Everyone gets nervous during interviews, but how a candidate handles the nerves will determine if he or she lands the job. In a job interview, you must sell yourself by highlighting your skills and experiences while displaying confidence. This might seem like an impossible task for a nervous young professional or recent college graduate looking for employment. After graduation, I had a hard time suppressing my nerves during my first couple of interviews. I manifested all of the classic nervous symptoms; my palms would get sweaty, my face and chest would turn red, and I would overthink every question. By allowing my nerves to take over, I subconsciously sabotaged my chances of advancing to the next round. After having a few interviews under my belt and searching the Internet for interview tips, I learned how to conquer my nerves and land my first job.

Don’t wait until you receive an interview request – start preparing now! Being well prepared will ease your anxiety and help you express why you are the ideal candidate. Here are six tips that will help you ace an interview:

  1. Do your research. Before the interview, do your homework by researching the company, the industry, and the person conducting the interview. This will give you the opportunity to impress potential employers by adding what you learned to your answers. A common question asked in an interview is “what do you know about XYZ company.” An ideal response includes components of the company’s mission statement, services, and recent milestones or events that have positively affected the company.
  2. Practice makes perfect. After you prepare general and industry-focused interview questions, practice your responses until you feel confident. Your answers should emphasize your skills and strengths, and illustrate how you can add value to the company. Do not memorize your answers! You want to come across as natural, not rehearsed.
  3. Dress for success. First impressions matter! Before you have the chance to explain why you are the ideal candidate, you are judged by your appearance. A negative first impression could derail the interview, making it impossible for you to change the interviewer’s initial thoughts. Avoid this scenario by ensuring your attire looks clean and professional. If you are unsure about your attire, reference Jessica Sandhu’s tips on How to Dress to Impress.
  4. Before the interview. Ensure you have multiple copies of your resume on hand. Do not assume your interviewer will print a copy before the interview. Also, arrive at the office at least 5 to 15 minutes early. This indicates that you are responsible and determined to get the job. If you are running late, it is important to notify human resources or the person arranging the interview. Not doing so will give the impression that you do not care about this opportunity.
  5. Always ask questions. Asking questions throughout the interview sends a clear message that you are determined, interested and want to expand your knowledge about the company.
  6. Send a thank you note. Always send a thank you email after an interview. Aside from an excellent way to express your gratitude, you can use this opportunity to show your interest, recap your qualifications and address any unanswered questions.

Jordan Junqua is the Marketing Coordinator for Surgent CPA Review. Jordan graduated from Saint Joseph’s University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration degree concentrated in marketing. Before joining Surgent CPA Review, Jordan worked for a full-service luxury travel consulting firm, where she gained knowledge in digital marketing, product development, social media and public relations.