Self-confidence is key to advancing your career, landing the jobs you want, and acing job interviews.
But, of course, we don’t always feel particularly confident.
Humans come with all levels of self-confidence. Some people are regularly lacking confidence and self-esteem, while others may be super sure of themselves most of the time, but occasionally find themselves experiencing moments of crippling self-doubt. Most others probably lie somewhere in between these two.
If you’re not feeling your best and bravest before the job interview, that can be a problem. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to improve the situation on the day of the interview. Below is a list of 21 things you can do on the morning of the interview to quickly boost your self-confidence.
Hopefully, by that time, you’ve already done lots of research on the company and role, prepared your answers and success stories, and made a list of questions you’re going to ask the interviewer. You’ve printed out a copy of your resume, mapped your route to the interview location (so you won’t be late), and now all you have to do is mentally prepare.
Here are 21 ways to quickly boost your self-confidence on the morning of the job interview.
Take some deep breaths. Research shows that deep breathing has all sorts of magical calming effects and can decrease anxiety and cortisol levels. Just breathe. Feels good, doesn’t it?
Wear scent. Studies of both men and women have found that wearing scent increases self-confidence. But keep it minimal. You don’t want to overpower anyone. And you’ll have to skip this one if the place where you’re interviewing is scent free.
Pump up the jam. Research suggests that listening to music with a heavy bass line can make you feel more confident. The most powerful songs used in the study were In Da Club, by 50 Cent; We Will Rock You, by Queen; and Get Ready for This, by 2 Unlimited.
Don a killer outfit. Researchers have found repeatedly, in different studies, that dressing up increases self-confidence and self-esteem, and can even make you behave like you’re smarter. Pull out your best outfit and dress it up with a little flair. Flair always makes me feel good.
Take a selfie. One study found that taking selfies can increase self-confidence. I’m suspicious of those findings, since taking selfies always makes me feel kind of bad about myself (I usually look way worse than I expected, and it feels weirdly narcissistic). So, maybe do a test run with this one on a non-job interview day, and if it works for you, use it on job interview day.
Do a “power pose.” Stand up tall with your legs wide and your arms up in a V shape, or hands on your hips. Hold for two minutes. This, apparently, increases confidence and may even decrease cortisol levels, according to Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy. Personally, it makes me feel like an idiot, and the findings are controversial, so maybe test it beforehand, like the selfie thing.
Stand up straight. If the power pose thing doesn’t work, just stand up straight. It will make you feel better about yourself than slouching will.
Do something kind and generous. One study found that “practicing compassion can provide lasting improvements in happiness and self-esteem, and may be beneficial for anxious individuals in the short run.” And another found that helping strangers increases self-esteem in adolescents. Donate to a fundraiser or give money to someone in need that you meet.
Avoid comparing yourself to anyone else. There’s a statement attributed to Theodore Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s also the thief of your self-esteem. Someone is always going to be smarter, better looking, more accomplished, and richer than you. So, what’s the point? If you have a tendency to compare yourself to others, stop.
Go for a run (or a walk, or dance around the house). Exercise increases self-esteem. When was the last time you got some exercise and felt worse about yourself?
Smile. Smiling increases positive emotions, which will, in turn, help your self-confidence.
Get someone to tell you nice things about yourself. Praising kids increases their self-confidence, and it only stands to reason that receiving genuine compliments from a friend or loved one will have a positive effect on you. If you live alone, call a good and ask them to tell you what they like about you.
Carry a good luck charm. Carrying a good luck charm with you can increase self-confidence and improve performance, according to a study.
Make your bed. Making your bed sets the tone for the day and sets off a domino effect of task completion, allowing you to conquer the world. So says this Navy Seal, anyway. And all of that will increase your confidence.
Organize something. If you’re killing time and don’t know what to do with yourself while waiting to leave for your interview, organize something, clean something, or do some other small task that will make you feel super together and on top of things.
Take a 5-minute language lesson. Get the app Duolingo and start learning a language. These teeny lessons always make me feel like I’m smart — and proactive! And you might even decide to pursue learning another language.
Carry a list of all your accomplishments and successes and look at it whenever you need to. Reminding yourself of all the amazing things you’ve done can provide a big boost when you’re down. Make a list of these in the days leading up to your interview, and consult it when you need some help.
Limit social media. I have nothing against social media. But sometimes it can evoke comparison, which can ruin your day. And if you waste too much time on it, this can also affect your self-esteem because you start to feel bad for wasting time. Best to keep it to a minimum, just in case.
Say nice things to yourself. Research suggests that positive affirmations can help you perform better under stress and improve wellbeing. But don’t get too caught up in it. Research also suggests they can backfire and make you feel worse.
Fake it. Just fake it ‘til you make it. When you smile and act confident, you will eventually feel more confident once you realize that nobody notices you’re faking.