Going to a job interview can be one of the most nerve wracking events you will experience in life. For most of us, selling ourselves is difficult and uncomfortable; we have been taught to be modest and humble, not talk proudly of our achievements. Getting prepared is more about having the right state of mind. The following tips will help you get your mind, dress and documents ready for a winning interview.

1. Gather the Required Information

Your prospective employer should already have your application, resume and other necessary documents, but it never hurts to bring an extra copy to reference during the interview. Put together a folder of your work history, copies of your diploma and degrees and proof of any relevant awards or achievements. If your employer has specific document requirements, they will let you know before the interview. You can also include a list of questions you may want to ask or talking points you want to address during the interview. Map Your Route If you have never been to the interview location, look it up on a map to make sure you know where it is. Though valid, getting lost is not a compelling excuse for being late, so take the time to know the route before you go. If it is very complicated or in an area you have never traveled, consider going there before the day to check the route in person. This trip can also tell you if there is construction or another delay that might slow you down.

2. Dress for Success

The proper attire is a very important part of a successful interview, which is why this subject comes up in virtually every discussion about preparing for a job interview. Clothes should be professional, clean and neat. Avoid any clothing that is stained, faded or worn looking. How you dress should reflect the type of job you are applying for; a CEO will need more formal clothing than a welder. In every case, however, you should dress your best in slacks or a skirt and a button up shirt, or a complete suit for more formal interviews.

3. Rehearse in the Mirror

If you are very nervous, practice what you want to say in front of the mirror. Focus on making eye contact with your mirror image and remember to smile, this is an interview, not an inquisition. It can help to be dressed in your interview clothes while you practice.

4. Get Your Head in the Game

If there is one single element on which your interview success hinges, it is this: your state of mind. There is a good reason psychology experts recommend visualization techniques; positive imagining is a powerful confidence booster. Take time to think about the interview process and visualize how you want it to go. Do you want to be confident, charismatic and full of good answers? Visualize that scenario several times before the big day. Whatever you do, refrain from pessimism or any type of negative thinking; what you focus on expands. With the right frame of mind, a professional outfit and good document organization, you will be well prepared for an interview that leaves a great impression and hopefully gets you invited back for another. Taking the time well in advance of the big day helps you eliminate stress and go confidently to the appointment.
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