The Power of Authenticity

Welcome back to CMC, and happy new year! I hope that classes are treating you well upon your return to Claremont. The staff has done a lot of preparation for recruitment, internships, and events for the spring, and we are excited to share those opportunities with you. The staff recognizes that many of you are likely in the midst of an internship or job search, so I wanted to reach out with a powerful article that has been floating around LinkedIn recently. It was written by Jenna Goudreau from Business Insider and is entitled, “A Harvard psychologist says people judge you based on 2 criteria when they first meet you.”  You can find the link below: 

I found this article powerful in the Career Services sense. Some employers have communicated their interest in hiring students with a breadth of interests and experiences. The idea that quantity over quality is becoming the norm for various industries is heartbreaking to me as a Career Services professional. I do think there is a way to navigate this trouble, especially if you are someone who believes in the idea that “less is more.” And I do believe this article touches upon some of these ideas.

When you interact with someone for the first time, whether the relationship is that of a friendship or is more professional in nature, psychologists Amy Cuddy, Susan Fiske and Peter Glick indicate that your “presence” determines how others perceive you. In the job setting, we train students to believe that competence is the most important factor in landing a job. While I think showcasing skills is an important factor in whether you are able to complete the assigned responsibilities, it is not as important factor as empathy and authenticity. Cuddy, Fiske and Glick have researched and found that trust is the most important factor in a first impression. It goes back to the basic human need of survival.

While I won’t restate additional facts that are present in the article, I do want to speak more about what this means in the career context. Students need to communicate more authentically about their values and experiences. When we speak from the heart, we are seen as more empathetic, relatable, and trusting. We are seen as a human, and I believe (from my professional experience) this is the differentiating factor between candidates, particularly during interview processes. So, how do you speak authentically? I think that’s a personal question, and if you are looking to explore that some more, I would encourage you to reach out. That comes from having a good sense of self-understanding and self-worth. With the self-worth comes confidence. With confidence you are able to articulate your skills and experiences in a unique and personalized way that communicates you in the most authentic way.

So, if you are struggling with ways in which to communicate your skills and experiences on your resume, remember that in some cases less is more! Even if you haven’t been involved in 10 different organizations during college, that is okay. Be yourself during the internship or job search process, and that is the best way to communicate empathy and trust. While the search processes are competitive, don’t compare yourself to the other candidates; think about what you bring to the table and how you can better yourself with this experience.

Scott Busiel

Assistant Director, Events & Social Media

Career Services Center

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Scott is a featured writer with The CSC Chronicles and co-manages the blog content. He is a career counselor and loves to talk about feelings, passions, and greater societal issues. When he’s not working, Scott is training for the LA Marathon… somewhat. Show your love and support by scheduling a counseling appointment to chat more.