What am I Worth?
Lately, I've found myself in the tumultuous world of applying for jobs and planning potential ventures. I'm no stranger to this experience; I've held numerous internships and part-time positions in college, but this next step is different. While I don't believe that my entire career can be defined by my job right out of college, I do see it as the launching pad for the passions I plan to pursue. I've found that the pressure doesn't stem from creating the perfect resume or writing an articulate cover letter. The true challenge is making someone see that you are worth hiring, worth the risk, and able to provide unique value relative to any other candidate. Job descriptions are full of check lists. Do you meet this criteria? We expect you to have obtained a secondary degree. Are you exceptional in your skills based on requirements A-Z? These lists fascinate me. I'll go out on a limb and say, with the exception of highly technical fields, I think that most of these lists are worthless. They are safety nets, trying to protect a company from potentially "worthless" candidates wasting the HR department's time. As a soon-to-be-graduate, my peers and I are often intimidated by theses lists, sure that we will never fit the bill.
However, I believe that your worth to a company cannot be found on that list. While it is true that your experiences may make you over or under qualified for a specific position, that will never define your value to a company. As a potential candidate for a company's team, you are a new piece of their culture. You will change the game just by existing in their space, so you have to show them that your existence will have a positive impact. How can you meet their needs? What pain can you solve? If you don't possess certain required skills, how will you learn them? Are you going to ask too many questions and be a drain on their energy, or are you going to ask too few and refuse to be a team player? Don't present yourself as an addition to their team, who will hang on like a loose appendage. Present yourself as a solution, ready to get the job done, whatever it may be.
I believe that understanding your unique value extends far beyond the realm of applying for jobs. Knowing why you are passionate about a company, venture, or opportunity will serve you well in every area of your life. Know who you are, and know what makes you a good fit. You might love something, but if you can't add any value to the situation, you aren't the best choice. Be okay with that. Instead, seek out teams that are going to teach you something. Every relationship should be mutually beneficial. Know your core competency, and find a company that shares the mission you want to live out.