What's "happily ever after" to a college student? For most, landing a job. After roughly sixteen years of toiling over books, exams, papers, and projects, the elusive end of the tunnel has finally come into sight as students begin their senior year.
Yet for some reason, college students are convinced that the key to landing a job is what they do during the recruitment sweet spot; namely, the summer before their senior year and the subsequent fall. We’re talking the important internships, the interview prep, the case study sessions, the resume overhaul, scouring LinkedIn—you know, the general recruiting rat race.
But stop for a moment, and consider Cinderella. How did she obtain her happily ever after? What made her fit into that glass slipper? Because of who she was in the beginning. Regardless of how you dressed her up, regardless of the pumpkins that turned into carriages, the mice into horsemen—Cinderella lived happily ever after because she was a natural fit in that glass slipper.
If you want to land your dream job, you need to go back to the beginning. Why did you choose your major? Did you become an Economics major because you wanted to buttress your growing interest in business and development? Why are you applying to only jobs requiring financial analysis skills, then? When students neglect or forget why they chose their path, the inauthenticity is palpable. No matter how much interview training you receive, no matter how sharp you look in that suit—if it’s forced, recruiters know.
And this is a lesson I learned firsthand. I became an Economics major because I wanted to revolutionize the way people did business, yet in the fall of my senior year I found myself solely applying to big name consulting and finance positions. Positions that I didn’t get interviews for, because frankly, I had no business applying to them.
My interest was disingenuous—I never became an Economics major because I wanted to work with numbers, excel, or pivot tables. I became an Economics major because I wanted to transform the organizational space. It wasn’t until I went back to the beginning, did my job search evolve from the rat race I was losing, to the happily ever after I was winning, with numerous job offers.
Cinderella achieved her happily ever after because she leveraged her authenticity, and job candidates need to do the same. Fail to do so, and you’ll be just another face in the kingdom, where your own happily ever after is always one step ahead of you.
But when you’re honest, when you go back to the beginning…
That’s when the magic happens.