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Interviews are nerve wracking for everyone, but if you can master your anxiety and find ways to stay comfortable in your own skin, you’ll gain a powerful advantage over your competition. Here are few tips that can help you stay as cool as a cucumber no matter what comes your way and to ace your next IT interview.

1. Practice before the date of your meeting.

As in, actually practice, with real words spoken aloud. Use a mirror or your cat if you need to, but if at all possible, enlist the help of a friend or family member who will listen as you recite your “elevator pitch” and provide you with feedback and encouragement. Take advantage of the opportunity to hear yourself speaking for about five minutes on the subject of why you should be hired.

2. Record yourself.

It’s a good idea to hear yourself speak for a while, but it’s just as valuable to watch yourself so you can get a good look at the non-verbal messages you may be sending without even realizing it. Take a close look at your posture—are your shoulders rolled back and relaxed? Are your hands and arms relaxed at your sides or poised in front of you to emphasize your points? Are you sitting in the entire chair instead of just perching at the edge?

3. Have confidence in your specific skill sets.

Tech interviews often involve a skill-focused component. So when this moment comes, will you be ready to shine the areas you listed in your resume? And will you be able to gracefully let the other areas go? If you’re asked about programming languages, platforms, or skills sets you don’t have, don’t get flustered—Just redirect the conversation back to your strengths.

4. Know what you want (and know that what you want is all that matters.)

You’re here to be judged, sure, but you’re also here to make judgments of your own. And since you can’t control the outcome of the first, focus on the second. Keep your eyes and ears open—Is this really the kind of company and the kind of boss you’d like to work for? Ask questions of your own, and don’t just wait for the five minute period at the end of the interview when the manager “turns the tables”. Ask whatever you’d like to ask, and do so whenever you choose.

Keep your nerves under control and your eyes on your own future, and your IT interview will become a positive and valuable experience whether you land the job or not. For more on how to stay in the driver’s seat during your job search process, reach out to the career management experts at Tech Needs.

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