember that the interview isn’t just a session to figure out what skills and experience you possess, it’s a chance for you to let your personality show and to prove that you’d be a good fit for the team. Don’t pass up any opportunity for friendly conversation, and be more wary of short and curt answers than loquaciousness (but try not to ramble too much, of course). Have confidence in yourself, believe that you’re capable of landing this job. After all, they called you; they decided your resume and cover letter were worthy of an interview. So practice potential questions and your answers, but also work on building confidence in yourself and having a positive outlook.

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Last Updated on August 19, 2019

20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

20 Critical Skills to Include on Your Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

A resume describes your critical skills in a way that compels a hiring manager to want to meet you. That is a resume’s sole purpose.

And make no mistake: Writing a resume is an art.

Today each corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes on average, and somehow yours will need to rise above the competition. It’s actually harder to snag an interview from an online posting than to get into Harvard. But don’t let that intimidate you. Instead, open your laptop, roll up your proverbial sleeves, and let’s get to work!


Employers generally prefer candidates with skills that show leadership ability, problem-solving ability, and perseverance through challenges. So in the resume, you should demonstrate that you’re a dynamic candidate.

Refine the skills on your resume so that you incorporate these resume “musts:”

1. Leadership Ability

Even an entry-level employee can show leadership. Point out how your skills helped your department ascend to a new level. Capture leadership attributes with compelling statements.

Example:

“Led change that drove efficiency and an ability to cut 800 error-free payroll checks.”

2. Problem-Solving Ability

Most employees are hired to solve problems. Showcase that ability on your resume.

Example:

“Led staff in campaign to outrival top competitor’s market share during a down cycle.”

3. Perseverance

Have you been promoted several times? Or have you maintained margins in a down cycle? Both achievements demonstrate persistence. You look like someone who can navigate roadblocks.

4. Technical Skills

Consider including a Key Skills or Technology Skills section in which you list computer and software skills.

Example:

“Expert-level knowledge in Java.”

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5. Quantified Results

Nothing is quite as attractive as objective results. Did you increase sales by 25 percent? Win three new clients? Surpass the internal goal by 15 percent?

Use hard-hitting numbers to express your point. State the result first, and then provide a sentence or phrase describing the critical skills you applied to achieve the milestone.

Example:

“Boosted sales by 200 percent by developing new online platform that made it easier for customers to compare and contrast sizes, textures, and fit.”

6. People Skills

Employers prefer congenial staff members to prima donnas or mavericks. Relate your strongest soft skills.

Example:

“Organized, hard-working staffer who listens well and communicates effectively.”

7. Passion in the Field

Recruiters and hiring managers can intuit whether candidates care about their career performance by the dynamism behind the descriptions of their skills on their resumes. Are your efforts “transformational” or merely “useful?” Were your results “game-changing” or boringly “appropriate?”

The tenor of your words reveals whether you’re passionate or passive. (But don’t overdo it. See the “Hyperbole” section below.)

8. Being the Entrepreneur within the Corporation

Whether you took the initiative to create a new synergy or worked independently to land an opportunity, share how you furthered organizational goals through your self-directed efforts.

9. Your Adaptability

Have you switched career paths? Weathered a corporate takeover?

Make it clear that your resilience helped get you and your organization through the turbulence.

10. Confirming Your Expertise

Every job posting states experience requirements. Ideally, you want to meet these requirements or best them. But don’t exaggerate.


While proving that you possess the credentials described in the job posting, you can still stand out if you are able to offer additional special skills to showcase your personality.

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Consider adding any of these special accomplishments, if true:

11. Referencing Award-Winning Talents

If you played center on your college basketball team that made it into the Top 10 finals, then working collaboratively and cooperatively are among your natural callings. Be sure to say so.

12. Unveiling Your Work Persona

If you were repeatedly singled out for your stellar performance in work settings, becoming employee-of-the-month, top revenue generator, and so on — it’s worth mentioning.

13. Capitalizing on Commonalities

From Googling the hiring manager, you discover that she was formerly a Peace Corps volunteer in Belize. Listing your Spanish immersion course in Central America may draw her attention to the other outstanding skills on your resume.

14. Highlighting Creative Tactics

If, for example, in your HR role, you piloted an employee incentive program that became an industry model, include it. Such innovative thinking will command an employer’s attention.

15. Specifying All Accolades

Listing any honors received instills confidence that you will bring that level of perfectionism forward in a corporate environment.

16. Transferable Skills

You spend your spare time conducting your community orchestra. Highlight this after-hours pursuit to show that you have the critical skills needed to keep a team on task.


Take note: Hyperbole can hurt you. So, show your credibility.

Although it may be tempting to use embellishments to boost your experience, improve your job title, or enhance your education, resist. These days, a five-minute search will reveal the truth. And taking self-inflation too far could easily come back to destroy your career.

Hiring managers have their antenna up for resume hyperbole. A survey shows that 53 percent are suspicious that candidates are often dishonest.

Follow these guiding principles when writing your own resume:

17. Accurately Describing Your Degree

Make sure to differentiate between certificates attained and degrees earned, along with the name of the institution awarding them.

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18. Stating Job Duration with Honest Dates

Honesty is the only policy when reporting the length of a particular job. If you’ve been out of work for an extended period of time, state the reason you have gaps.

Whether you traveled, had to cope with a family emergency, or went back to school to change your professional track, communicate the positive outcome that came from the hiatus.

19. Claiming Only the Skills You Truly Possess

Unless you’re proficient in a software program or are fluent in a second language, leave any mention of them off.

Conversely, if you feel like you must include them, then accurately qualify your level of competence.

20. Being Honest About Your Role in a Project

You may think you were the lead person because you did most of the work, but chances are your supervisor thinks otherwise.

Besides the 20 critical skills to include on your resume, here’re some important notes for you.

Bonus Tips for Writing a Resume

You Only Have 6 to 7 Seconds to Impress the Employer

Hiring managers and artificial intelligence “bots” may spend only 6 to 7 seconds perusing your resume, which means you need it to teem with essential skills, quantifiable achievements, and action words.

If, in fact, you believe that a “bot” will be analyzing your resume before it even lands on a hiring manager’s desk, be sure to include some of the actual key words from the posting in your document. There’s no reason why you can’t customize your resume to each job posting.

Another tip: Be sure to show your resume to a few individuals who work in your field, so that you can fine-tune the information as needed.

Starting at the Top

The Objective at the top of your resume is optional if you’re seeking the same job you already have, just at different company. However, if you’re switching fields, it’s critical to include an Objective, which is a one-sentence summary of the job you want.

For example:

Objective: To become web editor at a thriving news website.

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If you’ve been in your field for ten years or more, you will probably want to include an Executive Summary. This is a one-sentence takeaway about who you are, including the critical skills you amassed throughout your career.

For example:

Executive Summary: Award-winning creative director with over ten years experience managing teams on three continents.

Depending on your field, you may also want to add some skills as bullet points in the Executive Summary section.

And what about your Education? If you graduated from college within the past ten years, include your Education just below the Objective section (and forgo the Executive Summary). If it’s been over ten years since you graduated, then include your Education at the very end of your resume. Only cite your grade point average (G.P.A.) if it was exceptional—3.7 G.P.A. or higher, or if you won scholastic awards.

Ideally, the critical skills you amassed during college, at your previous job, and throughout your career will add up to a riveting portrait of a professional who’s ideally suited for your dream position: You.

Tailor, Tweak, and Fine-Tune

If you’re targeting different kinds of organizations, you’ll need customized resumes for each outreach.

Don’t be afraid to parrot some of the words on the list of requirements back to the company. Many times, organizations will actually use the key words mentioned in the job posting when screening resumes.

Approach Your Resume as a Skills-Based Story

Like any good storyteller, lay out the framework at the beginning. Include the skills you’ve mastered and state how you can add value—wording your sentences in a way that reflects the specific job you’re seeking.

Are you vying for a sales position? Quantify your results: “Responsible for 50 percent of all sales that resulted in $750,000 in annual revenue.” Use your critical skills, peppered throughout your resume, to tell the exciting story of your distinguished professional career!

Researching the organization that you’re targeting will help you make your examples specific. Does the company cater to a particular audience or clientele? Be sure to note any experiences you’ve had with similar audiences.

Putting It All Together

A resume is not a laundry list. It tells a cohesive story. Your story should highlight your qualifications and critical skills in a way that makes a logical, well-constructed case for your compatibility with the organization and its advertised position.

Packaging your story into the concisely prescribed format of a resume means that it will read as a synopsis — one that will hopefully land you the job.

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Featured photo credit: Bram Naus via unsplash.com

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