Stories about students fraudulently receiving job offers and college acceptances by lying on resumes and applications frequent news media. Extreme efforts taken to fake qualifications include: forging a high school diploma, cheating on the ACT, lying about work experience, and photo-shopping a picture to make it look like they played sports. Although these attempts are extraordinary and comical, there are more nuanced ways to present yourself un-authentically. These white lies include: pursuing a career path that does not match your interests, insincerely schmoozing to recruiters, and fudging interests to match that of recruiters. The best thing you can do for the highest long-term reward is to be genuine.
What being genuine can look like:
- Pursuing a career for the right reasons, goals beyond money, other people’s opinions, and chasing fads.
For example, studying to be a doctor because you are inspired by nonprofits that provide health services to conflict zones.
- Declining an otherwise achievable opportunity due to your conscious, ethics, or beliefs.
For example, you may identify how a recruiter wants you to answer a particular interview question and instead you answer truthfully upholding your honesty and integrity.
- Avoiding low hanging fruit at networking events.
For example, picking more unique topics of conversation that reflect your interests (which can still be company and career related). Overused points of conversation include; sports, weather, breaking news about the company, and other trite chat.
- Researching career opportunities beyond what is cookie cutter for your area of study.
For example, if you are a STEM major but find film making super interesting, there may be opportunities to marry your skills and interest with a little guidance (talk to a career counselor).
Sometimes being genuine will feel like a short-term loss. Feeling confident that you made decisions based on what is right and what is important to you will be a unmatchable reward in the future.