The martial artist, actor, filmmaker, and philosopher, Bruce Lee, was one of the most prominent figures in the world throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Lee was not only extremely successful at each of these endeavors, but also pursued each endeavor in his own special way. Lee was best known for his martial arts, and rumor has it that he had to slow down his moves so that the camera could catch all of his movements while filming his movies. Lee once said "Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it."
Lee's sentiment about being yourself is something everyone should keep in mind. Straining yourself to be somebody you are not creates immense amounts of unneeded stress. This is especially true for college students pursuing their careers.
1. You are not a machine that needs to fit the specs of what you think an employer wants.
Feeling like you have to fit in this box of what you think an employer wants based on the feedback you have received from your university, peers, parents, and society is completely understandable. There is a lot of pressure to get a career that satisfies the expectations of your parents, family friends, peers, and society...and then yourself.
For college students pursuing their careers, thinking that you can be yourself and get a job can be a difficult notion to grasp, as getting a job can be quite difficult. It is easy to assume that catering your personality to what you think an employer wants would make you more hirable.
But if you are able to land a job because you have catered your personality to what you think the employer wants, how long can you maintain that personality? How will being this different affect your relationship with your coworkers?
2. Putting on an alternate personality for your career will not last nor be satisfying.
Portraying a persona of somebody that you are not is difficult to maintain, and will not be sustainable in the long run. More importantly, it is not enjoyable. What most college students do not understand is that an employer would rather hire somebody that can enjoy their work and thrive than somebody that is straining themselves to try and fit the mold that they think the employer wants. This is because employers know that happy employees tend to be more engaged and stay longer than those who are unhappy.
How awesome would it be if a company would hire your for who you are? This does not have to be a situation reserved for the extremely lucky. If you are yourself in the interview process, you can feel free to be yourself when you work. Similar to dating, if you put on this façade during the first few dates that you will do all of these marvelous things as a relationship partner that you won't actually do or want to do, it will lead to dissatisfaction for both you and your partner. On top of that, your partner may not even want all of these marvelous promises that you have made and not continue the relationship.
Wouldn't it be unfortunate to not get a job offer from a company because the personality you portrayed was not what they were looking for but instead the company was seeking someone more similar to your natural personality?
How important is it to be yourself during the interview process and in your career? Extremely important!
When you feel free to be yourself, express yourself, and have faith in yourself in your career, you can begin to develop a level of comfortability on the job that breeds confidence. Comfortability and confidence are major aspects to building proficiency and happiness in your career.
Ultimately, choose a career that you can be yourself in. Nobody can be you better than you can.
Garrett Mintz is the founder of Ambition In Motion (AIM). AIM is a program for college students that have interest in careers outside of what stereotypically comes to recruit them at their university. From business majors, to liberal arts majors, to science majors, Garrett helps students seeking careers that fit their interests. He helps college students understand what they want in their careers, learn pertinent information about what fulfills them, and helps demonstrate how to get their "foot in the door" at companies that interest them. Garrett's goal is to help young professionals build a realistic and thorough perspective of their potential occupations BEFORE accepting a job as opposed to after.