Consider the possibilities…pursue your interests…be yourself…

By: David Ross

If someone asked me about my philosophy on the job and internship search, my response would be the mantra displayed in my office: “consider the possibilities…pursue your interests…be yourself.”  It’s very easy to be consumed with the end goal of your search – securing the job or internship – without focusing on whether the job or internship is a good fit for you.  With that in mind, here are some things to think about:

–  Consider the possibilities.  It is not uncommon for those seeking employment to apply for multiple positions – and it is very easy to focus on the number of applications submitted opposed to the details of any particular position.  So instead of simply applying for positions based on company name, position title, location or other criteria, look closely at each job description and try to imagine yourself in the position.  Think carefully about what you are specifically hoping to gain from the job.  And do not be afraid to explore opportunities that differ slightly from your previous experience or can leverage your knowledge and existing skill set in new and exciting ways.

–  Pursue your interests.  As you navigate the job or internship search, it can be tempting to focus on the advice of others.  There can be comfort hearing validation from someone else about the type of work you hope to pursue.  I am not saying you should not leverage the help of others as you progress in your search – just be sure that the actual jobs or internships you are pursuing match your interests and you are making the important decisions.  After all, you will be the one working in the position and you will have to deal with the ramifications of your choices – not anyone else.

–  Be yourself.  Always be yourself.  Try not to be someone else or who you think the ideal candidate would be.  Demonstrate the competencies and abilities you do have as you proceed with your search.  Be proud of who you are and what you have already accomplished.  Be true to yourself, your values and beliefs.  Some employment opportunities will be a great fit for you and others may not – and that is ok.  Focus on finding work environments where you feel comfortable enough to be yourself.

Author: David

David Ross is a Senior Associate Director of Career Services for Wharton undergraduates and occasional blogger for "Penn & Beyond."