It makes logical sense: if you look like you can handle yourself, you are also telling your employers you can handle their companies. That is why it is crucial to pay attention to the details on interview day. For starters, leave more than plenty of time to get everything organized and to get where you are going. It is amazing how much better things will go if you don't feel rushed or frazzled when you walk in the office door, and you can never predict a freeway jam, broken elevator, or overturned truck of wild midgets. Better to get there an hour early than even five minutes late.

Bring a well-stocked professional case

You know that LL Bean backpack covered with iron-on patches of Grateful Dead bears? Leave it at home and opt instead for a professional-looking messenger bag, briefcase or portfolio folder. If you don't have one, borrow your mom's or dad's. Within the carrying case, you should bring:

  • Extra copies of your résumé (printed on résumé paper)

  • Copies of your letters of reference

  • Breath mints (for use before - not during - the interview)

  • A pad of paper and two pens to take notes

Ten tested tricks to acing the interview and landing the job

In high-pressured situations, you can easily forget to do obvious things-like speak. So to really ace an interview, remember these ten tips:

  1. Offer up your firmest handshake. Dry off those palms and land a strong one right in your interviewer's hand. This shows confidence and grace under pressure. Don't try to crush the interviewer's hand, but no matter what, it's important to be FIRM.

  2. Make eye contact. Looking your interviewer straight in the eye shows that you are confident and honest. This will impress them and make you appear capable. Continue making eye contact throughout the entire interview. An obvious addendum to this tip is to not let your eyes wander. When your interviewer looks down at your cover letter, he/she should not look up and find your eyes wandering around the room, out the window, or on the desk trying to read the latest company report. Wandering eyes indicate lack of interest, nosiness, or (even worse) that you are bored by the interviewer.

  3. Smile. Shining your pearly whites show you are easygoing and relaxed. Smiles scream team player. And there is nothing interviewers want more than team players.

  4. If they offer you a drink, take one. Everyone in an interview is so quick to say, "no thanks" when they are offered coffee, juice or water. Go ahead and take it. You can take sips while you think about your answers… it will buy you time.

  5. Sit up straight. Just ask Mom. It works every time.

  6. Speak up - but never interrupt. There's nothing worse than an interviewee who doesn't speak unless spoken to, or, even worse, responds simply with a sedate "yes" or "no." Remember that you're selling yourself, so it's okay to appear enthusiastic. The key is to elaborate without being an ultra-chatty motor-mouth. If you interrupt your interviewer in mid-sentence, you may miss the point. Even if you think you have something genius to contribute, wait until he/she finishes.

  7. Nod. A simple bob of the head demonstrates your interest in what your interviewers are facing, and that you are paying attention.

  8. Shove in comments about how nice the neighborhood, office, and area is. Make sure to offer up some compliments about the surroundings. Say: "I got here early and I was walking around, I really love…" This shows off your interpersonal skills (not to mention your punctuality). It also shows that you're not a whiner.

  9. Laugh - if at all possible. Think about it: wouldn't you want to hire someone with an easygoing personality?

  10. Breathe. Inhaling and exhaling will keep you calm and more prepared for whatever is thrown at you. Plus, if you don't breathe, you'll die-which means they'll have to give the job to someone else.

Don't freak out if you make a mistake

Especially at the beginning of the interview, you may feel a little nervous… which might translate into you saying the wrong thing. The best way to handle any gaffe is to remain calm-what the interviewer will remember more is how you react to your mistake. If you stumble in answering a question, just say, "I'm sorry. I'm a little nervous. I am really interested in this position and want to do well in this interview. I'll start again." Don't struggle or cry; be confident, even if you have to fake it.