From the Editor’s Desk: Add some zest to professional life
The first day of my internship with the Baltimore Sun, my editor called me on my fancy office phone and asked if I would write a brief bio of myself that he could forward to the newsroom staff.
Naturally, I regurgitated my résumé (available on jeremybauerwolf.com for PDF download). I referenced my media experience, and I even threw in a little information about my high school achievement, yes, singular achievement. I was the winner of a local speech contest.
I received $25 to the Westminster Town Mall. I spent it on Auntie Anne’s pretzels.
After I emailed him my bio, I received another phone call from his extension that asked if I could add anything “special about me.”
“Like … more … jobs?”
“No, like, something to make you exciting.”
I informed him that I owned two cats, Peeta and Katniss. Not one second after my editor sent out my final bio, an education reporter replied back to the email thread saying I was her new favorite intern based on this fact alone.
She didn’t comment on one of my professional achievements, mind you, but the fact that my felines were named after the protagonists of a teenage action series.
I realized that the bio that I had originally drafted was meant for one arena: professional. We read about these types of achievements in programs for dry public events, conferences and galas. I’m sure my future potential employer, cross my fingers, will take a critical eye to my application materials.
But when interviewing and integrating into a new professional setting, my best advice is to demonstrate your personality.
Likely, you’ll be employed at your first company for at least one year. The best way to advance in any circle is to exhibit qualities of a leader: dedication and open communication.
Depending on your profession, obviously, you will need a natural affinity for your trade, however, leaders and managers are selected for their ability to display a positive attitude and connect with internal and external constituents.
Anyone will tell you that with enough time and IQ points, an individual can grasp the nuances and practices of a position. What give someone an edge are the connections you forge, which can only be accomplished through humor and good people skills.
When applying for a job, something close to my heart as a college senior, I would encourage everyone to remember that an interview is simply a conversation. Yes, the employer will be scrutinizing you, which is his job.
Your job is to display more personality than “yes, of course, I did this. I liked this.”
Make a little small talk in between answers – if you discover a shared interest with an employer, that can make a lasting impression, especially after a long afternoon of applicants in and out of his office.
Closing words: Good luck to those entering the job arena, Class of 2013, and especially to those graduating this semester. Be yourself.