Monday, October 11, 2010

The Power of Personality and Getting a Job

My economics seminar started on a surprising note this week when my professor said that “the most important things that college teaches you are outside your classes.”
This statement was followed by a brief discussion on the uncalculated value of a college education that comprises of our work in the classroom and personal growth outside of it. He reminded us of the importance of having personality, communication skills and most importantly, the ability to sell yourself.
Soon the conversation drifted back into economic theories, but I did take something out of this class that wasn’t scribbled in my notebook.

As I sat there smiling to myself, I recalled a pre-interview talk last year that focused on what employers look for in candidates. The lesson was that I wouldn’t be hired unless the employer was confident that he or she could stand to spend time with me if we were stranded in an airport together. And certainly we don’t have a Personality 101 class that could teach us that at Bates.
So, the reason my professor’s words struck a chord with me is that for the past few days, I’ve been struggling with identifying the strengths of my resume through endless considerations of the courses I have taken and the papers I have written. As I continue to scan job postings, I have been boxing myself in a mold—trying to fit into job details and restricting myself by my major. Now, I am trying to get out of that mold and look for opportunities that would require the academic training that I have and benefit from my personality as a whole.

The key to a comprehensive job search is to know that the skills we learn extend far beyond the credit hours we receive as college students and may qualify us for a wide range of opportunities. And by the time I graduate, these will be the strengths that separate me from the rest, right?
Of course we need to stay away from making generalizations about the entire job market. Certain academic qualifications will always take precedence, no matter how entertaining our personalities may be. But for now, I am feeling positive and a little more confident about how I should approach this job search and tackle upcoming interviews.

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