Despite sub-freezing temperatures this week, Duke students decked out in conservative business attire had to make use of their padded resumes to mop up the sweat on their brows. Job and internship interview season is upon us, and aspiring future executives are as nervous as a hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobic after reading that word.
The current economic climate makes for an uncertain future for college students—especially those pursuing a career in the financial industry. Many students are fleeing to comparatively safer waters to weather the storm; Teach for America and graduate schools, for instance, have seen an enormous increase in applications this year.
The truly brave, however, have chosen to take the economic crisis head on by submitting to the humiliations of the interview process. I say good luck to you on your quest to Wall Street. Allow me to offer two pieces of advice to you:
1. Don’t forget your lip balm.
2. Don’t lose your soul along the way; give those interviewers that real talk.
You are trained to suppress yourself in an interview, encouraged to censor what you wear, what you say and how you move. Subdued colors, ample use of buzzwords and overly firm handshakes may seem like a safe route to take, but how can you distinguish yourself if you give the usual pre-packaged answer?
When they ask you what your greatest weakness is, are you going to give the standard weakness that really is a strength answer? You are not too motivated. And what does too focused even mean? Just go with the truth. Real talk. If you are deathly afraid of snakes, tell them so. If your calf muscles are not strong enough, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. If you are too pretty to the point that you just can’t sleep at night, let ‘em know.
For all questions related to team work, don’t just give the “there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’ answer. Think about it this way. If you owned an NBA team, would you want the selfless “pass-first” player, or a Michael Jordan-style scorer? Team??? What team? I AM the team!
If you cannot walk away from an interview with a job, at least you leave with your with your dignity. You can use your free summer to write a blog for The Chronicle and make fun of corporate sell-outs from the comfort of your own home. They may have job security, but at least you have your soul.
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