There is much talk about having an “authentic voice” when it comes to the job search — with your résumé, how you present yourself at an interview, with your online presence, etc.
I like that advice for this reason:
If you pretend to be something (or someone) you’re not, you up the chances that you will not be happy and/or successful in the job.
Case in point: many years ago, I worked with an employment agency that subsequently placed me in a temp-to-hire position as an administrative assistant with an organization. This particular group with the opening held an affiliation that I did not agree with on a personal level. The agency had asked me prior to placement if I would be comfortable with that, and in my youthful naïveté and eagerness to have a job, I said, “Yes.”
I mistakenly thought that it wouldn’t be an issue, that I would just go in, do my work, and go home. But it didn’t work out quite like that. I didn’t stop to think that this position really was not a good fit for me, nor was I a good fit for them, because I truly didn’t mesh well with their culture. How could I help them fulfill their organizational goals when I didn’t embrace them myself?
After the trial period, my supervisor at the the organization called me into his office. He told me gently that, while he appreciated my efforts, he just didn’t think it would work out. And I told him I agreed with him.
Being let go from that position was the best thing that could have happened because it allowed me to pursue opportunities that were a better fit on many different levels. If I had continued working there, I’m afraid that the organization would have been short-changed by not having someone who could be more supportive of their mission, and I would not have been able to maximize my potential in the same way that I could (and have done) in other environments.
I learned that, while it was important to sell myself well in the job hunt, it was not a good idea to pretend to be something I was not just to land the job.
What are your experiences with authenticity in your job search?