Nerves—they affect the best of us. Even politicians, big-shot business professionals and other world leaders have experienced some form of anxiety and stress in their life time; so don’t beat yourself up too much if you feel extremely nervous before or during a job interview. It’s completely normal. But that doesn’t mean that you have to let your nerves be all-consuming—after all you could jeopardize your chances of employment if you’re “too” jittery. That said there are several (and simple) things you can do to shake off any pre-interview anxiety and land your dream job. To learn the top 5, continue reading below.

1) Plan ahead:

This cannot be stressed enough. All too often job applicants get knots in the pits of their stomachs because they don’t know what to expect. Not knowing what kind of curve balls employers can throw at you can be pretty nerve wrecking. But an easy way to walk into your scheduled interview with confidence is to plan ahead and think through all of the worst-case scenarios. This includes not only formulating answers to common interview questions such as “why do you want to work here?” and “why should we hire you instead of the other applicants?” but also jotting down answers to the questions you fear the most. For example, is there a particular question that you are just dreading that the interviewer will ask? If so, face your greatest fear and try coming up with an answer that is both honest and will reflect you in a positive light.

This is not to say that you should memorize all of your answers however; after all some variant of these questions may be asked and you don’t want to appear robotic in your responses. But having some idea of what you could say is a sure fire way to get rid of some nerves. You also want to make sure that you do some thorough research on the company—make sure to know a tad bit about the company’s history, some of its latest projects, and recognize the top honchos. Not only will it demonstrate that you’re serious about working there but it can also give your answers some substance.

2) Have a dress rehearsal:

Another way to plan ahead and feel more at ease is to have a full-on “mock” dress rehearsal of the interview.  Pick out your outfit, get all of your documents in order and have a friend or relative interview you. Here, your “interviewer” will be able to help point out your strengths and weakness as well as address any mannerisms you may need to correct; for example, you may use too many informal words like “totally and awesome” or speak way too quickly which can hinder your chances of getting hired.

As part of the dress rehearsal it may also be a good idea to actually take a quick drive-by to where your interview will take place. This can ensure that you don’t get lost on the day of (Google Maps is not always reliable) and can give you an opportunity to check out the parking situation.  Even if you know where you’re going, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to get there on the day of and ask for the interviewers direct phone number—accidents do happen and if you get into a car collision or there is far more traffic than you anticipate, you need to call immediately and let the interviewer know you will be running late or need to reschedule.

3) Have a good laugh:

They don’t say laughter is the best medicine for nothing. Not only has studies proven that laughing can help cure the body of certain diseases and illnesses, but it can also reduce the levels of stress hormones and anxiety. This is because when one laughs, the body releases “feel-good” chemicals called endorphins. These are the same chemicals that are released when we exercise and the same chemicals that naturally help fight-off depression.

So to replace any negative, jittery feelings with positive, confident ones simply fill the hours leading up to the interview with laughter. Go visit your funniest friend or watch that one movie no matter how many times you see it always leaves you in stitches. Or you can even download your favorite comedian’s stand up onto your iPod and listen to it on your way to the interview. If all fails, you can even make yourself laugh by making a few funny faces in the review mirror or bathroom.

4) Listen to music:

Another way to get rid of nerves is to listen to music that will put you either in a tranquil non-stress state or listen to some music that will pump you up—you know, some confidence boosting music that assures you that you are in fact the best. It can help you feel inspired which can in-turn help you dominate in the interview. Make a track list and listen to some motivational (or simply relaxing music) on the drive to the interview and or/while you wait.

5) Be open about nervousness:

Lastly, if you start feeling nervous during the interview remember that it’s ok to admit it. During the beginning of the interview or if you start to stumble on a question, it’s ok to say something like, “I apologize, I’m extremely nervous. This is my first interview” or “It’s been quite some time that I’ve been in this position.” This will only make you appear more human and the interviewer may just be able to relate to you more. Who knows, the interviewer may even be just be as nervous as you are.

Author: This guest contribution was submitted by Lenore Holditch, who specializes in writing about top online colleges.

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