As you transition from a student to a working professional, you’ll have a lot of anxiety-inducing events coming up – interviews, networking events, a new job and subsequent training and adapting to new co-workers, first reviews, etc. These moments will force you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone to achieve better results for yourself. How can you help yourself prepare to be less nervous and more confident as you begin your career?
Positive Head Space
Situation: You’re preparing for an interview and you’re worried you’ll stumble over your words and forget important information.
Practice and Take Notes
Preparation is really key toward setting yourself up for interview success. You’ve read the tried and true advice about practicing interview style questions with a friend or family member and it’s great interview advice for a reason – try it out! Practice in the mirror too. The point of both of these tips is to practice saying information out loud. Take notes on your big achievements and any questions you can think of ahead of time. Have this note handy for your interview and don’t worry about forgetting important achievements and questions.
Solution: The night before your interview, go over The Balance’s interview checklist of what to bring and not to bring with you.
Meditation and Deep Breathing
Another often overlooked preparation technique is deep breathing exercises and meditation. Studies have proved that meditation can help people stress less and improve their overall mental health. Even if you don’t meditate regularly, starting to do so a few days or weeks before a big event, like an interview, can have big effects on how you manage your stress leading up to and during the event.
Solution: Try the Headspace app to learn how to meditate.
A Prepared Body
Situation: Your team at your new job is supposed to give a presentation to the big wigs and you sweat… a lot.
Dress to Impress
Sweating during a stressful moment is a very common physical response that isn’t really in your control. What is in your control is what you wear to help handle your sweat. Arm your underarms with a clinical-strength antiperspirant and wear base layers that are moisture-wicking and have anti-microbial fabric. Knowing you don’t have to worry about feeling and smelling sweaty will go a long way toward boosting your confidence when you’re standing in front of a room full of new co-workers.
What you wear on the outside matters too. You’ve heard the quote about wearing clothes for the job you want and research actually backs up this sentiment. Studies have proved that wearing more formal clothing increases a person’s feelings of control and power as well as their feelings of creative and abstract thinking. There’s something to be said about wearing your power blazer more often.
The internal “fight or flight” response is what causes your body to tremble and your stomach to fill with butterflies when you’re pushing out of your comfort zone. You’ve already prepared and practiced your parts and have been working on your meditation routine, but take a few moments before your presentation to do final physical preparation. Use the restroom, have a water bottle with room temp water handy, and go for a brisk 5 minute walk. Get some energy out and get extra oxygen flowing to your brain. Before you walk into the room, do some light neck rolls and arm stretches to reduce tension in your muscles and continue working out excess energy. You’ve got this!
Solution: Some research has shown that assuming a “superhero stance” during your presentation will help with confidence during a presentation.
Shannon Burns is a Community Manager and Content Strategist at Tommy John by day, and an aspiring writer by night. As much as she loves research, discovery and writing, she loves spending time with her wonderful husband and two boys.