There is much to think about when interviewing for your next opportunity. Here are four tips to jumpstart your preparation for a successful interview:

1. Pre-identify three things you want your interviewer to know about you.

It is nearly impossible to predict every topic that the interviewer is going to cover. But you can be prepared for most topics.

Before you go into your interview, think about three things you want the interviewer to know about you before you end your conversation. Identify three skills or experiences that demonstrate your expertise and value to the organization. For example, you might want to highlight your cross-functional communications skills, ability to consistently complete projects ahead of schedule or knack for generating revenue with innovative ideas. Whatever the three things are, think about brief illustrative examples for each.

You can use these three things as a basis to focus your response. For instance, the interviewer asks you about an accomplishment you feel proud of. You can respond with an example demonstrating your cross-functional communication skills, about a project you completed one month before the due date or a new corporate initiative that made money. Cut down on the time to think and, in turn, your stress levels because you know you have information to retrieve to respond to unexpected questions or topics.

When you are thinking about the three things you want to communicate, make sure these three things are valuable to the company where you are interviewing. If you speak Hindi, that skill may not be particularly valuable to a company that doesn’t do business with India. Ask yourself, “What is it that I have that will bring value to the organization?” Communicate what is relevant.

2. Push back the salary conversation.

Try to hold off on talking about salary until later. Say, “I’d like to learn more about the role so I can better understand what value I bring.” The later in the interview you talk numbers, the more time you have to demonstrate your value.

If the interviewer questions your salary history, know whether it is even legal for the interviewer to ask. It is now illegal in some states and localities to ask about pay history. Educate yourself so that you are not tied to your past salary and that you get paid what you deserve.

3. Don’t give too many details on why you are looking for your next career move.

If you are asked about why you are looking to leave your job, be honest. But being honest doesn’t mean you have to share all the details. If there is a negative reason why you are looking to move on, thinking about trying to answer this question can be stressful. The reality is that you are not the first person to want to move on from an unpleasant experience. So your reason for wanting to leave may not be as bad as you think it is. Either way, keep your answer general and brief.

Most important is understanding and communicating what you learned from working with, for example, different personality types or little resources. No situation is perfect. Self-awareness and self-improvement show your potential next employer that you will be successful in your next role.

4. Be yourself.

If you are hired based on an interview in which you acted rather than being yourself, your new employer is going to expect that you continue to act that way on the job. Acting like someone you are not is tiring, which can undermine your ability to perform.

Be you from the start. Interviewing is a two way street. The organization wants to see if you are going to be the right fit. Take advantage of the interview process to see if the organization is going to be the right fit for you, as well. The only way you will know it is a good fit is if you are your authentic self. Make sure you can bring your whole self to work to ensure that you can be most effective in your new role.

Give your next interview your best shot. Show your value by being relevant, demonstrating what you have learned, staying away from money talk until the end of the interview process and being your authentic self.

What helps you to be successful in interviews? Share with me your stories and thoughts via Twitter or LinkedIn.