When it comes to job interviews, first impressions count. It’s natural to want to display your best self when interacting with a potential employer for the first time, but the resultant stress can compromise your success. Fortunately, you can effectively get a handle on your stress ahead of time and even learn to harness it in high-pressure situations to work to your benefit. Here are some tried and tested tips to help you keep your cool throughout the interview process:

• Preparation is key. All job interviews cover the same standard topics, from skills and experience to strengths and weaknesses. Figure out how you’ll respond beforehand, so that you can speak with confidence.

• While too much stress can impair your performance, a little bit can actually improve it. It’s all about balance. The right amount of stress can help you stay alert, focused and ready for anything —even those unexpected, left-field questions.

• Take your time. If a question confuses you or catches you off guard, it’s okay to request a moment to think. Breathe and sip some water; do whatever it takes to compose yourself. Then continue when you’re ready.

Remember, feeling stress before a job interview is normal. But with practice and preparation, you can ace the interview and the land the job. Consider a thriving career with VA, where every day is filled with opportunities to grow and experience the joy of serving our nation’s Veterans. Search available positions and apply today.

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