In today’s competitive job market, acing an interview is crucial to securing your dream job. But how can you ensure that you will stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting impression on your potential employer? I have devised a concept called OWN IT, an acronym that will help you master your next interview and showcase your intelligence, insightfulness, and originality.

These five tips will empower you to own your next interview.

Let’s dive into the essence of OWN IT, starting with the O – Optimism. It all begins with your mindset. Arrive 15 minutes early, either virtually or in person, with the unwavering belief that you are the perfect fit for the role. Your positive attitude will radiate through your smile, clothing choice, and greetings, leaving a lasting impression before you even utter a word. I recall a time when I showed up at an interview with a wrinkled shirt, outdated tie, scuffed-up shoes, and an old suit purchased from a thrift shop, which had been dry cleaned so much that when I walked outside, the sun reflected off my suit. Needless, to say, I looked like a hot mess. The look on the recruiter’s face said everything (bless his little ol’ heart). Net-net…I didn’t win the job.

W represents Winner. Highlight your past achievements and demonstrate how you have been a valuable asset to previous teams. Emphasize how your contributions led to collective success rather than focusing solely on personal accomplishments. This will show potential employers that you are a team player and capable of achieving greatness together. Remember to proceed with caution; don’t oversell yourself as a winner. The reality is that some companies hire a perceived winner only to discover that the accomplishments were a mile wide and an inch deep. Say just enough as you shoot your shot.

N signifies your Natural ability or core brilliance. Identify and share your innate talents, whether it’s your exceptional communication skills, creativity, or operational expertise. Provide concrete examples of how these abilities have positively impacted your work in the past and contributed to the bottom line. By showcasing your natural strengths, you will demonstrate your unique value and potential contributions to the company. Tony Wagner, a Harvard professor, says, “In today’s world, if you can’t invent and reinvent your own job and distinctive skills, you risk chronic underemployment. Individuals need to change professions several times in their lifetime.” Your brilliance demonstrates how you’ve continued to evolve and grow.

Moving on to the I in OWN IT, which stands for Inquire. Although you would have already conducted extensive research on the company, use this opportunity to ask insightful questions about the organization’s long-term success, great leadership qualities, and what makes teams thrive within their structure. By showing genuine curiosity and interest, you position yourself as someone eager to grow with the company, not just seeking a temporary position. Nick van Dam, Ph.D. and chief learning officer for Deloitte says, “We need skilled workers, and we need to accelerate the development of new and existing people to ensure they can take on new roles faster and capture the rich body of knowledge and expertise from retiring baby boomers within Deloitte.”

Last but not least, the T – Thank You. Expressing gratitude is crucial, but take it a step further. Close the deal by asking a strategic question that leaves them with no choice but to seriously consider you. By requesting the opportunity directly in your thank-you note or video, you leave nothing to chance and ensure you stand out from the competition. Years ago, one of my mentors, Dr. Edwin Louis Cole said, “You only do two things in life: you enter and you exit. How you enter determines how you exit and how you exit determines how you enter.” In other words, if you are invited to join the organization, it may be because of your last imprint and gumption to ask for the opportunity.

These five tips are your gateway to interview mastery. Embrace the OWN IT approach, and watch as you confidently navigate each interview, leaving a lasting impression that propels you toward success. Don’t just aim to be interesting; strive to be genuinely interested in the company, its leaders, its teams, and its customers. Remember, you have the power to OWN IT!

Once you ace the interview, which I know you will by using these five tips, begin the journey to creating an empowering career for yourself with my new course, Thrive@Work! Check it out here.