By Lisa Gorman
“Don’t waste any time trying to be anyone but yourself, because the things that make you strange are the things that make you powerful.” So said actor Ben Platt when he accepted this year’s Tony Award for his performance as the socially awkward Evan in the Broadway smash “Dear Evan Hansen.”
I loved this quote so much; I saved it on my phone. It’s my reminder that we are all unique — which is something to be celebrated. In my work as manager of career services for the JCS Career Center, I spend a lot of time helping clients embrace what makes them different. That’s not only an important part of knowing who you are as a person, it’s also the starting point for finding a job or career you love, and will even help you stand out in an interview.
To go into a job search feeling that you have to twist yourself around just to conform to what an employer wants is to set yourself up for failure. Imagine faking your way through an interview for a job you don’t particularly want. If you end up with an offer, you will have to continue your charade every day at work. The stress alone will doom your performance — if not the length of your employment.
Instead, think about what skills or traits make you stand out. Then you can work toward finding the job that is the right fit for you. To determine what makes you unique, think about the following:
- What gets you excited? Maybe you love organizing drawers, fixing cars, working on a spreadsheet, or writing poetry. They say if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life.
- What successes make you proud? Have you organized an event for your community, school or for a friend? If so, maybe event planning is for you. Have you designed a website, a brochure or an advertisement for a local retailer? Maybe you should consider a career in graphic design.
- What are you known for? If people always come to you to fix their computer or phone, maybe technology is the path for you. If you are the ‘go-to’ person to help with math homework, tax returns or financial problems, maybe accounting or financial services are the way to go.
If you apply for a job that feels like it fits with skills you like to use, your natural enthusiasm will come through during the interview. That’s the authentic “you” that will grab an interviewer’s full attention, and that’s pretty powerful.
The JCS Career Center offers comprehensive employment assistance that helps job seekers of all abilities and skill levels find and maintain employment. Services include career coaching, career assessments, resume and cover letter services, interview preparation, job readiness training, vocational rehabilitation and job placement assistance.
Lisa Gorman is Manager of Career Services for the JCS Career Center.