Should I define what I mean? According to Dictionary.com, authentic is defined as:
Accurate in representation of the facts; trustworthy; reliable
Have you ever met someone who wasn’t authentic? How could you tell? Was it in the words they used, the tone of their voice, their body language? Was it all three or did you just feel it in your gut?
One of the fears I think people in job search have is that they will come across phony. When networking, they feel like there is a hidden agenda (to find a job). At the core of networking, the very purpose for doing it is to build a relationship. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. The key is to be genuine.
Here’s the fine line, being authentic versus being a jerk or being TOO you.
- Know when to hold back. Expressing your strong opinions about politics, religion or philosophies in general, is usually not the best idea. Does this mean you are being disingenuous? Or does it just mean that you don’t have to lay it all out or confess deep dark secrets.
- Being humble versus being self-ignorant. There’s a difference. You can know what you are good at doing and love doing and not brag about it or you could have no clue what is important to you (values, skills, traits, strengths, weaknesses). Lacking self-awareness is a dangerous thing. Figure out who you are and what makes you tick, both the good and the bad.
- Give selflessly. Don’t hold back on sharing information that might help someone else. Share. I am so sick an tired of people protecting their turf. We’ll all end up better in the long run if we give.
I’ve been talking about the emotions and thoughts, but you want to back up your authenticity with words….no, STORIES. Stories are believable. Stories are authentic. What is your defining story?
Use words and phrases that are purposeful, not ad libbed (unless you’ve been trained in improv). Crafting the words, especially during job search, provides you with confidence and because each first impression is so important, you’ve ensured you are making the best one possible.
Speak from the heart and people will know.
Do you struggle with this? What’s helped you over-come the fear or uncertainty?
Hannah Morgan speaks and writes about job search and career strategies. She founded CareerSherpa.net to educate professionals on how to maneuver through today’s job search process. Hannah was nominated as a LinkedIn Top Voice in Job Search and Careers and is a regular contributor to US News & World Report. She has been quoted by media outlets, including Forbes, USA Today, Money Magazine, Huffington Post, as well as many other publications. She is also author of The Infographic Resume and co-author of Social Networking for Business Success.