Facing Your Professional Fears

In honor of today being Halloween, I decided to tackle something scary that many college students and other inexperienced workers eventually must face – being a professional. If you are a college student, or just an inexperienced worker, diving headfirst into any professional setting can be very scary. Whether it is going to a career fair for the first time, interviewing for an internship or job, or your first day working in a professional setting, it is extremely common to feel scared or nervous. I am going to tell you a few brief tips that I have learned that can help you conquer your fear and nervousness. 

Prepare, PreparePrepare 

Preparation is my go-to method to relieving anxiety about almost anything. Before my first career fair, I spent about an hour and a half the night before researching the companies that were going to be there and figuring out what I wanted to talk to each company about. This helped me feel more at ease and focused, that way I was not overwhelmed once I got into the fair, and I could target my specific companies. I also worked to perfect my elevator speech, and I practiced it in the mirror the night before. It is also extremely important to prepare for interviews as well. If you go into an interview with zero preparation, I can promise you there is not a good chance that it will go well. Go into an interview with a basic knowledge of the company and what you would be doing in the position that you are interviewing for. Preparation is key to any professional event and being prepared will help you feel confident and ready to go. 

Don’t Try to Act Too Sophisticated 

One thing I began to do at my first career fair was talk WAY too proper. I sounded like a robot. These recruiters and interviewers are looking for people not robots. It is still important to be professional and put-together, but it is also important to show some personality. Employers want to hire people who can be personable and be friendly with others. Being a professional is important, and carrying yourself in a professional manner is important, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your personality behind. 

Trust Your Abilities 

You are at these events for a reason. You wouldn’t be in any professional situation if you weren’t qualified enough to be there. Trust yourself! Being at a career fair or at an interview can be extremely intimidating, especially if you haven’t been there before. Personally, I used to feel like I was less than everyone else who was around me, just because I was a college student. That’s just not true. Everyone knows you are a college student, and they know you aren’t going to automatically be a super-professional. It is important to know that going into a career fair or interview. Your abilities and skills you have learned along the way have helped you get to that spot, and you just have to show them how awesome you are. 

Being a professional can be very scary, but it doesn’t have to be. If you prepare yourself, be yourself, and trust yourself, then you will feel much more confident in professional settings. It is important to know that you are extremely valued, and companies need people like you. So, don’t get nervous, and don’t sell yourself short. I hope these tips help you conquer your professional fears! Happy Halloween! 

Chase Prather 

Featured photo by Mary Callaway LeBus

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