Many times in life we are required to represent ourselves. As early as junior high we are supposed to tell others about who we are and what we do in ways that could improve our opportunities in a significant manner. It isn’t rocket science considering we deal with ourselves every single day and yet we know so little about ourselves. However, for some reason it gets harder as each year passes by.
Ask a four-year old. In mere seconds he will tell you that his name is Jack, that he is four years old (with all four of his teeny tiny fingers up to make sure you understand) and that he likes to play with Lego and kick a football. That’s all he is about and it tells you everything about him. It was just that simple.
But we’re not that simple anymore. We grow up. We deal with things like school or friends or parents or everyone else that walks past you whom you suspect judge you on every inch of your physical looks. And we absorb it all in – all the knowledge, all the habits, all the trends, styles and personalities – and slowly, we become us.
Our daily lives are filled with scheduled things we need to accomplish. We need to work, go to school, prepare our meals, take care of our health. Rarely do people have the time to actually sit down and think about how they’ve come this far and what made them who they are. Like a mobile application of our smartphone, our lives get updated more often than we realize and we have no idea why they happened in the first place.
Graduates often come out of university just like that, fully updated and strangely oblivious to what they had learned exactly. Upholding what they believe has been the most significant set of information necessary to impress their future employers, they build up their digital history and send it all around the country hoping that someone would notice what they have to offer. Ignoring those ten employers looking for the 20 years of experience the poor graduate can’t reproduce, with all the luck in the world, hopefully, they get to the stage where they can finally have that one shot to represent who they really are. But then what.
Who are we? What did we really learn at school and how does that put me apart from the 2500 other applicants? Many parents don’t understand what the fuss is about applications. You just tell them who you are, what you’re good at and just show them your best. What is our best? We played sports at school… like everyone else. We sat in a class at high school… with 20 other kids. We went to university and studied the same thing… as the other 350 in our class and the other 2499 of the others who most likely did the exact same as you. And yet, you have to be different. How? Did you get that first honor? Sure, that eliminates the first 500, but then there’s another 2000 to go. The question still remains.
What makes us special.
Now the question shouldn’t really be as difficult as the moment makes it out to be. Sure, you may not have won the World Cup while playing soccer in high school, but you did anyways. You learned something from it. Just like how you liked to play video games, your affinity to technology is bound to be higher. When you worked as a stocker for supermarkets, you learned to be organized and efficiently strategize your stocking methods because you became lazier. As bad they all may sound, they’re really not. You learned them for a reason and they are skills that can be replicated and even though a single skill may not be any significant, the combination of them all is.
Because when the question is asked at the end of the day of who we are and what we did? We will be the kid who learned who to trust the ball with. We will be the kid who managed his time so that he can have the 20 minutes to play with his computer after completing all the assignments. We will also be the kid who likes to eat apples, but absolutely hates carrots. We are the person who is a combination of these traits.
When the future employers ask us of our identity, all we need to do is to link the two together in a relevant matter. The hardest part isn’t making you relevant. It is to identify the traits. Selling is always going to be easier once you know your information.
To optimize your own key traits, your own keywords, and constantly adjusting what produces better results is the process of optimizing your effective return on the use of keywords after every representation.
In the new age of employment, very little value is put on who you worked for or what you did. Especially when it comes to early graduates. The reason for this is because employees simply don’t care as much as one gives credit to. It is about what you learned, what you achieved and ultimately what you can be useful for.
Knowing this adds a completely new dimension to the process of seeking employment, because what students often don’t realize is that talent may not simply lie on the ability to analyze numbers or the ability to memorize theory. Talent can also be your ability to persevere. Talent can also be the ability to concentrate. Talent can also be your friendly nature that allows you to help the mother of two children to choose a pack of baby diapers. Why is this important? Because it makes you reliable. It lets employers know that they don’t have to keep watch on you like a babysitter. They know that there’s potential there which they only need to bend slightly into a certain direction to let you perform under company standard.
Don’t dismiss all the small details that make up your life, who you are and what you’ve done. Especially when it comes to early graduates, every single detail matter. Even though it may seem like job requirements have risen to the level that you must have joined Mensa and cured malaria before you’re allowed as a junior. Things aren’t always like that. Companies are always hiring and like the love of our life, we only need to strike once. How you wish to platform from there is entirely up to you.
At least you get to bring coffee to your next manager.
Now I wonder why mine’s taking so long…