Even the most self-assured job seeker can feel anxious when walking through the door for an interview. The good news? You can take steps to help develop your confidence and tackle each interview as cool as a cucumber. Follow these strategies to help boost your confidence as you seek out new career opportunities.

Get Real About Your Strengths And Weaknesses

Every interviewer will ask you to talk about your strengths and weaknesses. It’s easy to talk about the things you do well, but many people stumble when it comes time to address areas for improvement.  Most job seekers fall into the trap of downplaying or flat-out avoiding discussing their weaknesses with a hiring manager. However, a little bit of honesty goes a long way.

You don’t know exactly what the hiring manager is looking for or which skills and attributes they truly value, so there’s no sense in assuming you know what they want. In fact, hiring managers are well aware that skills can be learned on the job. Instead of avoiding talking about a weakness, deal with it in an open and honest manner.  Say something like, “I only have beginner-level skills in that system, but I have used it and am familiar with it. I am a fast learner and I learn best by doing, so I am confident that I can grow those skills quickly.”  This answer allows you to acknowledge a weakness while reinforcing a strength, and you may even get a few brownie points for your candor.

Work On Overcoming Potential Stumbling Blocks

If there is a hard skill or soft skill that you know you need to develop, work on it. If you aren’t a whiz with Excel, or if your writing skills could use some polishing, practice in your spare time or take a free class online.  Not only will this help you build the skill, but you’ll feel more confident talking about it in an interview.

If it’s your interviewing skills you need to work on, practice with a friend, colleague or recruiter. The more you practice, the easier your next interview will feel. You will also be less likely to feel stumped by a tough question and you will reduce the urge to say “uh,” “um,” or display nervous body language.

Accept The Fact That You Are Not Perfect (Because Nobody Is)

Self-acceptance is the key to building confidence in your interviewing skills. It is important to take the time to develop your technique, but not every interview is going to go exactly the way you want it to. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone trips up, and everyone has weaknesses. When you can accept those basic facts, it can truly change your game.

No matter what, it’s important to remember this simple fact:  You won’t be right for every employer, but every employer isn’t right for you, either. You are evaluating them, just as they are evaluating you, and thinking about that can help you maintain a healthy perspective.

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