We say a lot with our bodies. When your spouse gets home from work, you can tell before they say a word how they’re feeling and whether or not they had a good day. If they’re feeling defeated and dejected, they’ll walk with their shoulders slumped and head down. If they’re feeling confident and energetic, they’ll have their head up and an easy smile on their face.
It doesn’t take the bonds of marriage or family to tell what most people are feeling at any particular time. That’s why body language is so important to job seekers. If you look nervous, uncertain, and/or lacking confidence, your interviewers are going to see it and will likely move on to the next candidate. Here are a few tips for maintaining good body language that projects confidence.
Keep Your Posture Open
A lot of us cross our arms over our chests when we feel like we have nothing else to do with our hands. This closes you off from the person you’re talking to; don’t do it. Practice standing with your arms relaxed by your sides. You don’t need to do anything else with your hands. Just stand up straight and keep an open posture. The more you practice this, the more comfortable it will feel.
Smile and Maintain Eye Contact
When you meet your interviewer(s), don’t forget to smile. Not only does this have a welcoming effect that shows you’re friendly and approachable, but it also helps you feel relaxed. Studies have shown that our facial expressions affect our moods almost as much as our moods affect our facial expressions. In other words, the more you smile, the happier and more relaxed you’ll feel. This will help quell any nervousness you have during your interview.
Finally, maintain eye contact. Practice this with friends, family, the cashier at the grocery store, and anyone you speak with on a daily basis. Eye contact shows trustworthiness and openness, but it can be difficult for some people. If you feel exposed or nervous when you lock eyes with someone in a position of authority, practice making eye contact with other people wherever you go. Again, the more you do it, the more natural it will feel.
The combination of an open posture, a smile, and good eye contact will set you apart as someone who’s confident, eager, and honest. Practice these as much as possible, and don’t let your body language get in the way of your job search.