May 22, 2008  •  In Career, Personal

5 Pieces of Advice for Recent Graduates, Part 4

Part 1: The world doesn’t owe you anything.
Part 2: It’s never too late.
Part 3: Make the best of it.

4. Be ballsy.

I have mentioned before that I am a textbook ISFP. I have terrible stagefright and I shy away from being the center of attention. I’m great at giving others a lending hand and making suggestions, but I’m horrible when it comes to helping myself or taking my own advice.

In short, I’m a terrible at selling and promoting myself.

Needless to say, I hate job interviews.

Now I like to think of myself as a fairly polite person with decent manners and a pleasant (albeit somewhat reserved) personality. However, that doesn’t take you very far in the cutthroat world of business.

I actually never interviewed for my first job – I obtained the position through a stroke of luck. (I will write about this in the next and final part of the series.) So the thought of meeting new people and sitting through interview after interview not only terrified me, it was a fairly new experience in itself.

After a few failed attempts I was starting to lose hope. I was getting better, sure, but it still wasn’t good enough for someone to hire me.

Then, one day I had another chance encounter with lady luck. As I waited in line to pay at a grocery store, my eyes scanned the usual titles that lined the check-out counters. My gaze stopped at a small book that read, “How to Get the Job You Want.” It wasn’t a best seller. The cover wasn’t particularly attractive. In fact, it was one of those generic, small, self-help books that end up gathering dust wherever they are sold.

However, I had time. The line was still long. I flipped through the pages.

I don’t remember exactly what the book said, but the biggest lesson I learned in the 3 minutes of scanning the book was to be ballsy. Act like you have a 10-inch cock. Trust that they need you more than you need them, and make them believe this too.

I figured, “why not?” and decided to try this method at my next interview.

I walked into the room like I owned the place. I asked more questions than they asked me. I acted like I was interviewing them for a place in my life, because when you think about it, this is precisely what should happen at an interview.

At times I was certain that I made the interviewer a bit nervous from my direct approach. He cleared his throat and loosened his tie several times as my voice became stronger and clearer.

I wasn’t afraid to speak my mind. I wasn’t afraid to show excitement either, with wild hand gestures and a raised voice. When the hiring manager cautioned that the job at times can become very tedious as every detail need to be triple-checked in their dozens of printed material, I exclaimed, “Are you kidding? I get off on that stuff!”

To be honest I thought I had lost him there. I almost clapped my hand over my mouth and prepared to apologize. But he loved it. He ate it all up. And when he emailed me to schedule a second interview, he mentioned that my “enthusiasm for the job clearly presented itself” during the course of the interview.

I was determined to end my second interview with a bang. When he asked if I had any further questions, I leaned forward, looked directly into his eyes, and said, “I’m perfect for this position and you know it. I’m not looking for a job…I’m looking for a career. And this is it for me.”

I had to rehearse this in my head many times. This was so uncharacteristic of me! I was so out of my element and so far from my comfort zone that my hands shook for the remainder of the day.

But it worked. After I said this to him he paused and looked at me calmly. “I hope to see you again,” he said. And I knew I had it in the bag.

The next day, I received a call from the company’s head of HR with the official offer. They even offered me more money than I had asked for.

I’m not sure where I mustered up the courage to be a self-confident, strong and powerful person for those few hours of my life. All I knew was that I needed to step out of my comfort zone if I were to prove to anyone that they needed to hire me.

The final part of the series will be 5. Sometimes, it really is pure luck.

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