How to Turn Nervous Energy into an Asset in Job Interviews

I’ll be honest. I don’t take advantage of the well-documented mental help that meditation and other thinking exercises offers. It’s not because I look down on Eastern Medicine, or that I think I’m better than everyone who does yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation; it’s because I often feel I don’t have time.

That’s not an uncommon sentiment, I realize, but in certain situations, trying to focus my mind and relieve unnecessary stress has helped me.

Pickens Technical College is of course here to help you find jobs using the skills you’ve acquired. Its Career Services office is there to help students both before and after graduation get introduced to the opportunities they went to school for in the first place. Part of that getting-a-job process is the interview. The Career Services office can help you practice for interviews and prepare.

But what about those pesky butterflies in your stomach? The trick isn’t to try to destroy those feelings and that energy (by the laws of physics, you can’t destroy energy), but to transform it into something useful.

I’ve been there. Before meeting with a client for the first time, the butterflies swirl and crowd my stomach. It’s a natural reaction, but by doing a few simple cognitive exercises, you can relieve your nerves and infuse yourself with the focus you’ll need to wow employers at the interview. As a skeptic, I was surprised by the effectiveness of doing these exercises, and you might be, too.

The key to eliminating your nervous energy is to get to the root of your anxiety. Believe it or not, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay for a month of therapy. It’s actually pretty easy to arrive at the root causes of your anxiety when you think about it. Before you start this deep dive, however, remind yourself that your feelings aren’t unnecessary. People punish themselves for being nervous or anxious when then can’t figure out why. All of your feelings are legitimate if you’re feeling them, even if you can’t immediately identify their cause.

Take a few moments to yourself and ask why you’re feeling nervous. In the case of job interviews, the root cause is usually pretty simple and self-explanatory: you’re nervous you’ll do or say something terrible in the interview that not only keeps you from getting this job, but keeps you out of your dream career altogether. Remember that the worst thing that could happen is that you don’t get the job. Unless you do something truly outrageous (chances are you won’t if you’re nervous about the job interview), you’ll get another chance at a good job even if you fail horribly in your next interview.

For me, at this stage, it helps to write it down. Listing my anxieties helps me get it out of my body, in a strangely satisfying way. You might get the anxieties out into the world by saying them out loud or telling someone else about them. The simple act of identifying your anxieties and examining them is crucial for turning anxious energy into useful energy.

The next step sounds much simpler but is actually much more difficult. Once you have the roots of your anxiety exposed, stop gripping at the fear these things cause and understand that no matter what happens, you’ll be okay. This thought process can take some time and work, but if you try, you’ll arrive at the simple knowledge that everything will work out. Once you’ve arrived at this conclusion, you’ll be relaxed and focused on your interview.

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